Sandra Eckert Writes about the European Elections (Nürnberger Zeitung)

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In her contribution published in the Nürnberger Zeitung today, Prof Sandra Eckert, Chair of Comparative Politics, writes about why the European elections are important and what they are about. According to Eckert, Europe is not an abstract entity, but determines our everyday lives. Product standards, environmental regulations, data protection provisions… the list of things that are decided at European level and no longer at national level is long. In key areas such as environmental protection, the majority of policy is decided by the European Parliament, and not by the Bundestag. In addition, there is a massive export of rules decided at the European level, discussed as the so-called “Brussels effect” in the literature. The EU’s regulatory power, however, challenged both by internal dynamics and external challenges. The upcoming elections will be decisive for the future of the European project, as securing a political majority in the European Parliament is likely to be more precarious than ever. Left-wing and right-wing populist and Eurosceptic parties will be stronger than ever in the newly elected parliament. In the absence of clear majorities, it will be difficult to initiate new legislative projects and make the internal market fit for the future. In addition to these internal power dynamics, the EU faces external challenges in a global environment that is increasingly geopoliticised. When addressing these challenges, European policy makers have to be careful not to unnecessarily fuel international imbalances and tensions. This is also the responsibility of the new Parliament that we will elect on 9 June.