March 17, 2017
Goethe University Frankfurt, June, 23-24 2016
Organized by members of the bEUcitizen project at Goethe University Frankfurt this international workshop discussed the future of democratic representation in the EU. It brought together international scholars from political theory – among them Sofia Näsström, Hauke Brunkhorst and Yves Sintomer – with EU scholars – among them Kalypso Nicolaidis, John Erik Fossum and Christopher Lord. The workshop participants set out to put established views of both the concept of democratic representation and the nature of the EU-polity on trial to explore possible ways out of the EU’s crisis of democratic representation. They addressed the problems of the current institutional set up of the EU under the heading of the two alternatives: returning to the intergovernmental mode of cooperation between nation states (renationaliszation) or a full-fledged federalization of the EU (parliamentarization). With both ways having their specific problems, the question remains how a viable system of democratic representation in the EU beyond renationalization and parliamentarization could look like.
With the Brexit referendum taking place at the same time a wind of history blew into the conference. Since in this case the question was decided in favour of renationalization the topic of the Workshop becomes even more urging. In light of the current crisis a new debate on reforms of the institutional architecture of the Union flares up in which questions of representative institutions at the Union level are of major importance. According to the view of the workshop participants this is absolutely necessary and could help to provide scholars with arguments for the next Exit-debate when they might have to explain in public why there are other possibilities than renationalization and how institutional settings that overcome the crisis of democratic representations could and should look like.