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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