Open Society Initiative for Europe – Open Society Foundation
Background: The project was designed as a series of interviews with national deputies of Eurozone member states, with the aim of collecting their ideas about the state of European democracy as well as their views on the similiarities and differences between the national and European level.
Since November 2016, a final comparative report is presenting the findings of 4 countries overall.
An early pilot of the project “Trilogy on the future of Europe” (2014), already gathered data and insights from France and Germany which were later reflected as part of a high-level conference on the issue of “Core Europe”.
On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Schäuble Lamers paper on 1 September 2014, the conference discussed the paper’s ideas about the European political union and juxtaposed these with current ideas about core Europe.
Objectives and Results: The research project “National parliaments and European Democracy” shows that there is a shared understanding for most of the interviewees that the current political situation has much in common with the current pressing need for action and that only a united European Union can successfully address the challenges of the close and more distant future. Most of them share the view, that in an increasingly global world and transnational reality, nation states will hardly be able to meet people’s expectations with respect to social, economic, and security questions. However, with the lost trust in democracy and respectively political leaders, it was also said that Europe’s citizens need to be included more directly into political decisions: Europe has to become more real to those living it every day, accepting and valuing differences is easier said than done and yet necessary. It is evident, that the cooperation between the national and European level is not working smoothly and seems to have the similar challenges in these 3 countries. Moreover, it was difficult to get the interviewees into a solution-orientated discussion on how the system could be changed.