Welcome to EUDO website by Prof. Alexander Trechsel, EUDO director
The European Union Democracy Observatory (EUDO) was launched in the Spring of 2006 as an independent and interdisciplinary academic organization whose declared goal was to produce a permanent and periodic assessment of democratic practices within the EU, as a forum to exchange ideas and good practices, and as a resource for policy-makers, academics and EU citizens.
EUDO's Rationale and Goals
Within the European Union the capacity for problem-solving, on the one hand, and the capacity to sustain legitimacy, on the other, are increasingly at odds. European and national elites have continually underestimated the importance of this problem.
They have often read negative signals as proof of lack of information, poor communication or as forms of national protest only incidentally associated with the EU.
However, recent setbacks such as the referendum in Ireland have shown that the economic modernisation of Europe can no longer be pursued without more explicit popular support. Intellectual divisions and inter-institutional competition over different options and strategies are, however, abundant.
It is clear that Europe needs to better understand the problems and perceptions that lie behind the current crisis. Yet, EU institutions have neither a clear strategy for information gathering and knowledge accumulation, nor an adequate infrastructure for this task.
To fill these gaps at the European level EUDO has the following goals:
- To translate scientific and academic research on the key issues of European democracy into policy-relevant and publicly-understandable outputs.
- To produce a permanent and periodic evaluation of democratic practices within the EU.
- To develop practical suggestions for improving democratic performance in the EU.
- To offer expertise, information, and policy reports to relevant EU institutions.
- To serve as a forum where research results, experiences, ideas, and good practices can be exchanged between scholars and policy-makers.
EUDO gathers documentation and data, provides basic and applied research reports for EU institutions, and fosters dialogue between policy-makers, academics and EU citizens.
Based on a network of existing scientific research and research teams in Europe EUDO engages in a systematic effort to translate, disseminate and debate these results, making them policy relevant and communicable to the general public.
Four EUDO Observatories form the backbone of EUDO and constitute the main organizing principle of its activities. They are responsible for data and documentation gathering and are directed by EUI internal professors in conjunction with external EUDO experts. Each Observatory coordinates specific research projects, led by leading scholars and is financed externally.
In addition to the four Observatories, which constitute the backbone of EUDO, the EUDO platform has three further components.
The EUDO Dissemination Conference
The Dissemination Conference takes place on a yearly basis in order to disseminate research results and policy expertise in the field of EU democracy. It brings together representatives of each of the EUDO Observatories as well as other experts, policy-makers, civil-society representatives and media exponents.
The EUDO Webforum
The EUDO Web-forum constitutes the major communication platform of EUDO in its interaction with the wider community. It adopts a 'proactive' approach to the dissemination of findings with the intention of stimulating interdisciplinary dialogue while reaching out to policy-makers and politicians, as well as to civil-society organizations. The web-forum hosts debates among internal and external EUDO experts on selected, EU democracy-relevant topics. Experts will moderate any feedback from societal stakeholders.
The EUDO Training Platform
The EUDO Training platform encompasses a training component by hosting workshops, seminars and lectures by experts from academia and the policy-making community as well as by hosting summer schools. Furthermore, EUDO Training offers junior and senior fellows the possibility of completing their training and research skills through EUDO senior fellowships and a EUDO Post-Doctoral Fellowship on Democracy funded by the Karamanlis Foundation.
The EUDO Data Centre
EUDO is working towards the development of a EUDO Data Centre. The Centre will consist of a web-based repository for the distribution and dissemination of quantitative and qualitative data produced or acquired by EUDO projects. The Centre, organized in Observatory- and project-level collections, will make studies available by providing data access and download - complete with accurate citation information - as well as detailed information about all the institutional subjects involved in each study. Access and use of the studies will be regulated by various access policies, but public access and use - upon specific terms - will be available for an important part of the collections.