One of the most pressing questions for the future of the European Union is how much solidarity Europeans are willing to show and to what degree they see themselves as Europeans. The ‘making’ of European citizens remains a central challenge for European integration. Warning signs pointing to a lack of European identity are for example low turnouts for European Parliamentary elections, democratic backsliding in some EU member states, the rise of Eurosceptic parties, and lack of a common refugee and asylum policy. The economic and financial crisis of 2008/9 and Brexit have fueled perceptions of the renationalization of politics and of a deep-seated legitimacy deficit of EU-level institutions. The EU tries to address this deficit institutionally as well as with policies. Institutionally, it has strengthened the European Parliament, created a more powerful EU executive, formalized organized civil society input, and tried to engage citizens more in EU affairs. In terms of policy, a Green New Deal, member state solidarity shown in recent economic recovery policies, a joint response to Covid-19 or to the migration challenge might elevate the presence of the EU in citizens’ minds. The Task Force will assess the current legitimacy deficit in several of these institutional arenas and policy fields. We will then proceed to draft fact-based policy recommendations that might help strengthen European citizenship.
JSIS 495E Task Force – Sabine Lang: Making European Citizens: Challenges to Solidarity Among EU Member States
Coordinator of the Progressive Alliance; (former) Secretary General of the EU NGO umbrella network SOLIDAR