Democracy in EU crisis mode – concepts, institutions, discourses and citizens

  • BMBF Förderung für Horizon 2020 Projekte
  • Laufzeit: 10/2019–02/2020
  • Antragstellerin: Prof. Dr. Claudia Wiesner

Democracy and Politics in the European Union´s multilevel system have been subject to public and academic disputes since the early days of integration. But in times of the current crisis, they have been especially challenged: eurosceptic and populist parties have been on the rise in several of the member states, and even in the notorious pro-European Federal Republic of Germany. Citizen support of the EU and trust in its institutions have been declining at least temporarily during the crisis. The institutional handling of the financial crisis has given rise to criticism of the related democratic deficits. The politicisation of the European Union in this respect is discussed as a problem for or at least as a challenge to contemporary representative democracy. In the academic debate, the EU´s crisis has also been related a critique of representative democracy more generally or the tension between democracy and market capitalism especially in the EU. This state of the art of the academic debate on the EU´s crisis is the starting point for the research: Which changes did the crisis bring to democracy and politics in the multilevel system? And to what extent are these also challenges for democracy and legitimacy? More precisely, I will research four interrelated leading themes and questions in my work. Based on 1) a conceptual analysis of the categories that are crucial for the empirical studies (such as legitimacy, representation and politicisation, see below in detail) it will be assessed comparatively 2) which empirical changes the handling of the sovereign debt crisis brought about to checks and balances on the EU level, in the member states, and between the member states, 3) how these changes have been discussed in public discourse, and 4) how they are perceived by the citizens. The research will tackle these issues in a multi-method setting. The overall objective is to address the effects of the crisis conceptually and empirically.