How to reinforce the democratic legitimacy of the EU – FES research project with the Institute for European Politics

Copyright Pixabay, Gerd Altmann


Although the last European Parliament elections saw a slight increase in voter turnout, one of the most pressing issues regarding European democracy today remains the democratic legitimacy of the European Union. While a majority of EU citizens is still satisfied with most aspects of democracy in Europe, populists and nationalists are attacking the EU and liberal democracy. Foreign interference through social media campaigns, cyber-attacks on infrastructure related to elections or financial support to anti-EU political parties is on the rise. To counter these measures, the EU strives for more resilience and supports democracy and the rule of law across Europe. At the same time, the EU needs to look for new ways to include European citizens in political decision-making and strengthen the European Parliament as the only directly elected EU institution.

Can a reform of the electoral law, transnational lists and the establishment of lead candidates for the next European elections help foster the role of the European Parliament? How can EU citizens get more involved and have a say in the debate on the future of Europe? Which new participative instruments should be applied to complement representative democracy?

In order to give progressive answers to those questions and to find new ways to foster the democratic legitimacy of the EU, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung is cooperating with the Institute for European Politics (IEP) to publish a report on democracy in the EU. Together, we will identify and discuss reform options and develop concrete policy recommendations to reinforce the democratic legitimacy of the EU. The results will be published and presented in summer 2020.

Contact: Marco.Schwarz(at)



Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung EU Office

Rue du Taciturne 38
BE-1000 Brussels

+32 22 34 62 90
+32 22 34 62 81


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