On the Adaptability of Democracy and Its Institutions: Changing the EU into a Sustainable Process of Integration

Friday, July 14, 2017
JWS - Room J15 (J375) (University of Glasgow)
Matteo Laruffa , Department of Political Science, LUISS Guido Carli University
Multiple and more frequent crises have been taking place in Europe in the last few years. These crises put great stress on democracies which in return create complications such as governments not being able to solve problems, extreme polarization within the politics, a loss of legitimacy for entire institutional systems, and new restrictions imposed by member state regarding integration. Amidst these issues, the European Union is still confined by its own prolonged paralysis.

This paper lays the theoretical foundations of a new approach based on the idea of adaptability of institutions, as their capacity to change in order to improve (or at least to preserve) their status and identity over time.

It first summarizes some studies and current research which are particularly relevant in order to understand the ongoing debate among scholars. Secondly, it describes the growing divides which exist in Europe. On the one hand, it considers citizens’ disengagement, radicalization of politics and deviation from traditional sources of legitimization as the main long term processes of change which encompass the crisis of the European democracies. On the other hand, it identifies the extreme problems of the current model of governance within the European Union.

The third part explains how the European democracies and the Union are behind in their process of adaptation while presenting a scenario for European integration.

The conclusion discusses why institutional systems and political regimes should be more adaptable if they want to provide sustainable future perspectives, survive crises, and preserve their identity.