Rebuilding European Democracy: Resistance and Renewal in an Illiberal Age

Rebuilding European Democracy: Resistance and Renewal in an Illiberal Age

by Richard Youngs


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In recent years serious concerns emerged over the state of European democracy. Many democracy indices are reporting a year-on-year drift towards less liberal politics in the countries of the European Union. Polls regularly suggest that the voters are coming to question democratic norms more seriously than for many decades.

Here, Richard Youngs assesses these risks as many analysts, journalists and politicians stressed the danger of Europe descending into an era of conflict, driven by xenophobic nationalism and nativist authoritarians slowly dismantling liberal democratic rights. In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic has intensified these fears. There is another side of the democratic equation, however. Youngs argues that governments, EU institutions, political parties, citizens and civil society organisations have gradually begun to push back in defence of democracy. With each chapter, Youngs shows how many governmental, political and social actors have developed responses to Europe's democratic malaise at multiple levels. Europe's democracy problems have been grave and far-reaching. Yet, a spirit of democratic resistance has slowly taken shape.

This book argues that the pro-democratic fightback may be belated, but it is real and has assumed significant traction with various types of democratic reform underway, including citizen initiatives, political-party changes, digital activism and EU-level responses.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780755639717
Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
Publication date: 10/07/2021
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.43(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)

About the Author

Richard Youngs is Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Europe think-tank in Brussels and also a professor of International Relations at Warwick University, UK.

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