British Socio-Political Studies
Research Group

EU Legitimacy in Time of Crisis

EU Legitimacy in Time of Crisis:

How to Overcome the Legitimacy and Democracy Deficit of the EU?

International Conference
Warsaw, June 20–21, 2016

The conference is organised within the Jean Monnet Network MoreEU: More Europe to Overcome the Crisis, constituted by the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna; the University of Warsaw; CEU-San Pablo University; Nova Universidad de Lisboa; and Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute;

in partnership with: The Research Committee 14: Ethnicity and Politics, IPSA; The Collaborative Research Network on Euroscepcticism, UACES; and The Polish Association of European Studies (PTSE).

The conference is to be held at the Institute of European Studies, University of Warsaw on June 20-21, 2016.


The EU has been facing in the last decade, symbolically opened by the French and Dutch referendum vetoes to the EU Constitutional Treaty, numerous challenges to its role, institutional structure, composition, and mode of operation. They have taken in particular, but not exclusively, the form of transcontinental Euroscepticism, rise in centrifugal movements on both nation and union level, as well as in the neighbouring countries, and – last but not least – of radical testing and reinterpretations of the principle of solidarity. One may argue the abovementioned challenges of last decade add up to the general crisis in the Union’s legitimacy. Importantly, they have also been deeply transforming the way the Union operates, or it is engaged by its key external partners.

The EU’s and European integration’s legitimacy has been constantly challenged in last decade either on the basis of EU’s democratic deficit, to which end the instruments of national democracy have been used (e.g. the forthcoming UK’s EU referendum), or on the basis of armed conflicts within its vicinity, which undermine Union’s coherence and expose Union’s limitations as an international actor and norm-setter (e.g. conflict in Ukraine, or in Syria).

As a result we might have observed in last few years steady rise in support for Eurosceptic movements, and decrease in solidarity, resulting, among others, in possibilities of voluntary exit by the United Kingdom, of enforced exit of the Eurozone by Greece, and deep controversies following the present refugee crisis, and working out EU reposes to it. We have also observed Union’s defeats in stabilising its immediate neighbourhood, both in the South, and in the East.

The conference aims at critically assessing and analysing the roots of the present legitimacy crisis of the European Union, and more broadly of the European integration as a process. It also aims at establishing a dialogue between academics, experts, stake-holders and policy-makers. To this end, the conference will be concluded by a roundtable involving stake-holders and policy-makers.

The panel of our kenote lecturer include: Professor Simon Bulmer, University of Sheffield, Professor Gergely Egedy, National University of Public Service, Budapest, and Dr Lee McGowan, Queen's University Belfast.

Academic researchers are invited to consider in particular the following issues:

  • sources, scope and mechanisms of EU’s legitimacy and democratic deficit,
  • forms of the political legitimacy in the EU,
  • measures to be taken to strengthen EU’s and European integration’s legitimacy,
  • relations between national/member-state, union, and external narratives criticising the EU, and their impact on the rise in hard Euroscepticism,
  • impact of the centrifugal movements: on national level, both within the member states, and within the neighbouring states, and on the EU level on EU’s legitimacy,
  • impact of the financial and humanitarian cresses within and without the Union on the understanding of the principle of solidarity, and its impact on EU’s legitimacy,
  • delegitimizing the EU by democratic means: use of referenda by the Eurosceptic and centrifugal movements in the EU,
  • perspectives of voluntary and enforced exits from the EU.


Should you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact:




Conference Programme


MONDAY, June 20, 2016



Plenary Sessions, Panels (a) and coffee breaks take place in the Ball Room,Tyszkiewiczów-Potockich Palace, Central Campus,

whereas Panels (b) take place in the Seminar Room 4,67 Nowy Swiat Str.



REGISTRATION and welcome coffee





WELCOME SPEECHES by the Dean of the Faculty of Journalism and Political Science, University of Warsaw and the Director of the Institute of European Studies


Plenary Session 1

Chair: Dr Przemyslaw Biskup, Institute of European Studies, University of Warsaw


Prof. Simon Bulmer, Department of Politics, University of Sheffield: The Politicization of European policy in the UK and Germany: Solving the legitimacy crisis



Coffee Break



Panel 1 a: Democratic Procedures and EU legitimacy

Chair: Dr Jaroslaw Szczepanski, Institute of European Studies, University of Warsaw


Prof. Francisco Pereira Coutinho, Professor at Faculdade de Direito da Universidade Nova de Lisboa (Lisbon Nova Law School): Tackling European democratic deficit: the case study of the Portuguese Parliament


Mrs Joanna Ziółkowska, PhD student, College of Europe, Natolin Campus and the Institute of Political Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences: The role of national parliaments in strengthening democratic legitimacy of the EU


Mrs Ivana Slobodnikova, Univerzita Mateja Bela v Banskej Bystrici: On the way to uniform rules for election to the European Parliament: Managing the democratic deficit?


