Responding to Emerging Dissensus: Supranational Instruments & Norms of European Liberal Democracy

RED-SPINEL is a 36-month long, 3.2 million euro, interdisciplinary, international and intersectoral project involving seven higher education institutions: Université libre de Bruxelles, Libera Università Internazionale degli Studi Sociali Guido Carli, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Universitatea Babeș-Bolyai, HEC Paris, Uniwersytet Mikołaja Kopernika w Toruniu and the University of Warwick. They are joined in the consortium by four non-academic partners: Peace Action, Training and Research Institute in Romania, Milieu Consulting, Magyar Helsinki Bizottság / Hungarian Helsinki Committee and Stichting Nederlands Instituut voor Internationale Betrekkingen Clingendael across eight European countries.

The project obtained an outstanding 14/15 evaluation score and was praised for its ambitious theoretical and innovative aims as well as for the quality of the consortium membership and the research agenda that it establishes.  

RED-SPINEL, submitted in the call HORIZON-CL2-2021-DEMOCRACY-01-01, is the second project obtained this year by the IEE-ULB, recently selected as Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, with the project EUqualis.

Unpacking dissensus around liberal democracy

RED-SPINEL analyses the changing nature of dissensus surrounding liberal democracy and its implications for EU supranational policy instruments. It will unpack the inter-connected drivers of contemporary dissensus surrounding liberal democracy.

Its concept-building effort centred on the notion of ‘dissensus’ will explore how contemporary dissensus surrounding liberal democracy differs from previous debates and which more fundamental questions it raises about future democratic practices and the rule of law.

RED-SPINEL will provide a typology of said dissensus, map the principal actors of the dissensus in Europe and unpack its two underlying drivers – i.e., heightened internal contestation over liberal democracy and external competition from alternative illiberal models.

Empirically, RED-SPINEL will focus on the key policy instruments and legal mechanisms shaping the EU’s efforts in support of democracy and the rule of law. The studied instruments include the EU rule of law toolbox, the neighbourhood and accession instruments, the European semester, fundamental rights and judicial instruments, as well as citizen participation platforms.

Furthermore, through a series of stakeholder events, RED-SPINEL will flesh out the implications of its findings for public policy stakeholders (i.e. legal professionals, policymakers, European youth) as well as EU instruments aimed at responding to said dissensus.

The project will develop a range of scientifically informed policy recommendations and capacity-building efforts able to foster innovative democratic practices able to respond to the present-day dissensus.

More about RED-SPINEL

Mis à jour le 3 août 2023