Can Innovation and Direct Engagement Bring European Democracy Back to the People?

A joint event of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom and
the Mission of Switzerland to the EU, with a book presentation by N. Nuspliger




The 2019 European elections set the course for the future of democracy in Europe. While EU-skeptical nationalists are calling for the disempowerment of European institutions and a return to pure cooperation between nation states, EU-supporters see greater integration as the way to more democracy. This debate hides the much more fundamental challenge that the democratic model is currently facing. While authoritarianism seems en vogue, liberal democracy is coming under increasing pressure from within, thus facing the challenge to adapt and reinvent itself.

Niklaus Nuspliger, author of „Europa zwischen Populisten-Diktatur und Bürokraten-Herrschaft“ (“Europe between Populist Dictatorship and Bureaucratic Rule”) identifies two main reasons for the European democracy crisis. On the one hand, citizens in the “institutional jungle” of the EU have lost the overview and possibility to influence. On the other hand, representative democracy has generally fallen into crisis, therefore fueling a sense of disempowerment among citizens. This results in the loss of confidence in the institutions, growing political apathy, the declining performance of traditional people’s parties, but also political polarization and fragmentation. Nuspliger offers ways out of this dilemma between authoritarianism and technocracy, through stronger and more innovative direct involvement of citizens.

This event will discuss the state of the union, forms of democratic innovation, as well as direct participation by citizens as a way to bring European democracy back to the people. 


Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Registration: 12:00h

Event & Light Lunch: 12:15 – 14:00h


Venue: Swiss Mission to the EU, Place de Luxembourg 1, 1050 Brussels

Kindly register for this event by 13 May 2019 at *



Urs Bucher
Head of the Swiss Mission to the EU


Thomas Ilka

Director European Dialogue,
Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom



Niklaus Nuspliger
Author, Brussels Correspondent of NZZ


Alexander Miesen

President, Parliament of the German-speaking Community


Simona Pronckute (tbc)

Board member, ECI Campaign



Valentina Pop

Brussels correspondent, Wall Street Journal


The event will be accompanied by simultaneous interpretation in German and English.

*Please note that you will be forwarded to a
Google Drive sheet. Should you wish to register with us directly, please send an email to