Despite the activities of the EU and national institutions, as well as intermediary institutions and actors, studies and surveys note a growing gap between the so-called "EU elites" and EU citizens. The EU has a legitimacy problem, support rates dropped during the height of the financial crisis and, despite the improving economic situation, votes for populist, extremist, anti-EU and anti-democratic parties and movements are rising across the EU. At the same time, the Europeanisation of politics and decision-making continues to affect and change the national democratic systems of member states.
What explains the distance between EU institutions and EU citizens? The event will present the first results of the Jean Monnet research projects "Debating Europe" and the Jean Monnet Chair "BridgE" on this question. In the projects, a total of 18 international focus groups were and are being conducted in Bulgaria, Finland, France, Croatia, Slovenia and Germany. 12 of these have now taken place and the results are available.
On 11 September at 18.00h, the interim results will be presented by Claudia Wiesner (Fulda University of Applied Sciences), Cecile Robert (Sciences Po Lyon) Willy Beauvallet (Université de Lyon II), Ana Matan; (University of Zagreb), Meta Novak (University of Ljubljana), Niilo Kauppi and Kim Zilliacus (University of Helsinki) and Ruzha Smilova (Centre for Liberal Strategies).
On 12 September at 9.30 am, social scientists Virginie van Ingledom (Leuven), Celine Belot (Grenoble) and Claudia Wiesner (Fulda) will discuss the relationship between citizens and the EU.
On 12 September at 17.00, the Jean Monnet Chair "Bridging the Gap between the EU and is Citizens" will conclude with a discussion on the consequences and possibilities for the EU to become closer to its citizens. Representatives from political practice, Thomas Berger for Europe Direct, Peter Schaub for Europa-Union and Marianne Müller for Pulse of Europe, as well as Muriel Pluschke (University of Applied Sciences Fulda) will discuss.
The conference discussed the first findings of the focus groups held in Bulgaria, Finland, France, Germany, Croatia and Slovenia against the state of the art findings in EU studies and political sociology. Expert guests have been Jonathan White, Celine Belot, Andrew Favell and Luis Bouza.
Wednesday, March 29
13.00-17.00 CET Claudia Wiesner, Fulda UAS; Damian Lajh, Meta Novak, University of Slovenia; Niilo Kauppi, Kim Ziliacus, University of Helsinki, Ruzha Smilova, Center for Liberal Strategies (Sofia); Igor Vidacak, University of Helsinki; Willy Beauvallet, University of Lyon
Thursday March 30
Online Course On EU Studies
8.00-9.00 CET Marcus Fessler, Inter.research Institute /Fulda UAS
Analysis of Focusgroups
9.00-11.00 CET Claudia Wiesner, Fulda UAS; Damian Lajh, Meta Novak, University of Slovenia; Niilo Kauppi, Kim Ziliacus, University of Helsinki, Ruzha Smilova, Center for Liberal Strategies (Sofia); Igor Vidacak, University of Helsinki; Willy Beauvallet, University of Lyon
Scientific Board Meeting
13.00-14.30 CET Celine Belot, Sciences-Po Grenoble; Jonathan White, London School of Economics; Andrew Favell, University of Leeds; Luis Bouza, Autonomous University of Madrid
Analysis of Focusgroups
15.00-17.30 CET Claudia Wiesner, Fulda UAS; Damian Lajh, Meta Novak, University of Slovenia; Niilo Kauppi, Kim Ziliacus, University of Helsinki, Ruzha Smilova, Center for Liberal Strategies (Sofia); Igor Vidacak, University of Helsinki; Willy Beauvallet, University of Lyon
Friday, March 31, 2023,
Citizens, Democracy and the European Union
08.00-10.00 CET Thinkcorner, University of Helsinki Ana Björk, Demos, Heidi Hautala, MEP and vice-president of the EP, Johanna Kantola, University of Helsinki; Niko Pyrhönen, University of Helsinki; Claudia Wiesner, Fulda UAS; Chair: Niilo Kauppi, University of Helsinki
08.00-10.00 CET Thinkcorner, University of Helsinki
Democracy is the most important social innovation ever. Citizens are the cornerstone of any working democratic system. But to work properly democracy requires knowledge and interest in societal issues, active citizens who not only vote but are also ready to challenge political leaders.
While EU integration is a unique process in world history, many seem to be estranged from it and uninterested in what is happening in Brussels and other European capitals.
This panel is organised by the Jean Monnet Network DebatEU (https://www.debating-europe.de/network/hochschule-fulda/). The Network enhances debate through citizen focus groups, conferences, social media, publications and events. It seeks to generate a dialogue and better understanding of the EU among citizens. And it aims at learning from the citizens what are their reasons to feel distant to the EU.
The panel is chaired by Niilo Kauppi, research director at the University of Helsinki and member of the DebatEU network. Panelists include Anna Björk from Demos, MEP and vice-president of the European Parliament Heidi Hautala, Professor Johanna Kantola from the University of Helsinki, University Researcher Niko Pyrhönen from the University of Helsinki and Professor Claudia Wiesner from Fulda Hochschule and Pi of the DebatEU network. Link to the recording of the Live event:
Kick-Off conference, May 20/21, 2021
Will be held mid 2024 in Dubrovnik. It aims at presenting and discussing the final results of the cooperation and research in the three project years.