Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO)

How should the EU address the challenges arising in the aftermath of regional and national elections which have promoted populist national parties and changed political landscapes in a number of countries? How can the gap between the political elite and civil society be reduced?

Dear delegates,

We can not fathom how excited we are to have received the responsibility of chairing the Committee on Constitutional Affairs.

Our topic is one that is highly relevant in today’s political debate. The recent euro zone and refugee crisis has led to dissatisfaction against the political establishment, and as a result populist parties that often hold extremist and anti-european views have begun to arise.

This political phenomenon is not only relevant today, but it is also one that is rooted deep within European history.

How should our union deal with these arising parties and how should we further prevent dissatisfaction towards the political elite? This topic is both politically and ideologically complex and it will require a lot of work from all of you in order to find a solution to this issue.

In order to hold a fruitful debate around this topic we recommend that you thoroughly read through all of the links and sources that we have collected for you. However, do not limit yourself to this material. Search the web, read books and talk to your fellow peers about this topic and you will surely find yourself to be more than well prepared for this MEP session.

We look forward to meeting all of you in person,

 

Sincerely,

Your Committee and Co Commitee President,
Sebastian De Geer (Swe) and Maximilian Bitter (Ger)

Research tips

The following two articles provide a good overview on the main political parties in Europe which are considered as right-wing, nationalist or populist extremist:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/25/across-europe-distrust-of-mainstream-political-parties-is-on-the-rise

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36130006

A very useful and quite objective commentary on nationalism by an independent policy research center can be found by the following link:

http://carnegieeurope.eu/strategiceurope/?fa=62846

An economical point of view on the topic, although a little biased, is delivered by this article. And as we already mentioned, further research on this partial topic as well as on all of the others, on which we provide you with some basic material and sources, is explicitly welcome:

http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21602206-although-economies-around-europe-may-be-mend-voters-disillusion-could-cause-new

A topic we specifically ask you to keep yourself informed about is the British referendum on leaving the European Union. You will surely be able to find a great amount of information about it on the news or on the internet. To start with it, we attached a link to an article stating an interesting, probably biased thesis about the referendum and the reasons for the huge amount of appreciation for it in the United Kingdom. You always have to remember to inform yourself about several points of view when researching political topics:

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-05-04/brexit-is-an-english-nationalism-thing

Scientific results and suggestions for political actions to encounter the negative affections of populist extremist parties on political landscapes across Europe can be drawn from this report by the Royal Institute for International Affairs. Published in 2011, it uses objective, scientific methods to examine this topic, still, giving a contemporary view on the influences and success of populist extremist parties:

https://www.chathamhouse.org/media/news/view/178303

https://www.chathamhouse.org/publications/papers/view/178301