The nation state has been the institutional mainstay of modern democracy. Today, this particular political form is challenged and may be transcended by something new. One issue is to clarify whether the state form as such can be rescued in Europe, and if so, at what level this can take place. Another is to consider whether alternative forms are more viable. On the basis of different normative models and their operationalisation, RECON tests three different options for the reconstitution of democracy in the European context.
  • Can democracy in Europe be reconstituted at the national level, with a concomitant reframing of the EU as a functional regulatory regime?
  • Can democracy be reconstituted through establishing the EU as a federal state based on a collective identity?
  • Can democracy in Europe be reconstituted through developing a post-national Union with an explicit cosmopolitan imprint?

        Read more on WP 1 – RECON’s  theoretical framework.


RECON project summary (with executive summary of the first project period – 2007)


RECON takes each of these options and configures them into three distinctive models, each of which is set up to meet with normative standards, as well as to comply with a set of presuppositions pertaining to type of polity. These will be further spelled out in legal-institutional terms. RECON seeks to establish how well each model captures contemporary European reality; it also assesses which one is the most viable in normative terms. The models also help to spell out tensions between ‘facticity’ and validity, the knowledge of which is useful for the framing of more specific policy recommendations.

The operationalisation of each of the three models allows for a coherent assessment of the following empirical research fields:
  • The EU’s constitutionalisation so as to get a clear view of the normative standards, constitutive principles, overarching polity configuration and conditions of success and failure that this process brings forth. Read more on WP 2 – The Constitutionalisation of the EU, the Europeanisation of National Constitutions, and Constitutionalism Compared.
  • Democracy and justice with regard to gender in the enlarged Europe. Read more on WP 4 – Justice, Democracy and Gender.




Project structure: 8 thematic work packages structured around a common theoretical core.