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European University Institute - Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies

EUI president Renaud Dehousse delivers the 2023 Yves Mény Lecture on democracy

In a captivating start to the academic year, EUI President Renaud Dehousse explored Yves Mény's 2003 essay ‘De la démocratie en Europe’, by analysing the change and continuity since its publication. The talk also served as the inaugural event for the Robert Schuman Centre’s 30th anniversary celebration.

21 September 2023 | Event - Video

Dehousse highlighted the enduring relevance of Mény's explanatory model introduced in his 2003 paper, which explains the origins of popular dissatisfaction with democracy. This model posits that the democratic deficit in Europe arises from a structural tension between the two legs of Europe’s model of constitutional democracy—the people and the constitution. Dehousse added that the democratic problem at the domestic and the EU level are closely intertwined, highlighting the Europeanization of domestic politics by being increasingly influenced by decisions at EU level. 

“People are not necessarily opposed to more Europe, but they feel their voice does not seem to matter much”, said the EUI president. He went on to argue that “Europe has to invent a new democratic system, a system which of yet has no name”. Dehousse echoed Mény's call for innovation in making the democratic process more democratic, referring to examples like the Spitzenkandidaten system and other participatory democracy experiments. Yves Mény, who was present, also underlined the importance of empowering people’s voices to solve the tension between the constitutional and the popular leg of democracy. 

The lecture. that was attended by over 140 participants and has already generated over 450 views, concluded with a stimulating discussion, where academics present shared their diverse perspectives and posed insightful questions.

Read more about the Robert Schuman Centre's 30th anniversary.

Last update: 22 September 2023

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