Cartoon by Jorge Martin from Dahrendorf Symposium

Dahrendorf Forum


A space for debating Europe through original research and public engagement:

The Dahrendorf Forum is a joint initiative between LSE and the Hertie School in Berlin, funded by Stiftung Mercator and honouring the legacy of former LSE Director Lord Ralf Dahrendorf.

To ask all those questions that no one else dares to ask.

Lord Ralf Dahrendorf

Working Papers

Shaping a New International Trade Order: Competition and Co-operation among the European Union, the United States, and China
Working Paper #12, 02.10.2019

Diego Salazar-Morales and Mark Hallerberg characterize the relationship between European and American trade policies as ‘competitively interdependent’ post the establishment of the WTO. In this working paper, they discuss the divergence from this characteristic following the emergence of China as a global trade power. What has evolved is a trilateral structure where both the EU and the USA focus on countering Chinese competition.

Coping with Multipolarity: EU Values and the Stability of International Order
Working Paper #11, 20.08.2019

In this working paper, Lisa ten Brinke and Benjamin Martill discuss the rise of multipolarity and its effect on the European Union’s foreign policy strategies. Challenging the prevalent ideology on multipolar instability, the paper emphasises the role societal values play in the EU’s foreign policy.

The Role of the European Union in the International Trade and Investment Order
Working Paper #10, 11.04.2019

As the international trade and investment order faces increased challenges from China and the United States, the EU takes on a leadership role in promoting the open, multilateral, rules-based system. In this working Paper, Steve Woolcock explains the growing need for the EU to find new collaborators for this task, as the US is no longer a viable associate.

Populists as Strangers: How the ‘politics of the extraordinary’ challenges representative democracy in Europe
Working Paper #9, 27.03.2019

Josefin Graef examines populist actors through Simmel’s notion of the stranger, positing the populist politics of the extraordinary. Considering the perception of populist actors in Europe as anti-establishment outsiders to traditional politics, this working paper studies the role of performing extraordinariness in a populist political strategy.

Nuancing the Voter Landscape: Radical right and radical left constituencies in Europe
Working Paper #8, 25.02.2019

In this working paper, Alexandru Filip compares voters of radical right parties and radical left parties. Through analysing European Social Survey data, the research observes the importance of cultural influence in predicting radical party choices. 

Capacity or Culture? Assessing their significance for the divergence in the fulfilment of common EU obligations by member states 
Working Paper #7, 04.02.2019

Kevin Featherstone and Michael Cottakis assess the relative significance of institutional capacity of member state institutions to deliver on their obligations within the multi-level governance of the EU. Analysing the relative significance of ‘capacity’ and ‘autonomy’ for compliance, the paper extends the focus to other areas in which governments fulfil EU obligations.

Beyond Regulation: Approaching the challenges of the new media environment
Working Paper #6, 11.12.2018

The ascent of social media has prompted an increase in hate speech and false information spreading. Policymakers are trying to manage this through national regulation and legislative frameworks. This working paper compares the approaches to this issue in Germany, France, the UK, Czechia and Italy.

The Role of Fiscal Coordination and Partisanship in the Spanish Fiscal Federalist System: Lessons for European Union reforms
Working Paper #5, 07.12.2018

The coordination of economic and fiscal policies among its member states is an ongoing challenge for the European Union. In this working paper, Mark Hallerberg and Diego Salazar-Morales examine the fiscal federalist framework developed in Spain and its potential application for the EU. 

Cultures of Negotiation: Explaining Britain’s hard bargaining in the Brexit negotiations
Working Paper #4, 14.09.2018

This working paper analyses the negotiation strategy of the UK in the Brexit negotiations. Benjamin Martill and Uta Staiger hypothesise that Britain’s hard bargaining position is derived from ideational factors, which also contributed to an overestimation of bargaining power. 

The EU and the responsibility to Protect in an Illiberal Era 
Working Paper #3, 21.08.2018

The 2005 United Nations agreement on the ‘responsibility to protect’ (R2P) populations from atrocities was intended to set acceptable boundaries to ‘humanitarian intervention’, but it is still extremely controversial and vulnerable in a world of increasing nationalism and illiberalism. Can the European Union help to ‘rescue’ R2P?

