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09.09.2019 09:59 Alter: 9 days

The European Union and the Politicization of Europe


Call for Papers

Theme: The European Union and the Politicization of Europe
Type: 8th Euroacademia International Conference
Institution: Euroacademia
Location: Ghent (Belgium)
Date: 25.–26.10.2019
Deadline: 25.9.2019



The European Union was described by Jacques Delors as an
‘unidentified political object’ and by Jose Manuel Barroso as the
first ‘non-Imperial empire’. The descriptors assigned to the European
Union are creative and diverse. Yet, the agreement on what is the
actual shape that the EU is taking is by no means an easy one to be
achieved. Historical choices shaped and reshaped the size and
functioning of the EU. The goal of an emerging ‘ever closer union’ is
still in search for the paths of realization while pragmatics compete
with ideal goals setting. The agreement seems to come when it’s about
the growing impact of the decisions taken in Brussels on the daily
lives of the European citizens and the increasingly redistributive
outcomes of the policy choices inside the EU. These dynamics created
the framework for the politicization of Europe and opened a vivid
debate about the direction and proportions of such a process.

The politicization of Europe is a process that takes various shapes
and addresses significant puzzles. While it is clear that the EU
doesn’t resemble a state, it is less clear if the decisions that
shape its policies are configured by Pareto efficient outcomes or by
dynamics that are intrinsic to a political system and defined by
emerging party politics within the European Parliament. The
democratic problem or the democratic deficit issue was and continues
to be one of the main challenges facing the European Union in any
terms or from any position is understood or described. As some argue,
the lack of fully democratic procedures led to Brexit while many
European citizens largely are disenchanted with the way decisions are
made in the EU. The problem of accountability for the decision making
inside the EU was there from the beginning and it emerged gradually
as more emphatic on the agenda of vivid debates as the powers of the
EU have grown after the Maastricht Treaty. This was concomitant with
a growing disenchantment of citizens from member states with politics
in general, with debates over the democratic deficits inside member
states, with enlargement and with a visible and worrying decrease in
voters’ turnouts at both national and especially European elections.
To all that, recent times added the economic crisis and a
re-emergence of nationalism in many European countries and an
increase in anti-EU sentiments. The optimist supporters of EU believe
in its power to constantly reinvent and reshape in deepening
integration while the pessimists see either a persistence of existing
problems or a darker scenario that could lead in front of current
problems even to the end of the EU as we know it.

The 8th International Conference ‘The European Union and the
Politicization of Europe’ aims to survey some of the current debates
in EU studies and addresses once more the challenges of the EU polity
in a context of multiple crises that confronted Europe in recent
years. It supports a transformative view that invites to dialogue
balanced weights of optimism and pessimism in a belief that the
unfold of current events and the way EU deals with delicate problems
will put an increased pressure in the future on matters of
accountability and will require some institutional adjustments that
address democratic requirements for decision making. However in its
present shape and context the EU does not look able to deliver soon
appropriate answers to democratic demands. In a neo-functionalist
slang we can say as an irony that the actual crisis in the EU
legitimacy is a ‘spillover’ effect of institutional choices made some
time before. To address the EU’s democratic deficit however is not to
be a skeptic and ignore the benefits that came with it but to
acknowledge the increasing popular dissatisfaction with ‘occult’
office politics and with the way EU tackles daily problems of public
concern while the public is more and more affected by decisions taken
at the European level. The question to be addressed in the conference
is weather the increasing politicization of the EU will lead to a
full democratization of EU politics or to increasing fragmentation
and division. Of course, the scenarios regarding the future of the
EU, the impact of Brexit and re-emerging nationalism and far right
politics will be at the center of the debate in the conference.

Is the EU becoming an increasingly politicized entity? Is the
on-going politicization of Europe a structured or a messy one? Do
political parties within the European Parliament act in a manner that
strengthens the view of the EU as an articulate political system? Are
there efficient ways for addressing the democratic deficit issue? Can
we find usable indicators for detecting an emerging European demos
and a European civil society? Does a Europeanization of the masses
take place or the EU remains persistently a genuinely elitist
project? Did the Lisbon Treaty introduced significant changes
regarding the challenges facing the EU? Can we see any robust
improvements in the accountability of the EU decision making
processes? Are there alternative ways of looking at the
politicization processes and redistributive policies inside the EU?
What is the impact of Brexit for the future of the EU? Can we expect
a future of European solidarity or division? These are only few of
the large number of questions that unfold when researchers or
practitioners look at the EU. It is the aim of the 8th International
Conference ‘The European Union and the Politicization of Europe’ to
address in a constructive manner such questions and to offer a
platform for dissemination of research results or puzzles that can
contribute to a better understanding of the on-going process of
politicization within the European Union.

The conference welcomes papers advancing contributions from the
widest areas of inquiry related to the EU, from theoretic
contributions and methodological proposals to case studies at EU
level and regional or national levels. It aims to be an
interdisciplinary event that adds value to the debate about the
present and future of the EU based on the firm belief that deepening
the specialized dialogue on EU topics leads to asserting the European
critical thinking and to a better understanding of European
realities. Papers addressing current challenges from the Eurozone
crisis to Brexit or re-emergence of nationalist parties and attitudes
in member states as well as security studies and IR papers are
especially welcomed.

Deadline for Paper Proposals: 25 September 2019

For further information please visit the conference website:
http://euroacademia.eu/conference/8eupe/