Author:
Raimond Spekking (Creative Commons)

REPAIR: Rejuvenating Democracy in the EU

The Rejuvenating Democracy in the EU (REPAIR) Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence will improve teaching and research in the area of EU Studies by analysing and seeking solutions to a wide range of contemporary challenges to democratic politics and governance in the European Union. This includes citizens’ growing dissatisfaction with the performance of democratic regimes, diminished trust in political institutions, eroding support for democratic principles, low electoral turnout, the rise of populist, extremist and Eurosceptic parties and movements, political polarization and radicalization, party system instability, and growing refusal of various political actors to play by democratic rules and accept the results of democratic elections. Given its geographical location in Tartu, Estonia, the Centre will pay particular attention to developments in the Baltic region and Central and Eastern Europe more broadly; it will also focus on democratic and authoritarian tendencies in the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood. REPAIR will foster dialogue between the academic world, the public sector, civil society and different levels of education and media by modernizing and expanding EU-focused curricula and courses at the University of Tartu, generating new policy-relevant knowledge about contemporary threats to democracy as well as viable solutions, and launching a comprehensive training program for civics teachers in Estonian schools.

 

Workpackages

This WP will ensure the effective coordination and implementation of project activities. It organises Steering Group meetings and reports to the European Commission. It also leads efforts to ensure the sustainability of the Centre.

This work package aims to consolidate European Union related research expertise at the UT and to increase the quantity and quality of UT research in European studies. Thematic foci include public perceptions of democracy and patterns of democratic participation in EU member states, major threats to democracy in Central and Eastern Europe, European Parliament elections, socio-economic governance in the EU in the post-pandemic context and its relationship to democratic legitimacy, as well as democratic governance promotion in the EU’s Eastern neighbourhood. Additionally, this work package aims to formulate research-based policy recommendations and to engage in dialogue with public officials, policy practitioners, and experts.

This work package sets out to modernize and expand the multi-disciplinary teaching of European studies at the UT by carrying out a comprehensive reform of the curriculum of the European Studies Master’s programme. It also aims to develop three new EU-related courses, update existing ones, and promote the adoption and spread of innovative teaching methods in European studies. Training will be offered to young and first-time voters on European Parliament elections and civic and political participation types. Additionally, the link between academia, policymakers, civil servants, and civil society will be strengthened by involving stakeholders in curriculum and course reform. Two new courses, “European Elections” and “Political Economy of Green Transition in Europe” will be opened up to all students at the UT. A shorter online course on democracy and autocracy in the Eastern neighbourhood shall be created. The WP will organize simulations on decision-making of the Council of the EU as well as an annual REPAIR graduate conference in European studies, allowing students to present their work and receive feedback.

This WP assesses the EU-related training needs for civics teachers in Estonian schools and provides training on EU democracy, politics, and governance to around 100 practicing civics teachers. The WP works with teachers, experts, and stakeholders to develop and test didactic approaches for teaching EU politics and governance at schools. The WP collaborates with the Association of Estonian History and Civics Teachers and the Ministry of Education and Research in assessing the EU-related training needs of Estonian civics teachers. It will analyse the feedback received from the teacher training events and formulate best practices for civics teachers.

This WP disseminates the results of academic and policy-relevant research to relevant target groups and beneficiaries, including academics, policymakers, practitioners, and the general public. It promotes and disseminates novel approaches to teaching and learning about the EU to educators, students, and education experts. The WP will organize a range of public events connected to major events and anniversaries in 2024, including European Parliament elections, the 20th anniversary of the 2004 enlargement, and the city of Tartu serving as a European Capital of Culture.

 

Meet the team

Research team members' profiles in the Estonian Research Information System (ETIS)

Piret Ehin
Professor of Comparative Politics
Piret is leading the REPAIR project.
Piret Ehin
Professor of Comparative Politics
Piret is leading the REPAIR project.
Varje Kuut
Senior Specialist for International Projects
Varje keeps the finances in order.
Varje Kuut
Senior Specialist for International Projects
Kristina Muhhina
Research Fellow in Public Policy
Kristina builds research synergies between scholars, teams, and disciplines.
Kristina Muhhina
Research Fellow in Public Policy
Stefano Braghiroli
Associate Professor of European Studies
Stefano leads the effort to take university-level teaching in European Studies to the next level.
Stefano Braghiroli
Associate Professor of European Studies
Maili Vilson
Deputy Head for Academic Affairs
Maili works with Estonian school teachers to improve and expand teaching and learning about the EU.
Maili Vilson
Deputy Head for Academic Affairs
Evelyn Pihla
Marketing and Communication Specialist
Evelyn takes care of project communication and dissemination.
Evelyn Pihla
Marketing and Communication Specialist

