Protest, street demonstrations and social unrest have been increasingly prevalent across the European Union. European citizens appear ever more discontent with their national governments and with ‘Europe'. Reforms and policies aimed at countering the challenges of the economic crises and increased global competition are met by strong public opposition. Recent student movements protesting against educational reforms, strikes and massive anti-austerity demonstrations in many European capitals, protest votes for extreme right or left political parties are just some of these manifestations. What translates dissatisfaction to protest and drives these collective actions? How is protest expressed in European politics and in the public sphere today? Who is protesting and against what? Is this growing opposition the result of socio-economic insecurity felt by European citizens due to Europe's increasingly strained economic security and prosperity? Or, has Europe hit the limits of how much integration and diversity it can digest? As the current model of European economic liberalism is attacked by protest groups and populists from both left and right, how does this affect European democracy and the future of the European project?
Ruby Gropas is Lecturer in International Relations at the Law Faculty of the Democritus University of Thrace, and Research Fellow at the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) in Athens, Greece. She studied political science and international relations at ULB (Belgium), management at the State University of Maryland, and holds a PhD from Cambridge University.
Her main research interests lie in European integration and foreign policy, human rights, migration and multiculturalism. She has taught at the University of Athens and was Managing Editor of the Journal of Southeast European and Black Sea Studies (2006-2009). She was Southeast Europe Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC (2007, 2009) and a Member of the Organizing Committee of the 3rd Global Forum on Migration and Development (2009). Ruby is Vice-President of the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation Scholars' Association and is currently working on an EU-funded research project on history, identities and modernity.