A ‘Hybrid Threat’? European militaries and migration
Working Paper #2, 25.04.2018

The military has become an important part of European responses to increased migration flows. This Dahrendorf Forum working paper explores the effectiveness and long term impact of military involvement in migration enforcement.

Known Unknowns: EU foreign, security, and defence policy after Brexit
Working Paper 1, 26.01.2018

The military has become an important part of European responses to increased migration flows. This Dahrendorf Forum working paper explores the effectiveness and long term impact of military involvement in migration enforcement.

Reports

European Security 2030
Report, September 2019 (Dahrendorf Foresight Project)

Edited by Monika Sus and Marcel Hadeed, the Foresight Project draws on insights from 12 experts who contribute to the collection. The publication provides six potential futures that Europe might face in the coming years. Political, technological, socioeconomic and migratory trends are considered and predictions on developments produced.

The EU and its Neighbours: reconciling market access, governance, and democracy
Report, 01.09.2017

The European Union’s relationships with its non-member neighbours present a serious challenge for the continent’s political and economic future. Brexit has brought this challenge into sharp focus, but it is not the only contentious relationship the EU must negotiate, nor is it the first. In this paper, Kevin Featherstone examines the cases of Norway and Switzerland for lessons on the design and impact of future agreements between the EU and external parties.

Europe and the world: Rethinking Europe’s external relations in an age of global turmoil
Report (Special Issue Journal), 04.07.2017

Against a backdrop of external insecurity and global power shifts abroad, and institutional crisis and strategic drift at home, this Special Issue of the International Politics journal (based at LSE IDEAS) brings together a selection of papers based on the collaboration and research findings of the Dahrendorf Forum’s third project cycle (2015-2017), ‘Europe & the World: Global Insecurity and Power Shifts’.

Europe and the World: Global Insecurity and Power Shifts
Report (Special Issue Journal), 30.06.2017

Dahrendorf warned long ago that Europe may be ill prepared for the challenges of globalisation. To address this questions from diverse perspectives, this special issue of Global Policy, guest edited by Helmut K. Anheier and Robert Falkner, brings together contributions from the Dahrendorf Symposium 2016.

Think Tank Involvement in Foreign Policymaking in the Czech Republic and Poland
Report, 20.03.2017

In this report, David Cadier and Monika Sus compare Poland and Czechia’s foreign policy strategies with particular focus on the influence of foreign policy think tanks. 

US, Russia, and the World: The Passing of Empires
Report, December 2016

In this Dahrendorf Forum report, former UK Ambassador to Russia Sir Rodric Braithwaite explores how recent American and European decline mirrors the collapse of the Soviet Union and what's next for NATO and Russia in a multipolar world order.

European Union in the World 2025: Scenarios for EU relations
Report, May 2016 (Dahrendorf Foresight Project)

 

Foresight analysis is one of the most powerful analytic methods available and lowers risks, widens decision makers’ perspective and provides them with policy option. In response to tumultuous times in Europe and beyond, the Dahrendorf Forum has initiated a foresight project that sets out different scenarios for the future relationship between the EU and five of its significant partners.  This volume, edited by Monika Sus and Franziska Pfeifer, focuses on the EU’s strategic partners (China and the USA) as well as neighbouring regions (Ukraine and Russia, Turkey, MENA) and the implication of relationship structures for the future of the European Union. 

New Challenges, New Voices: Next Generation Viewpoints on Transatlantic Relations

 

Report (Special Report), May 2016

This report offers views on the future of transatlantic relations from scholars who are at the start of their careers, with European and US perspectives on what the future holds in defence, economics, values, and relations with emerging powers.

Changing Waters: Towards a new EU Asia Strategy
Report (Special Report and podcast), April 2016

The EU-Asia relationship is changing, from development assistance to cooperation – and possibly competition. This report explores an overhaul of the EU's 2001 Asia Strategy, more important than ever in the context of Asian economic growth and the US 'pivot'.