 

Publications, policy reports, and media appearances

2024

Braghiroli, S., Hagelin, SMore than neighbours: Assessing crisis narratives of Nordic-Baltic elites in the context of European Union’s eastern border. New Perspectives, 0(0). DOI: 10.1177/2336825X241230833

2023

Sofia Vasilopoulou, Liisa Talving. Euroscepticism as a syndrome of stagnation? Regional inequality and trust in the EUJournal of European Public Policy. 06.10.2023. 

Edgars Eihmanis. (2023) ‘Ten Years of the European Semester: policy goals, effectiveness and legitimacy’, in D. Adamski, F. Amtenbrink, and J. de Haan (eds). The Cambridge Handbook on European Monetary, Economic and Financial Market Integration. Cambridge: Cambridge University.

Stefano Braghiroli, Europe’s Russia-Friendly Parties Put to the Test by Putin’s Invasion of Ukraine, Journal of Regional Security, 18:1, 29–38. DOI: 10.5937/jrs18-41766

Muhhina, Kristina. Governance improvement by sectoral cooperation: toward a framework of policy designs for the Eastern neighbourhood. East European Politics, 39 (3), 434−456. DOI: 10.1080/21599165.2022.2136653

Khutkyy, Dmytro; Matveieva, Olga; Mirza-Grisco, Diana. Voting in online surveys on open government policies in Moldova and Ukraine. Internet Policy Review, 12 (2). DOI: 10.14763/2023.2.1712

2022

Ehin, Piret; Solvak, Mihkel; Willemson, Jan; Vinkel, Priit. Internet voting in Estonia 2005–2019: Evidence from eleven elections. Government Information Quarterly, 39 (4), 101718. DOI: 10.1016/j.giq.2022.101718

Braghiroli, Stefano. The European Parliament put to the test by COVID-19: voting dynamics and coalition patterns of the EP's first response to the global pandemic. Journal of Contemporary European Studies, 30 (4), 682−705. DOI: 10.1080/14782804.2021.1934421

Braghiroli, Stefano; Makarychev, Andrey. Сonservative populism in Italy and Estonia: playing the multicultural card and engaging “domestic others”. East European Politics, 1−22. DOI: 10.1080/21599165.2022.2077725

Toplisek, Alen; Oellerich, Nils; Simons, Jasper P.; Eihmanis, Edgars. Path dependency and partisan interests: explaining COVID-19 social support programmes in East-Central Europe. East European Politics, 38 (4),  641−661. DOI: 10.1080/21599165.2022.2122046

Bohle, Dorothee; Eihmanis, Edgars. East Central Europe in the COVID-19 crisis. East European Politics, 38 (4),  491−506. DOI: 10.1080/21599165.2022.2122051

2023

Jonathan Zeitlin, David Bokhorst, and Edgars Eihmanis. Governing the RRF: Drafting, Implementing, and Monitoring National Recovery and Resilience Plans as an Interactive Multi-Level Process. Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) Policy Study, June 2023.
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Eihmanis et al, Policy report highlights
Dmytro Khutkyy; Elisa Lironi. Internet voting for open government: what, why, and how to introduce it in the European Union. 2023/1. EDDA-ECAS Policy Briefs  
Dmytro Khutkyy; Elisa Lironi. Internet voting for open government: what, why, and how to introduce it in European countries. EDDA-ECAS Policy Briefs  
Dmytro Khutkyy; Elisa Lironi. Internet voting for open government: what, why, and how to introduce it in local communities. EDDA-ECAS Policy Brief  

 

2022

Piret Ehin, Maili Vilson, Birgit Aasa, Anna-Lisa Aavik, "Qualified majority voting in foreign and security policy: Pros and Cons", the study was commissioned by the Foreign Affairs Committee, (text in Estonian)  

2023

Anna Beitane, Stefano Braghiroli, "ОТ ПОЛИТОЛОГА ⟩ Путь в Европу: прошлое Эстонии – будущее Молдовы?" (Path to Europe: Estonia's past - the future of Moldova?), Postimees, 11.10.2023.