Panel 1 b: EU Legitimacy and the New Instruments of Democratic Debate

Chair: Dr Wojciech Lewandowski, Institute of European Studies, University of Warsaw


Dr Jan Labitzke, University of Giessen: Online consultations and the European Citizen’s Initiative: The contribution of new participations tools to overcome the EU’s lacking legitimacy


Mr Michal Rydz, PhD student, Faculty of Journalism and Political Science, University of Warsaw: Negation 2.0: How Eurosceptics are managing social media?: Comparing the cases of Britain and Greece


Mrs Maria Penarrubia Banon, PhD student, CEU San Pablo University: The European Citizens’ Initiative: New direct democracy tool to reduce the political disaffection of the EU or a simple unsuccessful attempt?


Lunch Break



Plenary Session 2

Chair: Dr Łukasz Zamęcki, Institute of European Studies, University of Warsaw


Professor Gergely Egedy, National University of Public Service: EU’s legitimacy and the challenges of national sovereignty and migration: The Case of Hungary



Coffee Break



Panel 2 a: EU’s Legitimacy in Context

Chair: Prof. Jacek Wojnicki, Institute of European Studies, University of Warsaw


Dr Andrius Švarplys, Lecturer at Vytautas Magnus University (Kaunas, Lithuania): The Other face of EU legitimacy crisis: What the newest challenges revealed about the European Union?


Dr Alberto Pirni, Aggregate Professor of Public Ethics and Political Philosophy; Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna – Pisa, Institute of Law, Politics and Development: Reshaping an European public sphere?: New challenges for an ancient and unfinished project


Dr Anna Skolimowska, Institute of Political Science, CSWU Warsaw: Legitimacy of the European Union’s normative identity in the neighbouring countries in the time of crisis


Panel 2 b: The Brexit Debate in the UK and the EU’s Legitimacy Crisis

Chair: Dr Małgorzata Kułakowska, Jagiellonian University in Cracow


Dr Wojciech Lewandowski, Institute of European Studies, University of Warsaw: England and EU legitimacy: English perspective on UK’s Brexit


Dr Krzysztof Winkler: British Socio-Political Studies Research Group Britannia: EU’s legitimacy crisis in the light of the Welsh devolution


Prof. Dr. Jerónimo Maillo Gonzalez-Orus, Institute for European Studies, CEU San Pablo University: Social benefits and free movement within the Brexit negotiations



Coffee Break



Panel 3 a: Migration Crisis as a Challenge to EU’s Legitimacy

Chair: Prof. Nuno Piçarra, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisbon Nova Law School


Mr. Thierry Fortin, Senior Fellow at the Institute des Études Politiques de Lyon (Sciences Po Lyon): The EU's military response to the migrant crisis: Credibility at stake


Mrs Iwona Miedzińska, PhD student, Faculty of Journalism and Political Science, University of Warsaw: EU foreign policy in time of crisis: Discrete but tenacious, or strong and assertive?


Panel 3 b: EU Legitimacy Deficit

Chair: Prof. Dr. José María Beneyto, Director of the Institute for European Studies, CEU San Pablo University


Prof. Tomasz Grzegorz Grosse, Institute of European Studies, University of Warsaw: Between the renaissance of national democracy and EU democratic deficit in time of crisis


Prof. Jacek Czaputowicz, Institute of European Studies, University of Warsaw & Marcin Kleinowski, Mikołaj Kopernik University: Comparative analysis of voting systems in the EU Council and in the German Bundesrat in respect to democratic principles



Conference Dinner (invitations only)



TUESDAY, June 21, 2016



All Plenary Session, Panels and Coffee Breaks take place in the Ball Room,Tyszkiewiczów-Potockich Palace, Central Campus



Plenary Session 3


Chair: Dr Przemyslaw Biskup, Institute of European Studies, University of Warsaw

Dr Lee McGowan, School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy, Queens University Belfast: The United Kingdom and European Integration: Political Unions in Crisis



Coffee Break



Panel 4: Challenges in conceptualising EU legitimacy

Chair: Prof. Paweł Borkowski, Institute of European Studies, University of Warsaw


Dr Kamil Ławniczak, University of Warsaw, Faculty of Journalism and Political Science: Socialisation mechanisms and legitimacy intermediation in the Council of the European Union


Dr Francesco Nicoli, University of Trento: Functional legitimacy in post-functional times: The challenge of fiscal integration


Dr Giovanna Pugno Vanoni, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milano: Mechanisms of EU’s legitimacy and democratic deficit


Lunch Break




Practitioners’ Panel: EU legitimacy crisis from Polish perspective



Coffee Break



Conference Conclusions




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