Avoiding a New 'Cold War': The Future of EU-Russia Relations in the Context of the Ukraine Crisis
Report (Special report), March 2016

The feeling that we are experiencing the emergence of a New ‘Cold War’ is increasingly creeping into European and Russian discourse. This report provides a series of clear policy recommendations on how to move from a deeply confrontational mind-set to a more cooperative one.

Europe in an Asian Century
Report (Special report), October 2012

This report, based on presentations at the Dahrendorf Symposium, explores how China looms large in Europe’s recovery from the crisis and is increasingly interested in Europe’s future for economic and wider strategic reasons.

Briefings and commentaries

The EU money-go-round
Policy Brief, 12.08.2019

In this policy brief, Iain Begg examines some of the more intractable facets of the MFF negotiations inhibiting a deal, and puts forward a number of recommendations for reaching a viable, timely agreement and reforming the process.

Trading Places
Policy Brief 25.01.2019

In this policy brief, Iain Begg considers the ramifications of the changing trade policy context for the EU and how it can adapt to an evolving globalisation.

A Century of ‘America First’: The history of American exceptionalism in transatlantic relations
Commentary, 22.07.2019

In this Commentary, Edward Knudsen reviews the history of the relationship between the US and Europe and argues that Europeans should not be optimistic that relations will be better under the next US president.

Standing Firm in Times of Populism
Commentary, 17.07.2019

In this Commentary, Marie Wachinger and Christoph Abels debate the adverse effects populism has had on contemporary journalism, and consider strategies for media coverage of this phenomena and credibility assurance.

Responding to Right-Wing Populist Stories of Migration: A pragmatic approach
Commentary, 18.06.2019

What do right-wing populist stories of migration look like in practice, and how do they differ from other, presumably more democratic, forms of storytelling? In this Commentary, Josefin Graef examines the mechanics of right-wing populist stories of migration and how they can be countered by policymakers.

It’s Not Just the Economy, Stupid: Populism in a multidimensional political landscape
Commentary, 20.05.2019

In this commentary, Alexandru Filip argues the political model of left vs. right is quickly being replaced by a battle between progressives and conservatives.

Why Populism Is Not Simple: Three disruptive dimensions explained
Commentary, 20.05.2019

In this commentary, Josefin Graef argues that populists themselves fuel this perception as part of a broader project by doing a lot more than just pitting ‘the people’ against the ‘elite’.

After the 2019 Global Solutions Summit: A narrative framework for paradigm change
Commentary, 16.04.2019

In this commentary, Josefin Graef draws out the 2019 Global Solutions Summit’s key insights and proposes a way forward.

Less than Perfect: Some Brexit lessons for the EU
Policy Brief, 20.03.2019

While it is well acknowledged that the United Kingdom performed poorly in its task of obtaining a swift and workable agreement on the terms of withdrawal from the European Union, the EU has also made its fair share of mistakes. This policy brief seeks to identify those areas where the EU has been less than perfect in its treatment of Brexit to date.

Beyond Operation Sophia: What role for the military in migration policy
Policy Brief, 04.03.2019

In this policy brief, Julia Himmrich discusses the limited success of Operation Sophia, and argues that the EU needs to reframe its overall approach to managing migration through the Mediterranean.

Is there a populist wave in Europe?
Commentary, 25.02.2019

In this commentary, Benjamin Martill and José Feio examine the rise of populist parties in Europe, and question the extent to which the recent success of populist parties is a singular phenomenon, or whether it is a result of parallel evolution.

Negotiating Brexit
Policy Brief, 06.12.2018

In this policy brief, Benjamin Martill and Uta Staiger recommend strategies for the second round of Brexit negotiations for the British side.

Coming to Terms with an Ageing Europe
Policy Brief, 11.10.2018

In this policy brief, Iain Begg and Lisa ten Brinke assess the merits of five approaches to providing social services as the ratio of workers to dependents narrows.