Maili Vilson gave a comment for “Rethinking Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies in the West”New Eastern Europe, 11.09.2023

Piret Ehin attended an expert roundtable on the impact of the EU’s prospective enlargement, organized by the Government Office of Estonia at the Stenbock House. She presented the results of an analysis “The impact of prospective enlargement on voting in the Council of the European Union,” and introduced a newly-built interactive EU30+ voting calculator, available here. 18.09.2023.

Berit Kivisaar, "Euroopa õpingute eriala kui Tartu Ülikooli salajane pärl", the University of Tartu. 18.08.2023

Stefano Braghiroli, "The role of the Baltic States in the EU and NATO in the light of the war in Ukraine: From Marginality to Centrality", the Center for Openness and Dialogue in Tirana. 12.07.2023

Stefano Braghiroli, "Baltic voices – from the fringes to the fore", New Eastern Europe. 04.07.2023

Stefano Braghiroli on the role of the Baltic states in Europe and in supporting Ukraine, podcast Aelvis of Comitato Ventotene. 25.05.2023

 

Tools

The EU30+ voting calculator can be used to simulate the Council of the EU voting system and results after the accession of current EU candidate countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine) and potential candidate countries (Georgia, Kosovo) across four different voting rules used in the Council.

EU30+ voting calculator


MOOC on Democracy and Autocracy in the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood. Course addresses the following core questions:
-what are the key characteristics of democracy and autocracy?
-what are the key historical events and developments in the EU's Eastern Neighbourhood region that have shaped the political landscape?
-what are the political institutions and systems in the Eastern Neighbourhood countries?
-what is the role of the EU in the region and how its engagement affects the political processes in the region?
-what challenges and obstacles the EU's Eastern Neighbourhood countries face in maintaining democracy or experiencing autocratic tendencies?

Course page

 

Events

Upcoming

9 MAY 2024 Conference dedicated to the 20th anniversary of Estonia’s EU membership: “Twenty Years in the EU: How Have We Changed?” White Hall
University of Tartu Museum
Lossi 25, Tartu

2023

   
DEC Dutch National Elections 2023: Lessons to Learn  
NOV H.E. Ambassador Emmanuel Mignot (Amb. of France to Estonia) meets Skytte students to discuss France’s Perspective on the Baltics and Broader European Affairs  
NOV Piret Ehin and Stefano Braghiroli conducted a full-day training for journalists entitled “How decisions are made in the EU?” at the EU House in Tallinn.  
OCT Kääriku Autumn School 2023   
SEPT Joint NearEU-REPAIR event  
SEPT Welcoming our European Studies MA students at the beginning of a new academic year  
SEPT Presentation of the paper “Satisfaction with democracy after winning and losing without elections (Piret Ehin with Miroslav Nemcok and Jean-Francois Daoust) at the ECPR General Conference, in the Charles University, Prague  
AUG Stefano Braghiroli participated as an expert at the Nordic and Baltic Security Conference organized by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, held in Cadenabbia, Italy.  
AUG Lecture by Piret Ehin “European Parliament elections 2024: why important, what to expect?” at the annual summer school of the Society of Estonian History and Civics Teachers, Vändra, Pärnu county  
JUNE Celebrating MA thesis defenses, European Studies MA program  
MAY Skytte Election Analysis Seminar Series. Turkish Presidential and General Elections 2023: Democracy on a Tightrope  
MAY Public lecture by Maive Rute „Global race for cleantech and critical raw materials. Europe between China and the US"  
MAY RECORDING: Public talk by Timothy Garton Ash: a Personal History of Europe  
MAY RECORDING: Information session about European studies MA programme (held in Estonian)  
APRIL Seminar on Finnish elections: a tight race amid war, high inflation and rising debt  
APRIL Political science PhD EU specialty admission information session  
MARCH Seminar on Estonian 2023 elections for international students and staff at the UTARTU  

This project is funded by the European Union (grant agreement 101085795). Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

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REPAIR: Rejuvenating Democracy in the EU
Democracy and Autocracy in the EU's Eastern Neighbourhood

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