World Conference Calendar

35128 Conferences

The European Union and the Politicization of Europe

Added by admin on 2011-10-01

Conference Dates:

Start Date Start Date: 2011-12-08
Last Date Last Day: 2011-12-10
Deadline for abstracts/proposals Deadline for abstracts/proposals: 2011-10-10

Conference Contact Info:

Contact Person Contact Person: Emanuel Crudu
Email Email:
Address Address: Hotel de France, Vienna, Australia

Conference Description:

The Euroacademia International Conference ‘The European Union and the Politicization of Europe’ aims to survey some of these current debates 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 involves 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.

Still, while looking back at the democratic theory that re-emerged so vivid and articulate in the 20th century political thought it is a topic of serious reflection how the dissatisfaction as a political attitude is the one that installed within the choices of European citizens and not the expected or prophesized reactive political behavior of civil society against any unaccountable extension of political powers. Such an assertive reactive attitude was to be expected from a democratic theory point of view since in democracy, in Karl Popper’s (1945) classical terms now, the citizens will develop a deep aversion for any extension of political powers and the will to correct through elections the perceived political errors. While democracy is viewed as grounded in the principles of legitimacy and accountability it is historically very interesting how the contemporary citizens of consolidated democracies got used to and coped with living inside non-democratic political frames and patterns of decision making. In a very strange way the EU tends to resemble a historicist project through the way it sacrificed democracy for pushing historical goals ahead the control over the means for achieving them. Something that would look unconceivable to classical theorists of democracy and should be gradually corrected by the adversity of people for any expansions of political powers became nowadays a regular practice of dealing with or deciding on daily issues of European people’s concern. Whether this is connected solely with the “obscure” and complicated nature of the EU and the limited understandings of it by the European people or the results of a general attenuation of democratic practices and a popular disenchantment with democracy itself is in the aim of the conference to provide intelligible answers. However, taken seriously the democratic deficit issue is the sign that some of the expectations formulated within the theory of democracy were not fulfilled while historical political circumstances in Europe still generated trade-offs between pragmatic and democratic choices. Until what limit the European public will accept to let EU mind its own business without being held accountable remains to be seen.

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 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? 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 Euroacademia International Conference ‘The European Union and the Politicization of Europe’ to address in a constructive manner such questions and to offer o 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.
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