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Foreign Policy Centre

Ideas for a fairer world

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> Europe and the people: Examining the EU's democratic legitimacy- London Conference

Date: Wednesday October 26th 2016

Time: 2.30pm-7.30pm

Venue: Europe House, 32 Smith Square, London, SW1P 3EU

Speakers include:

  • Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP, former Shadow Foreign Secretary, Labour
  • Douglas Carswell MP, UKIP
  • Emma Reynolds MP, Labour
  • Stephen Gethins MP, Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Europe)
  • Baroness Smith of Newnham, Director of the European Centre, Cambridge University and Liberal Democrat Peer
  • Lord Liddle, Chair of Policy Network and Labour Peer
  • Professor Vernon Bogdanor, Research Professor at the Institute for Contemporary British History, Kings College London
  • Senior Representative, Open Europe
  • Dr Marina Prentoulis, Senior Lecturer in Media and Politics, UEA
  • Oli Henman, Head of International Networks, Civicus
  • Further speakers to be announced shortly

In the wake of the British vote to leave the EU, this conference will examine concerns across Europe around the democratic legitimacy of EU institutions and the European project as a whole. It will look at how the debate about EU democratic legitimacy across member states fit within the context of a crisis of trust in institutions at both national and international levels in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis.

The conference will explore the mechanisms through which EU institutions have sought to gain democratic legitimacy, comparing and contrasting with other national and international organisations. The conference will look to explore the potential democratic basis for a future UK-EU relationship post-Brexit, examining the emerging UK Government and EU thinking. The conference will explore the findings of the recent FPC publication Europe and the people: Examining the EU's democratic legitimacy that assessed the major challenges the EU faces and set out ideas for potential democratic and organisational reform.

This conference series is kindly supported by the European Commission Representation in the UK Call for Proposals for civil society organisations 2015-16. The event is independently organised by the FPC and the wide range of views on the matters under discussion are those of the speakers alone.

Please RSVP to events@fpc.org.uk providing your name and any affiliation.


> New Publication- Europe and the people: Examining the EU's democratic legitimacy

New FPC publication Europe and the people: Examining the EU's democratic legitimacy examines the concerns across Europe around the democratic legitimacy of EU institutions and the European project as a whole. It looks at how the debate about EU democratic legitimacy fits within the broader context of a crisis of institutions at both the national and global levels, particularly in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis. The publication explores the mechanisms through which EU institutions seek to gain democratic legitimacy and how they try to engage the public, comparing and contrasting with other organisations at the national and international levels. It places the debate around European democratic legitimacy within the context of the UK referendum on EU membership, as well as the fallout from the Greek debt crisis. It sets out ideas for potential improvements in how the EU operates to increase its democratic legitimacy and accountability but recognises that some of the challenges will persist irrespective of efforts to reform.

This publication contains contributions from: Dr Jim Buller, University of York; Professor Damian Chalmers, LSE; Oli Henman, Civicus; Dr Victoria Honeyman, University of Leeds; Adam Hug (ed.), Foreign Policy Centre; Professor James Mitchell, University of Edinburgh; Dr Marina Prentoulis, UEA; Dr Adriaan Schout and Hedwich van der Bij, Clingendael; and Dr Matthew Wood, University of Sheffield.


> Iran Human Rights Review: Economy

In this latest issue, the Iran Human Rights Review focuses on the relationship between Iran's human rights record and its economy. Activists and experts offer a range of perspectives on issues that impact Iran's economy, in light of the human rights dynamics that place a spotlight on Iran. The Iran Human Rights Review: Economy issue highlights religious and economic freedoms, the environment and child labour among others.

The Iran Human Rights Review: Economy issue is edited by Tahirih Danesh and Hossein Rassam. It contains contributions by: Dr Leila Alikarami, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS); Professor Ali Arab, Georgetown University; Azam Bahrami; Kamyar Behrang; Dr. Abdolsattar Dushouki, Baluchestan Research Centre; Marcos Alan Ferreira and Hanna Belle, Federal University of Paraiba - UFPB; Brian Grim, Religious Freedom & Business Foundation; and Solmaz Ikdar; The issue also contains a foreword by Dr. Augusto Lopez-Claros, Director of the Global Indicators Group at the World Bank.


> Investing in women's economic resilience & social wellbeing: Rethinking the role of private sector development in Africa

Part of the 'Africa Rising? Building Africa's Productive Capacity for Inclusive Growth' series

This series of roundtable discussions are taking place at a time when global development priorities are being reshaped and redefined by the 17 recently adopted UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Change agreement (COP21). COP21 aims to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5°C (above pre-industrial levels) however, has yet to provide the commitments needed to achieve this aspiration. In addition, the UN Commission on the Status of Women will mark its 60th anniversary (CSW60) in 2016. Its priority focus will be women's empowerment and sustainable development. The level of global inequality and insecurity disproportionately affecting women and girls continues to be compounded by an unprecedented global economic crisis, on-going austerity and mounting uncertainty. These conditions present very real challenges for public spending dedicated to sustainable development. As such, understanding the development transformation role played by business and enterprise has become increasingly important.


> Sharing worst practice: How countries and institutions in the former Soviet Union help create legal tools of repression

Sharing worst practice: How countries and institutions in the former Soviet Union help create legal tools of repression examines the ways in which authoritarian regimes learn from each other and collaborate to develop repressive practices. The publication looks at the role of regional structures in the development of repressive rules and norms of behaviour, as well as exploring the extent of bilateral influence, most notably from Russia. It examines the impact of these countries' shared Soviet heritage and the nature of their current governments in determining their desire to emulate practices from neighbouring countries that undermine human rights. The publication explores the development of copycat anti-NGO and anti-LGBTI legislation, alongside similar restrictions on freedom of assembly, media and internet use. The publication also looks at the role security concerns play in developing and excusing bad practice, exploring the sometimes negative role of Western countries as part of the 'War on Terror'.

The publication contains contributions by: Prof Thomas Ambrosio, North Dakota State University; Dr Michael Hamilton, University of East Anglia; Joanna Hoare and Maisy Weicherding, Amnesty International; Melissa Hooper, Human Rights First; Adam Hug (ed.), Foreign Policy Centre; Eka Iakobishvili; Kate Levine, EHRAC; Dr David Lewis, University of Exeter; Katie Morris, Article 19.