Bruegel Annual Meeting – The Missing Link

by Anthony Zacharzewski I spent this morning at the Bruegel Annual Meeting, kicking off the autumn with economics and geopolitics. Several high level speakers talked about the EU’s future economic policy and geostrategy (armies, hard power, soft power and so on), but for me there was a critical missed connection. It was clearest in the economy panel. The speakers talked about the impact of the Trump presidency on trade, how Brexit was going to damage the EU and the UK, and the importance of acting at regional and local level on skills and…Read more

Inequality and democracy: what will the impact of digital be?

The Democratic Society has been asked to carry out a piece of research into inequality and democracy, and the impact of digital technologies upon these in the EU and beyond. As an output of this piece of work, we will be producing a report, providing a set of recommendations to the EU about further action and thinking. There are four broad themes we are exploring: Jobs, inequality and social protection - covering topics such robotization and automation of jobs, the impacts of an increased focus on the gig economy and employment laws and rules…Read more

Open Government and the EU: a model for action

There is no one solution to the European crisis, but we know that any solution has to include better democracy and greater openness. The EU, like every government, has to respond to citizens’ demands for greater control of the decisions that affect their lives. Our new report, written with the Open Estonia Foundation, the Centre for Public Innovation in Romania, and the Open Society European Policy Institute, looks at the experience of open government work in three member states to see what lessons the EU can learn. The most important lesson is - don’t make commitments unless you intend…Read more
How do we take back control?

How do we take back control?

  Digital democracy & democratic deficit in the EU The Democratic Society are working on a project to find out how people would like to communicate ideas directly to the institutions of the European Union. It's about citizens feeding in to policy-making and having a say more than just once every five years in the European elections. The UK's role in this is significant as Brexit highlighted a common perception that there is a lack of democracy, that people in Britain have ‘lost control’ over EU policy making. we will be hosting an online…Read more
Religion, Migration, Power and Money

Religion, Migration, Power and Money

The tale of two Athens hotels, the 5-star and the refugee camp. Religion, Migration, Power and Money was the title of last month's Athens Democracy Forum. The conference was sponsored by some Big Names, it attracted important people to come and speak, including the President of Greece, op-ed columnists at the New York Times, the Mayor of Athens, a top British QC and the European Commissioner for migration, among others. And they all had one thing in common: they were all grey-haired white men[1]. At this beautifully organised three-day conference, it was the white…Read more
Turning the tide on democracy?

Turning the tide on democracy?

By Millicent Scott This October, the Athens Democracy Forum will bring together actors from across the world to examine the current threats to democracy from the refugee crisis subsuming Europe, Africa and the Middle East and the rise of terrorist attacks which challenge the core ideals of democracy, to the rise of populism and the spectre of authoritarianism together with the accelerating erosion of trust in our political systems. It is in this context that Ban-Ki Moon, secretary general of the United Nations, has asked the Athens Democracy Forum "How do we turn…Read more

#EURef: ‘That’s Democracy’: but is it the type of democracy we want?

The Democratic Society is more committed than ever to helping bring about a more participative democracy. Many people may feel a lot of cognitive dissonance around democracy right now. 17.4 million people seemingly disagree with 16.1 million people, and just fewer than 13 million people, who were eligible to vote but chose not to, have not had a say at all. However, a decision has been made and people may say ‘well that's democracy.’ But is it the type of democracy we should hope for? As many have pointed out referendums can be…Read more

Understanding the EU debate

Many people are still saying that they don’t understand what’s at stake in the EU referendum. As part of an independent, not for profit, organisation I have created this guide to explain what the points on each side are. The European Union is a series of international agreements that 28 European countries have made between themselves, which set up institutions like the European Parliament through which these countries cooperate and reach agreements as a whole. The treaties set out limits on what policy areas the EU can get involved with. Decision-making is partly…Read more

What’s next for democracy in the EU?

With the EU referendum not far away, we're wondering what's next for the EU. How can people play a bigger role in EU decision-making and make the EU more democratic? The conference ‘Democratic Participation in a Citizen’s Europe: What Next for the EU?’ will encourage participants to assess, explore and develop citizen involvement in EU public policy and explore the possibilities through collaboration of practitioners and academics. As the European Union faces multiple crises, this timely event will explore current challenges and future opportunities for people to shape the policy and direction of EU. The conference will imagine…Read more

Britain can be the real winner of the EU referendum: why we all need to be talking about Europe

  ‘How (not) to talk about Europe’  is a recent publication from the independent think tank Britain’s Future, that advises both the ‘In’ and ‘Out’ campaigns to change their narrative so as to involve and engage the wider public, leaving a lasting legacy of public participation. In this sense, we all need to be talking about Europe.    Here’s what we’re doing wrong: the debate has started and campaigns are pressing on ahead with rhetoric and branding, but the majority of the population have been left behind. They’re in the dark - ill informed…Read more