The Future Of European Governance

The Dahrendorf project cycle 2017-20 focuses on the strategic challenges posed by recent significant changes in the political landscape of Europe.

The common focus for the working group over the 2017-20 period will be ‘The Future of European Governance’.  In looking ahead, we will seek to take account of the ramifications of the diverse pressures on policies and institutional processes stemming not only from the aftermath of the years of crisis and the prospect of ‘BREXIT’, but also other  challenges, notably:

  • A complex and differentiated set of ties among European states (i.e. the EU, the European Economic Area; Switzerland; Turkey; the looser relationships between the EU and countries covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy and sectoral treaties with SE European states and others) which are recognised as raising difficult issues in terms of market homogeneity, institutional ‘pillarisation’, autonomy and democracy. Many of these relationships have been under review in recent years and a comprehensive recasting can be expected to be accorded greater urgency following the UK decision to leave the EU.
  • The pressures within the ‘euro-zone’ for the reform of its institutional competences and policy mix – going beyond the many recent innovations such as the ’six-pack’ and ‘two-pack’, the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance, establishment of the European Stability Mechanism and the Banking Union (SSM, SRM). Further prospective reforms, to encompass ‘Fiscal Union’, the prevailing policy paradigm, the ‘bail-out’ adjustment programmes and their management, and the wider institutional implications of greater internal differentiation within one of the EU’s core policy area.
  • Issues of rule-making and enforcement, as well as burden-sharing and capacity-building, with respect to the refugee and asylum policy and, more generally, possible changes to the rights for free movement of workers.
  • The impact of debates concerning the future of the EU (viz. the Commission’s White Paper of March 2017 setting out a range of potential options) and its expected follow-up. There is an open question about how the EU’s internal system of governance (with respect to its likely effectiveness, efficiency, accountability, and legitimacy) will evolve and whether the election of President Macron will see a revival of the Paris-Berlin axis.
  • In the light of new external developments and pressures, ranging from Trump and Putin to China’s increasing engagement in global governance, Europe’s place in the world is under fresh scrutiny. In part consequent on the ‘BREXIT’ outcome, adjustments will be needed in the Common Foreign and Security Policy area (including the Common Security and Defence Policy) and in how European interests are represented in international fora.

Individually, these five areas of pressure for change in European governance are of critical importance in themselves; collectively, they cover much of the terrain of current debates on the future of Europe. Each involves a diversity of interest, contending ideas, and uncertainty in their likely outcomes.  Understanding in each area can be enhanced by a combination of academic analysis, practitioner expertise, and critical challenge.

The work programme of WG1 – projects, events, and dissemination – over the two-year period will be structured on the basis of this outline.

Working group co-chairs

  • Iain Begg, Professorial Research Fellow, European Institute, London School of Economics & Political Science
  • Kevin Featherstone, Director, European Institute, London School of Economics & Political Science

Post-doctoral fellows

Working group members

  • Cinzia AlcidiSenior Research Fellow and Head of Economic Policy Unit, CEPS
  • Jonathan FaullChair of European Public Affairs, Brunswick Group
  • Sara Hagemann, Associate Professor in European Politics at LSE’s European Institute
  • Mark Hallerberg, Dean and Professor of Public Management and Political Economy at the Hertie School of Governance 
  • Ferdinando Nelli Feroci, President of the Institute for International Affairs (IAI)
  • Karen Smith, Professor of International Relations at LSE and Director of the European Foreign Policy Unit
  • Sophie VanhoonakerJean Monnet Professor, Chair in Administrative Governance and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Maastricht University