Against minimalistic Europe: More democracy and more participation to make integration stronger

By Beatriz Rodriguez-Satizabal

Dr Stella Ladi, programme co-director of the Masters in Public Administration (MPA) and member of CGR, participated as a panellist in a debate about the recently published book Reset Europe: New directions for the EU written by Richard Youngs. The event organised by the Centre for European Research at QMUL by Sarah Wolff, CER director, started with Youngs presentation of his book and finalised with a roundtable discussion.

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According to Youngs, the last decade crises have created in European citizens a sense of disengagement which calls for a reform of the European Union towards more democracy and participation. Claiming there is relatively little momentum to have a completely different model, he argued there is a need to question how to make Europe more participative and flexible. As a middle point between the current two extremes (disintegration or single European state), Youngs proposed an alternative vision of European co-operation and shows how the EU must re-invent itself if it is to survive through reconciling the local, national and European levels and making citizens more accountable.

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Based on the book, Ladi considered the purpose of the reforms proposed by the author. Noting that there is a difference between reforming the EU and calling for direct democracy that comes latent throughout the argument. Ladi questioned if it is possible to have direct democracy in the EU level if it is not happening at the national level in the first place. Moreover, she pointed out that criticising the EU governance for the causes of the EU polycrisis is a paradox in the book.  The EU governance is only partially responsible for the crises and we need to look both at the national and the global level for the key roots of the crises. However, she highlighted the aim of having a more flexible EU is an important issue raised by the author. Finally, she called the attention over the security argument by questioning how a more flexible EU can survive when there is movement towards autocracy in the largest countries around the world.

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