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Governance and Democracy in the European Union

Governance in the European Union is continuously in flux: powers are transferred from member states to EU institutions while traditional assumptions about the nature and scope of European integration are subjected to a greater degree of scrutiny and public criticism than at any time in its history. As the inter-institutional dynamics of the Union shift in response to the euro crisis, the very legitimacy of the EU is being challenged as never before.
As the EU enters uncharted waters, the European Institute research cluster on Governance and Democracy in the European Union examines the politics, processes, institutions and norms of the European Union as well as the relationship between the EU, its member states and domestic politics. Our research examines how institutional rules, national politics and legislative dynamics are interacting to shape policy outcomes and institutional developments in Brussels and in the member states.
We also address long-standing and unresolved debates on the democratic dimension of European politics and governance. This research includes work on: the public’s perception of and reactions to EU politics; transparency and accountability in EU policy-making; and the responsiveness of EU decision-makers to public opinion. In the context of the euro crisis in Europe and beyond, we look specifically at how the crisis is shaping EU governance, domestic politics and public attitudes towards the Union.

Examples of Key Research Themes

EU institutional Politics and Governance

Crisis Politics in the European Union

Democratic Deficit of the EU

Public Opinion, Elections and Politicization of the EU

Law, Politics and European Courts

The Politics of Europeanisation

Mobility, Migration and Integration

The Role of National Parliaments in the EU

Governance and Democracy in the EU - Highlights



"Informal Governance in the European Union is a fascinating and important book that takes a fundamentally new approach to informal cooperation in international politics. Mareike Kleine theorizes that informal governance norms serve as a means to provide discretion to states facing unexpected domestic political shocks. She deftly explores how these informal politics play out in the European Union, but the implications of the work extend far beyond the EU to many areas of international politics."

—Mark A. Pollack, Professor of Law and Political Science and Jean Monnet Chair, Temple University

Democratic Politics in a European Union Under Stress offers the first comprehensive political analysis of the Euro crisis that erupted in Greece in 2010 and subsequently threatened the very survival of the Euro area. It has left a profound mark on democratic politics all over Europe, changing public attitudes and voting preferences, institutional and societal norms, and deeply anchored political traditions. 

                                                  EU Under Stress


Selected Recent Publications

Featherstone, Kevin (ed) (2014), Europe in Modern Greek History (London: Hurst & Co)

Hagemann, Sara (2014), 'How to Study Bargaining in the European Union' in K. Lynggaard et al. (eds) Research Methods in European Union Studies (London: Palgrave Macmillan)

Hagemann, Sara (2014), 'The EU Budget and Balance of Powers Between the European Parliament and the EU Governments' in Swedish Institute for European Policy Studies 2014:3

Hagemann, Sara (2013), 'Negotiations for the EU Budget: How Decision Rules Affect Policy Ambitions' in G. Benedetto et al (eds), EU Budget Reform: Revenue, Spending and Institutional Change (London: Palgrave)

Hobolt, Sara B (2014), 'A Vote for the President? The Role of Spitzenkandidaten in the 2014 European Parliament Elections' in Journal of European Public Policy 21(10) 1528-1540

Hobolt, Sara B and Tilley, James (2014), 'Who's in Charge? Voter Attribution of Responsibility in the European Union', Comparative Political Studies 47(6) 795-819

Hobolt, Sara (2014), 'Ever Closer or Ever Wider? Public Attitudes Towards Further Enlargement and Integration in the European Union', Journal of European Public Policy 21(5) 664-680

Kleine, Mareike (2013), 'Trading Control: National Fiefdoms in International Organizations', International Theory 5(3) 341-346

Kleine, Mareike (2014), 'Informal Governance: A New Research Agenda in EU Studies', Journal of European Political Policy 21(2) 303-314

Komarek, Jan (2013), 'The Place of Constitutional Courts in the EU', European Constitutional Law Review 9(3) 420-450

Komarek, Jan (2014), 'Waiting for the Existential Revolution in Europe', International Journal of Constitutional Law 12(1) 190-212

Schelkle, Waltraud (2014), 'The Insurance Potential of a Non-Optimal Currency Area' in Olaf Cramme and Sara Hobolt (eds) Democratic Politics in a European Union Under Stress (Oxford: Oxford University Press

Schelke, Waltraud (2014), 'Fiscal Integration by Default', in Philipp Genschel and Markus Jachtenfuchs (eds) Beyond the Regulatory Polity? The European Integration of Core State Powers (Oxford: Oxford University Press)

White, Jonathan (2014) 'Politicising Europe: The Challenge of Executive Discretion' in Olaf Cramme and Sara Hobolt (eds) Democratic Politics in a European Union Under Stress (Oxford: Oxford University Press)



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Staff in the European Institute working in this area include

Doctoral Students

  • Eva Heims
  • Julian Hoerner 
  • Giulia Pastorella
  • Christopher Wratil

Recent Past Doctorates

  • Justyna Andrzejewicz
  • Stijn Billiet
  • Mariana Chaves
  • Emylene Cheney
  • Carlo Chiattelli  
  • Katjana Gattermann
  • Mogens Hobolth
  • Raya Kardasheva
  • Matthias M. Mayer
  • Niclas Meyer
  • Ronan McCrea
  • Lukas Obholzer