The Politics & Institutions unit is engaged in a number of research activities revolving around the main institutional and political challenges facing the EU, such as the new economic governance, renewed concerns about democratic legitimacy, increasing public discontent, the forthcoming elections to the new European Parliament and the selection of next Commission. Some of these activities are carried out in the framework of the European Policy Institutes Network (EPIN), which brings together 37 think tanks and research centres from all over Europe to analyse current EU affairs and stimulate the debate on the future of Europe, mainly through conferences, workshops and joint publications.
CEPS HIGH-LEVEL GROUP ON EU INSTITUTIONAL REFORM
Following the European elections in May 2014, the EU institutions will have to rise to the dual challenge of delivering better results in a more democratic way and reconciling increased differentiation with the need for a closer Union. For several months now, the CEPS High-level Group on EU Institutional Reform has engaged in an intensive examination of the main inter- and intra-institutional weaknesses in the three phases of EU decision-making (namely, initiation, adoption and implementation), with a view to identifying those institutional changes that – without necessitating treaty reform – would contribute to this goal. The group’s forthcoming report includes, among others, recommendations on how to organize the next Commission and the new EP, improve the impact assessments and the ordinary legislative procedure and enhance the parliamentary dimension of EU decision-making. The launch of the report will take place at CEPS on 19 March 2014.
Members of CEPS HLG on EU institutional reform: Danuta Hübner MEP (Chair), Th.J.A.M. de Bruijn, John Bruton, Daniel Gros, Malcolm Harbour MEP, Karel Lannoo, Eva Lichtenberger MEP, Stefano Micossi, Paolo Ponzano, Rene Repasi, Philippe de Schoutheete and Gunther Verheugen.
THE DEMOCRATIC LEGITIMACY OF A STRONGER EMU
This project aims to answer the fundamental question of whether a fully-fledged and well-functioning EMU can be reconciled with expectations of the system also being democratically legitimate. The study will also reflect on how to underpin the role of the EP in EU economic governance.
THE ROTATING PRESIDENCY OF THE COUNCIL
Every six months, the Politics & Institutions unit publishes an assessment of the concluding rotating Presidency of the Council. Two commentaries have already been released in relation to the current Trio Presidency made up of Ireland, Lithuania and Greece.
THE NATIONAL PARLIAMENTS IN THE EU
The unit actively contributes to the current debate on the role of national parliaments in the EU. Oral and written contributions on the topic were provided to the Houses of the Oireachtas and the House of Lords recently. The unit has also published an essay underlining the main arguments in the discussions EU Democratic Legitimacy and National Parliaments. This year, it also participated in the annual Brussels Think Tank Dialogue with the discussion paper “Legitimising EU Policymaking: What Role for National Parliaments?”
EPIN RESEARCH PROJECTS
In the framework of EPIN, the unit has launched a project on the 2014 elections to the EP with the goal to engage all the network members across the EU on a thorough examination of the upcoming elections. Two events have been held in Warsaw (25 November 2013) and Helsinki (31 January 2014) on the topic and a number of EPIN Commentaries and Papers are being released.
On the basis of the ongoing exercise by the British government to review EU competences, this project aims to assess the preparedness of member states to engage in this exercise as well as discuss the EU's possible reform agenda.
With the support of the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Union