Resisting Europe: Protest and Opposition in the EU

Working Papers

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CDDRL Working Papers

May 2011


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Protest, 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? 

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