EU–UK Cooperation in CSDP After Brexit: Living apart together?
Policy Brief, 01.08.2018

With increasing tensions between Russia and the West and uncertainty in the transatlantic relationship, the UK’s vote in June 2016 to exit the EU could not have come at a less convenient time. But Brexit may, paradoxically, reinforce the need for closer EU–UK security and defence cooperation. In this policy brief, An Jacobs and Sophie Vanhoonacker look at the reasons why it is in the interest of both the EU and the UK to continue collaborating through the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).

Brexit and the Power of Parliament
Proceedings, 9.07.2018

On 9 July the Dahrendorf Forum hosted a round table at the Palace of Westminster to discuss the power of the British Parliament in the context of Brexit. This report summarises the key findings of the discussion according to Chatham House rules.

Britain in the Post-Brexit European Security Architecture 
Policy Brief, 21.06.2018

Britain’s impending withdrawal from the EU raises important questions about the future of EU–UK security cooperation. This Dahrendorf Forum policy brief explores the content and scope of European security cooperation after Brexit by analysing the respective strategies, institutional structures, and operational capabilities of the EU and the UK.

Priorities and Compromises for the Future EU Budget
Proceedings, 2.05.2018

On 14 June 2018, the Dahrendorf Forum and Bertelsmann Stiftung co-hosted a workshop at the Hertie School of Governance with the goal of fostering a free and open discussion about different aspects of the future EU budget.

Brexit and Beyond: The Future of Europe
Policy Brief, 08.02.2018

Discussion of Brexit tends to focus on factors unique to Britain. This Policy Brief explores the European wide factors that influenced the vote and still need to be addressed by the EU.

The Future of Facts: How can we save political journalism and what happens if we fail?
Policy Brief, 20.12.2017

In this policy brief, Andrea Römmele and Rafael Goldzweig look at how fake news is affecting politics and what lawmakers can do about it.

Lessons Learnt from the EU-Turkey Refugee Agreement
Policy Brief, March 2017

This policy brief reflects on the progress made in the year since the EU-Turkey Statement was signed. It suggests a path forward that goes beyond using the agreement as a blanket model that prioritises European domestic policy over Turkish stability.

Are Europe’s wind and solar industries still attractive for Chinese companies?
Policy Brief, November 2016

This policy brief reflects on the present state of Chinese FDI in the European solar and wind sectors, with recommendations for European, and especially German, stakeholders.

The EU’s Global Strategy: Three Quotations
Policy Brief, May 2016

The EU is currently developing its new Global Strategy. Sir Robert Cooper argues that strategy is needed but that the machinery that implements it is no less important.

Bringing Academics Closer to Foreign Policy
Analysis (briefing), April 2016

Bridging the gap between academia and policy has been the effort of many projects and institutions. In this Dahrendorf Analysis, Julia Himmrich highlights the academic debate about influencing policy and the often cited issues, such as access and communication between researchers and policymakers.

Europe’s Underestimated Influence in Qatar’s Foreign Policy
Analysis (briefing), April 2016

During the past decade, the European perception of Qatar has dramatically changed. This Dahrendorf Analysis illustrates that European foreign policy actors should not underestimate the impact of European discourse on its partners in the Gulf region.

What impact would a Brexit have on the EU?
Analysis (briefing), March 2016

This Dahrendorf Analysis outlines how Brexit might change the EU by outlining its possible impact in three scenarios for the EU’s future: an EU that falls apart, continues to muddle through, or integrates further.

Forget Fortress Europe: Why European migration policy needs a drastic change of perspective
Analysis (briefing), February 2016

Annette Jünemann argues that refugees themselves, not states or Europe, should be at the centre of solutions to migration policy.

Is the Transatlantic Century Over?
Policy Brief, December 2015

In this Policy Brief from the Dahrendorf Forum, Cora Lacatus explores how changes in the power of the United States will affect the European Union and the future of the Transatlantic relationship.

Towards an EU Global Strategy
Policy Brief, September 2015

The European Union is revising its Security Strategy in light of new challenges. Can the EU meet the need for effective risk assessment and crisis management to create a revolution for external action? This Policy Brief from the Dahrendorf Forum summarises a roundtable with EU and German government officials.

