Public opinions, debates and reforms

How much differentiation is acceptable and desirable to European citizens? EU3D will analyse the experiences and perspectives that key actors, including citizens, media, and parliaments have on EU differentiated governance. How do such perspectives shape conditions for EU reforms?

The last decades has seen the rise of Eurosceptic and populist movements across Europe. There have been multiple reactions and protests to EU reforms as they have had severe consequences especially for the citizens of the most crisis-ridden member states.

EU3D will conduct a series of survey experiments in order to improve our understanding of how citizens perceive and evaluate different forms of dominance (arbitrariness, including undermining of systems of rule, forms of illicit hierarchy, and forms of exclusion). Moreover, our survey experiments will enable us to better grasp how citizens have experienced crises and how they evaluate different types of reform proposals. That includes paying explicit attention to issues of national but also gender identities and recognition, and the visions of European integration and differentiation that they espouse.

EU3D will also conduct a media assessment in order to understand how positions towards EU differentiation are framed by the media and what that tells us about the scope and directions for reform.

EU3D studies parliaments as possible vehicles in countering dominance and fostering democratic reforms. We assess parliamentary debates and track reform proposals from parliaments across levels. The challenge is both to overcome built-in democratic defects in the EU structure (parliaments have sought to catch up with executives and experts since the EU’s inception), and to reverse the de-democratising effects of the crises.

Finally, acknowledging the important role of the municipal and regional level for EU democratic reform, EU3D will analyse how regions may promote democratic reforms, and thus avoid differentiation driven dominance.

Research coordinators

Dirk Leuffen

Professor of Political Science



Asimina Michailidou

Senior Researcher



Jan Zielonka

Professor of European Politics



Published June 3, 2021 11:40 AM - Last modified Sep. 1, 2021 10:14 AM