To everyday citizens, the EU institutions appear distant, obscure, and elitist. After a record low turnout for last year’s European Parliament elections, the legitimacy of these institutions is now at stake. With populism and Euroskepticism on the rise, how can the EU win back the trust of its people?

Carnegie’s Stefan Lehne was joined by Heather Grabbe, director of the Open Society European Policy Institute, and Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, vice president of the European Parliament, to debate how the EU can restore its democratic legitimacy by offering solutions that feel relevant to people outside the Brussels bubble. Thomas Carothers, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, moderated.

This event marked the launch of Grabbe and Lehne’s latest paper, “Emotional Intelligence for EU Democracy.”

Heather Grabbe

Heather Grabbe is director of the Open Society European Policy Institute.

Alexander Graf Lambsdorff

Alexander Graf Lambsdorff is vice president of the European Parliament.

Stefan Lehne

Stefan Lehne is a visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe.

Thomas Carothers

Thomas Carothers is vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and founder and director of the Democracy and Rule of Law Program.