EU Neighbourhood Policy in Africa
Policy Brief, 25.04.2015

How can the EU be more effective in North Africa? The policy recommendations in this brief from the Dahrendorf Forum include country specific policies, use of micro-level conditionality, and more External Action Service staff.

Europe's Role in the World
Policy Brief, 06.04.2015

After 2014, the year of crises, how can Europe take stock of its role in the world? This briefing from the Dahrendorf Forum includes five policy recommendations from former diplomats on building European foreign policy after the rise of ISIS and the Ukrainian conflict.

Events and podcasts

Challenges Facing the Euro
Co-hosted with the LSE European Institute

Podcast, 17.09.2019

The Governor of the Bank of France recalls the tangible assets that the Euro has already provided to the Euro area and will focus on the efforts needed towards building a stronger Europe, against the backdrop of Brexit, while stressing three priorities: increasing resilience, increasing growth and affirming sovereignty.

Enrico Letta and Anne-Sylvaine Chassany in Conversation
Podcast, 24.06.2019

Enrico Letta and Anne-Sylvaine Chassany discuss the rise of anti-establishment parties, politics in an era of bullies, the future of the Eurozone, and so much more. 

Dahrendorf Flagship
Event, 09.05.2019

The Dahrendorf Flagship event in May consisted of two workshops and two panels on the future of Europe. The discussion covered the reform of the Eurozone, escaping the paradox of globalization, liberal democracy, and national cohesion, as well as European Security in 2030 and the EUs democratic responsibility.

Reflections on the future of Europe with Paolo Gentiloni 
Co-hosted with the LSE European Institute
Podcast, 06.03.2019

At this public lecture, Paolo Gentiloni shared his insights on the future of Europe, drawing on his experience as prime minister of Italy from 2016 to 2018.

The French Revolution: one year on
Co-hosted with the LSE European Institute
Podcast, 30.05.2018

How successful has Emmanuel Macron's first year as President of France been? Jean Pisani-Ferry, former Director of ideas on the Macron campaign, and journalist Christine Ockrent discuss.

Counter Revolution: liberal Europe in retreat
Co-hosted with the LSE European Institute
Podcast, 16.05.2018

Liberal ideas are under attack across Europe. In this lecture, Jan Zielonka explores the sources of this counter-revolution to the liberal establishment and asks if Europeans can feel secure again?

The Catalan Crisis: populism and secessionism
Co-hosted with the LSE European Institute and the Cañada Blanch Centre
Podcast, 08.05.2018

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez on the political, social and economic factors that have led to the growth of populism and secessionism in Catalonia and possible solutions to the current political blockade.

EU Foreign, Security, & Defence Policy after Brexit
Podcast, 09.03.2018

Does Brexit create an opportunity for more defence integration in Europe by removing the UK veto, or will the damage from losing British military capabilities be too great?

Less Populist, More Popular: my vision for the EU in 2018
Co-hosted with the LSE European Institute

Podcast, 18.01.2018

In this speech Pierre Moscovici, EU Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, will set out his political priorities for the coming year.

Gordon Brown: a life in politics
Co-hosted with the LSE European Institute

Event, 08.11.2017

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown spoke at LSE on his extraordinary career, from New Labour's 1997 landslide electoral victory to the 2008 global financial crisis and the historic 2014 Scottish and 2016 European referenda.

The European Union at the Crossroads: Brexit and after
Podcast, 31.10.2016

With the UK heading for Brexit, the European Union faces a historic challenge but also an opportunity to rethink its own future. French Minister Axelle Lemaire, historian Margaret MacMillan, and Lord Giddens debated Brexit and the future of Europe.

Europe’s Future in the Context of Global Insecurity: Dahrendorf Symposium 2016
Event, 25-27.05.2016

The Dahrendorf Symposium is a high-profile event debating Europe’s future, attended by around 300 European policymakers and foreign policy experts. View full videos, Symposium publications, and a cartoon summary from the 2016 event in Berlin.

Changing Waters: Towards a New EU Asia Strategy
Podcast, 28.04.2016

The EU-Asia relationship has changed. At this event, contributors to the LSE IDEAS report Changing Waters spoke about the future of EU-Asia relations from building a new development relationship, expanding the EU's role in Asian security, and Chinese perspectives on the EU.   

