Welcome to the UCL European Institute, UCL's hub for research, collaboration and information on Europe and the European Union.
The age-old question of what holds our societies together re-emerges periodically, particularly in times of crisis. In a world ever more globalised and virtual, the answer is often cast in terms of "trust", with its pivotal role as regularly called upon as its health called into question. How has trust risen to this centrality, and is it all as straightforward as it seems?
Dr Uta Staiger
13 August 2014
Starts: Aug 13, 2014 12:00:00 AM
Juncker’s nomination was not a sudden, not an unexpected and not even a distinct event. Neither does it spell
an end to the European Council’s dominance in constitutional politics or
make EU reform less likely.
Dr Christine Reh
2 July 2014
Starts: Jul 1, 2014 12:00:00 AM
As a closer look at the European
Parliament Elections in Central and Eastern Europe suggests, it may be
non-voting, rather than populist protest voting, which could prove the
long-term threat to sustainability of the EU’s troubled democratic
Dr Sean Hanley
2 June 2014 More...
Starts: Jun 2, 2014 12:00:00 AM
Bulgarian PM’s resignation & Public Disorder in Europe
Publication date: Feb 20, 2013 5:28:41 PM
Start: Feb 20, 2013 12:00:00 AM
Dr Eric Gordy
The main difference between public disorder in Bulgaria and everywhere else in Europe is that in Bulgaria the government responded. Although the immediate catalyst for protests was the state’s failure to control growth in the price of electricity, the core causes are shared in every European state: dissatisfaction resulting from the forced dismantling of social support services brought on by the European debt crisis, and a sense that policymakers are orienting their activity not to the needs of the public but to the service of large European banks.
These forces are accompanied by the perception that national governments have neither the capacity nor the will to address the consequences of a fiscal and social policy that are widely seen as imbalanced against the public interest. In Greece, Hungary and Italy the contribution of public dissatisfaction to the rise of antidemocratic movements of the extreme right is already apparent.
While conservative political leaders in the EU, particularly from Germany and the UK (and until last year, France) have largely been successful in pushing for a shift of priorities to debt service and “austerity,” the consequences of this should concern everybody in Europe. In the period after the end of the First World War, there was a similar euphoric and triumphalist announcement that liberal democracy could declare its inevitable victory across the continent.
Inattention to the responsibilities of states to their publics on the part of that generation of liberal democratic elites led to a rapid and general decay of constitutional systems and an accelerating tendency of governments to neglect of social responsibilities.
If we take one lesson from the failures of democratic order in the 1920s and 1930s, it should be that governments that fail to address social needs will be challenged by forces, some of them extremist ones, that promise to do so.