Current and previous Scholars’ projects

The works below are available under licence. For details of different licences, please refer to the Creative Commons examples

YOU & EU (2018-19)
Increasing the legitimacy of the European Union

THE WINNING TEAM OF 2019! They are currently trying to decide how best to spend the €10,000 given as prize money by the Financial Times!

You&EU is a social media campaign that encouraged young people to participate in the 2019 European Parliament elections. Motivated by the continued decline in voter turnout from 1972 to 2014, we illustrated the impact of specific EU policies on people’s daily lives in an accessible and engaging way. We designed, produced and disseminated a variety of content across our Facebook, Instagram and Website, including blogs, posts, and a video series. This material informed voters of the European Parliament’s function and impact, how they could vote, and why they should vote in the 2019 elections. Across these platforms, we reached nearly400,000 people with our message: ‘The EU impacts your life, so have a say in how’.

After winning the FT-sponsored prize of €10,000, You&EU will now organise a ‘Campaigner’s Summit’ for other similar campaigns. This event will enable knowledge exchange and develop a sustainable network to support future collaboration.

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https://www.youandeu.com/

The group can be contacted on youandeu2019@gmail.com


ENERGY POVERTY (2018-19)
Reconnecting Citizens: European Solutions to Energy Poverty

Over 57 million people throughout Europe live in energy poverty, meaning that they cannot meet their fundamental energy needs such as heating, cooling, cooking and lighting, at an affordable cost. Hitherto, the EU and Member States have tackled the issue in a fragmented manner. This project explains why the EU must tackle energy poverty comprehensively, provides analysis of existing policy measures, and develops recommendations for a European energy poverty policy. We conducted data-driven analysis of existing policy measures at the national and EU level, and fieldwork with local initiatives tackling energy poverty. We conclude that energy poverty is a preventable social problem, and that the EU can contribute more to alleviate the harm it causes to individuals and societies. Our recommendations are: (1) Prohibiting power disconnections for vulnerable households; (2) Creating mechanisms to identify vulnerable households; and (3) Expanding EU funding for local initiatives.

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Policy brief (sharing licence CC BY-NC-ND)

Policy Report (sharing licence CC BY-NC-ND)


EUROPE, LISTEN AND RESPOND (2018-19)

The recent history of the European Union is a story of increasing public distrust, dissatisfaction, and disengagement from EU institutions. The Euro and migration crises have compounded public discontent with EU policy results and processes. In the Brexit campaign, terms like ‘sovereignty’ and ‘take back control’ highlighted the perception that EU institutions do not adequately represent the public. Many believe the EU is run by technocratic elites who form policies without heeding to citizens’ perspectives, and that ‘Brussels is only talking to Brussels’.

To restore public trust in EU institutions, citizens must be involved in the policymaking process. One avenue is public consultation. Public consultation enables citizens to voice their opinions on proposed policy and increases their trust in democratic processes. It obliges EU institutions to be transparent and accountable regarding how public opinion influences policy and incorporate diverse views in the decision-making. Furthermore, online public consultation, at low cost and with low barriers to access, makes citizen engagement more efficient and inclusive.

Some of the group’s key findings were presented (by invitation of the OSCE-Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) in Venice (Italy) on December 5th 2019 under the title “Responsiveness and Recognition in Public Consultations”, in the expert roundtable discussion “DEMOCRATIC LAW-MAKING AND PUBLIC CONSULTATIONS: THE THEORY AND REALITIES FROM THE OSCE REGION” organized by the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law.

Project outline (sharing licence CC BY NC ND)

Policy brief (sharing licence CC BY NC ND)

Conference presentation (sharing licence CC BY NC ND)


VOICES OF EUROPE (2018-19)

This project focuses on the ways in which European citizens have become disconnected to the European Union or a European political project more generally. It aims to understand the variety of disconnections and reflect on how to overcome them, thereby leading to a more inclusive and participatory European political project. The project members conducted 16 qualitative interviews with individuals across different countries to identify factors that cause (a feeling of) disconnection from Europe (e.g. socio-economic background, generational divides, cultural and religious affiliation) as well as reflected on related themes in eight essays that will form the basis of a book publication. Finally, in order to overcome disconnections and improve the current state of the European Union, the project members proposed a reform of the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) that strengthens the role of the European Parliament.

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