Europe and the Return of Geopolitics
Podcast, 22.03.2016

In this Dahrendorf Forum lecture, Ambassador Pierre Vimont, first executive secretary-general of the European External Action Service, asked whether the EU - designed to prevent geopolitics - can meet the challenge of their return in the Ukraine crisis.

Russia and the EU: back to realism?
Podcast, 03.02.2016

At this Dahrendorf Forum lecture, leading Moscow analyst and Editor-in-Chief of Russia in Global Affairs Fyodor Lukyanov argued that it's time to redefine the Europe - Russia relationship based on a pragmatic understanding of respective interests and capabilities.

The Crisis in European Security
Podcast, 08.10.2015

Experienced European diplomats Robert Cooper and Wolfgang Ischinger were joined by Professors Karen Smith and Robert Falkner for this Dahrendorf Forum discussion on the Ukraine crisis and how to restore a “Europe whole and free”.

Private Events

International Politics Launch Event: Europe in an age of global turmoil

To mark the publication of the Dahrendorf Forum’s special issue of International Politics, ‘Rethinking Europe’s external relations in an age of global turmoil’, experts from the UK and Germany discussed Europe’s position in an unsettled and rapidly changing world.

China, Brexit, & the EU: Challenges, Uncertainties, & Opportunities?

This China Foresight-Dahrendorf Forum workshop explored strategic aspects of China-EU relations and how the Brexit debate will impact the newly revived bilateral relationship between Beijing and London. Included speakers from the Italian Foreign Ministry and the French Embassy.

In 2010 LSE, the Hertie School and Stiftung Mercator created a joint initiative to honour Lord Dahrendorf’s legacy as a leading sociologist and public intellectual with a passionate commitment to the European idea.

The initiative has now grown to become the Dahrendorf Forum, a major research and policy engagement network bringing together academics and practitioners to debate and critically reflect upon Europe’s future.  

The current research cycle, running from September 2017 to June 2020, is entitled The Future of Europe: Strategic Options for an Era of Uncertainties.

It brings together academics and policymakers to address how Europe can constructively respond to Brexit, the migration crisis, the rise of populist movements, and other challenges it is currently facing.

Two working groups, The Future Of European Governance based in London and Societal Change, Politics and the Public Sphere in Berlin, are leading the Dahrendorf Forum's research. 

Ralf Dahrendorf

The Forum takes its name from Ralf Dahrendorf (1929-2009).

Professor Dahrendorf rose to academic fame in post-war Germany as a leading social scientist with a wide range of interests in sociology and political thought. He entered politics in the late 1960s, becoming a Member of the German Bundestag in 1969. In 1970 he became a Commissioner in the European Commission. From 1974 to 1984 he served as Director of the LSE and was appointed to the House of Lords in 1993 as Lord Dahrendorf of Clare Market.

Writing in 1969, Dahrendorf famously defined the role of the public intellectual thus: “to doubt everything that is obvious, to make relative all authority, to ask all those questions that no one else dares to ask”. Whilst throughout his life Dahrendorf was always passionately committed to the European project, he was never blind to its shortcomings and the challenges of integration.

In his work he sought to defy boundaries in academic and policy debates on Europe, questioning the established consensus and highlighting issues that might otherwise be ignored – not for criticism’s sake but in order to move Europe forward. Never before have these principles of critical thinking been so timely or relevant as today as we confront the immense and fundamental challenges currently facing Europe. 

Research Cycles

The project runs in research 'cycles' on different topics, each with multiple working groups of academics and policy practitioners and culminating in a major international symposium.

Fourth cycle, Started in 2017, Symposium 2019: The future of Europe: Strategic options for an era of uncertainties

Third cycle, Symposium 2016: Europe and the World - Global Insecurity & Power Shifts (Symposium)

Second cycle, Symposium 2013: Changing the European debate: Focus on Climate Change

First cycle, Symposium 2011: Changing the Debate on Europe: Moving beyond Conventional Wisdoms