Researchers at the Hertie School’s international symposium call for a fundamental revision of the European governance system
Berlin, 27 May 2014 – “The striking success of anti-European parties, not only at the fringes of Europe but in core countries, calls into question the long-held assumption that the slow accumulation of power by the European Parliament will convey greater legitimacy and acceptance to European governance. When the National Front gains more European seats than any other party in France, we need to stop and consider what we are doing wrong," comments Mark Kayser, Professor of Applied Methods and Comparative Politics at the Hertie School, on the result of the European Parliament Elections 2014 at the international Symposium Governance in Europe in Berlin. Andrea Römmele, also a Professor at the Hertie School, fears for the European integration: “While some European leaders may believe they’ve gotten away with a black eye from the elections, they have in fact failed to achieve their core task, namely, the integration of Europe.“
The deeply felt distance between citizens and the EU could in fact have very tangible grounds. Catherine de Vries, Oxford University, introduces a study at the symposium that is not flattering for representatives in Brussels: Only 29 percent of all members of the European Parliament are answering inquiries from citizens. “The likeliness to respond to an inquiry increases if a MEP is striving for re-election. And an answer is even more likely, when the MEP is addressed as a representative of his or her respective national state“, explains De Vries.
For Hermann Schmitt, Professor at the Universities of Manchester and Mannheim, the Elections show some progress on the way to European integration: “The old logic that national governing parties lose European Elections is not true anymore. European Elections are no longer ‘second-order-elections‘. EU policy has become an important dimension of the party competition that may eclipse national issues. To tie the election of the President of the Commission to the European Parliament Elections seems to have worked – at least regarding mobilization of voters.”
Around 400 researchers from Sociology, Political Sciences, and Economics are gathering in Berlin at the Hertie School for the international symposium Governance in Europe, taking place today (27 May) in context of the school’s tenth anniversary. They will discuss the Election’s outcome and the future of the European model with policy makers, including Federal Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, the president of the Euro Group, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, EU Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva, former Prime Minister of Italy, Mario Monti, and George Papandreou, as well as members of the European Parliament. During the symposium, Mario Monti will be distinguished with the BELA Foundation Award for exceptional service regarding his efforts towards European integration. The award ceremony will take place on 28 May at 9:00 a.m.