Title: Referendums in Europe: people power or device of the
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London, United Kingdom
30 October 2019
Based on the findings of her recent book 'The Politics of Referendum Use in European Democracies', Dr. Hollander will debate the strategic use of referendums in Europe. She will show that the assumed dichotomy between referendums and representative democracy does not do justice to the great diversity of referendum types and of how referendums are used.
At a time when more citizens' participation in European politics is required, she discusses the fact that although in all referendums citizens vote directly on issues rather than letting their political representatives do this for them, some referendums are more direct than others. Rather than reflecting the direct power of the People, most referendums in EU countries are held by, and serve the interests of, the political elites, most notably the executive.
The panel discussion will show that these interests rarely match the justifications given in the public debate with case studies from the UK, France, Denmark, The Netherlands and Sweden. In unraveling the strategic role played by national referendums in decision-making, Saskia Hollander makes an unconventional contribution to the debate on the impact of referendums on democracy.
The panel discussion will debate the following questions:
- how are referendums in Europe being used and for what purpose?
- when do politicians use referendums? Is it mostly driven by the need to protect the position of their party?
- are referendums a good tool to improve citizens' participation in
European democracies? Or should their usage be
The discussion will be followed by a Q&A involving the audience.
Stijn van Kessel - Chairperson (Queen Mary University of London)
Saskia Hollander - Speaker (Radboud University)
Matt Qvortrup (Coventry University)
Mario Mendez (Queen Mary University of London)
This is part of the lecture series UK-EU relations 2.0. of the Centre for European Research's NEXTEUK project co-funded by the European Commission.
This event is hosted in association with the Mile End Institute
Date And Time
Wed, 30 October 2019
18:30 - 20:00 GMT
Arts One Lecture Theatre
Queen Mary University Of London
Mile End Road