Commentaries and Policy Memos


Analysis: Retreating from Europe: Rise and Fall of Political Ideologies in the 2009 European Election Campaign in Hungary (pdf)

Maria Heller and Borbála Kriza, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest

Before and during the 2009 elections to the European Parliament, a political transformation could be witnessed on the Hungarian political scene. Hungarian politics is becoming more and more detached from democratic values and from the basic principles of the European Union. To what extent did the EP election campaign serve as an opportunity and an excuse for populist forces in Hungary to propagate illiberal, anti-democratic views in order to strengthen their political role?

December 2011

Policy paper: Raging streets – Waking up to reality: Global street protest or a sign of democracy crisis? (pdf)

Petra Guasti, Institute of Sociology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic and Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz

The global protest movement Occupy Together has been in the headlines of all world media. The fundamental uniting motto of the protestors is “We are the 99%”. The choice of the banner points toward one of the thorniest issues of our time – the legitimacy crisis of representative democracy.

December 2011

Policy paper: The European crises in 10 points (and one mystical vision) (pdf)

Agustín José Menéndez, University of León

It is wrong to talk of just one European crisis. There are at least five European crises (economic, financial, banking, sovereign debt and constitutional) which overlap and reinforce each other. The European Union and its Member States are condemned to fail in their efforts to deal with the crisis until they properly acknowledge its manifold character.

October 2011

Editorial: The Euro area after another crisis summit: ignore the elephant in the room at your peril (pdf)

Waltraud Schelkle, European Institute, London School of Economics

The special summit of heads of state in the Euro area on 21 July has yet again averted the imminent default of a member state. As usual, it was a last-minute deal that meets the country’s financing needs against the promise of fiscal consolidation, structural reform and privatisations. But the epic struggle for an end to this crisis – which is still not over – has revealed that the political problem is profound. Member states took so long to subscribe to a European version of the IMF because they mistrust not only the government who receives the support but also the people. Ironically, the guarantors trust the Papandreou administration more than the Greek population when they see demonstrations against cuts in pensions or the abolishment of taxi licences.

Intereconomics Editorial, Volume 46, Issue 4, pp. 178-9

July/August 2011

Policy paper: The Triple Democratic Crisis of the European Union (pdf)

Agustín José Menéndez, University of León

The European Union is facing a triple democratic crisis: a constitutional crisis; a long-term socio-economic crisis; and a foreign policy crisis. The European Union is at a crossroads, but the choice is not what kind of democratic European Union we will have in the coming years, but whether we will have a democratic European Union at all in ten years time.

July 2011

Commentary: Half Full not Half Empty: Europe in the Financial Crisis (pdf)

David Mayes, University of Auckland

In the last RECON Newsletter several writers took the opportunity to point out that European performance in the two years of the financial crisis since the collapse of the Lehman Brothers was far from perfect – quite right. It was also deficient in the period before that. But they went on to draw the conclusion that closer integration and better democratic arrangements at the EU level were the answer. There is a non-sequitur here. The US has much better democratic arrangements and institutions at the federal level yet it was not only a major cause of the crisis but has thus far had a rather less successful response to the crisis, as it is difficult to get agreement on fundamental changes.

November 2010


Policy paper: Democratic Surveillance or Bureaucratic Suppression of National Sovereignty in the European Union? Ideas on the Multilateral Surveillance Regulation (pdf)

Stefan Collignon, Sant’ Anna School for Advanced Studies

This paper argues that the problems of coordination failure and the insufficient enforcement of common policy rules that have caused the Greek crisis are due to a lack of democracy at the European level. Unless reforms take this democratic dimension in consideration, future crises are inevitable. The proper way of solving this problem is involving the European Parliament as a democratic legislator in multilateral surveillance.

November 2010


Policy paper: Europe’s Economic Government: Or How to Use the Treaty for More Effective Economic Coordination in the Euro Area? (pdf)

Stefan Collignon, Sant’ Anna School for Advanced Studies

This paper deals with the need for macroeconomic policy coordination in the aftermath of the financial crisis and the reasons for coordination failure in an increasingly important domain of policies. It discusses the stimulative effects of budget deficits in the present economic environment, the conditions for debt sustainability and the causes for competitiveness imbalances in the Euro Area. For each of these policy areas, it makes suggestions for the improvement of Europe’s economic governance.

June 2010


The European malaise

Stefan Collignon, Agustín J. Menéndez and Mark N. Franklin examine the financial crisis in Europe and criticise European leaders and governments for lack of political will and leadership. It is suggested that the crisis is caused by European leaders failure to act in the collective interests of European citizens, and that this has negative implications for the European Union’s democratic legitimacy.

After Greece, the European republic (pdf)
Stefan Collignon, Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa

Three fallacies of the European economic crisis (pdf)
Agustín J. Menéndez, University of León

The European malaise and the failure of leadership (pdf)
Mark N. Franklin, Stein Rokkan Professor of Comparative Politics, European University Institute

Published in RECON Newsletter 2/2010, June 2010

Policy memo: Minding the Gap (pdf)

Yvonne Galligan, The Centre for Advancement of Women in Politics, and Sara Clavero, Queen’s University Belfast, examine how gender democracy is being supported in Europe. Their study of two gender-related directives illustrates the potential for enhancing gender democracy through attention to the principles of deliberative democracy.

Public Service Review, European Union – Issue 17, March 2009

Published in RECON Newsletter 1/2009, April 2009  

Commentary: Media in Cosmopolis (pdf)

Hans-Jörg Trenz and Erik O. Eriksen, ARENA, University of Oslo

Published in RECON Newsletter 2/2008, November 2008  

Commentary: Reconstituting capitalism versus reconstituting democracy? (pdf)

Agustín J. Menéndez, University of León

Published in RECON Newsletter 2/2008, November 2008  

Commentary: Turkey and the European Union’s Political Conditionality (pdf)

Meltem Müftüler-Baç, Sabanci University, discusses the role of EU conditionality in Turkish domestic political change.

EUSA Review, Winter 2008, pp. 6-7 

Published in RECON Newsletter 1/2008, May 2008 

Parliamentary Control of European Security Policy: Why, Who and How? (pdf)

Guri Rosén (ARENA) presents the main themes of discussion at the RECON workshop on parliamentary control of European Security Policy, which was organised in Frankfurt in December 2007. See also the conference proceedings, which were published as RECON Report No 6.

CFSP Forum, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 9-12, March 2008 

Published in RECON Newsletter 1/2008, May 2008 

Commentary: Polish nationalism, history, and the EU membership (pdf)

Zdzislaw Mach, Jagiellonian University in Krakow, comments on Poland’s position at the EU summit in June 2007 and on the country’s Euro-scepticsim.

June 2007

A shorter version was published in Europe’s World 

Commentary: EU ut av krisen? (pdf)

Anne Elizabeth Stie, researcher at ARENA comments on the EU summit in June 2007 and on the perceived crisis in the EU.

June 2007

In Norwegian

Reconstituting Democracy in Europe (pdf)

Erik O. Eriksen, RECON’s scientific coordinator presents the project in UACES News, June 2006