European democracy is in decline, as increasingly authoritarian leaders undermine the post–Cold War liberal order by targeting media freedom, individual rights, and the rule of law.
A new wave of pan-European parties and movements could profoundly shake up and further polarize EU politics ahead of the 2019 European Parliament elections.
Hungary and Poland are not seeking illiberal democracy. They are sliding toward authoritarianism under a false presentation of the majority will.
Busy citizens will not engage with European politics unless they have a good chance of being heard. The EU must provide tangible and high-profile initiatives to bridge this divide.
France’s En Marche began as a grassroots movement and has evolved under Emmanuel Macron’s strong leadership. Its sustainability will depend on reconciling these contrasting styles.
Despite illiberal trends in Europe, surveys suggest citizens are becoming more engaged. The overall picture is one of both crisis and renewal.
Instead of letting the dust settle and carrying on in a business-as-usual fashion after every crisis, the EU must radically reconfigure its whole political structure.
The EU faces a democracy trilemma. Only by enhancing transnational democratic interdependence, national democratic legitimacy, and local democratic vitality will the EU fix it.
The euro crisis has a political component. At issue is the EU’s democratic legitimacy—the need for citizens to feel they have more influence over EU decisions.