To solve the challenges of the twenty-first century, people must be involved in shaping the policies that affect their lives. Europe could and should become a leader in promoting and realizing this change.
Abkhazia, Transdniestria, and northern Cyprus, three unrecognized statelets in Europe that arose during conflicts in the twentieth century, have endured for decades. Despite many problems, they are self-governing and stable, and they show no signs of collapsing.
Bottom-up citizen interest in more direct forms of political control is a genie that cannot easily be put back into a bottle. Across Europe, direct democracy needs to be improved rather than suppressed.
Erik Brattberg is director of the Europe Program and a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. He is an expert on European politics and security and transatlantic relations.
Associate Fellow Democracy, Conflict, and Governance Program
Saskia Brechenmacher is an associate fellow in Carnegie’s Democracy, Conflict, and Governance Program, where her research focuses on gender, conflict, and governance, as well as trends in civic activism and civil society repression.
Ulrich Kühn is a nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and a senior researcher at the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg (IFSH).
Lehne is a visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe in Brussels, where his research focuses on the post–Lisbon Treaty development of the European Union’s foreign policy, with a specific focus on relations between the EU and member states.