Reconnect is a four-year multidisciplinary research project on Reconciling Europe with its Citizens through Democracy and the Rule of Law aimed at understanding and providing solutions to the recent challenges faced by the European Union (EU). With an explicit focus on strengthening the EU’s legitimacy through democracy and the rule of law, RECONNECT seeks to build a new narrative for Europe, enabling the EU to become more attuned to the expectations of its citizens. RECONNECT brings together 18 academic partner institutions from 14 countries.
Acknowledging that the attempt to strenghten the rule of law and democratic principles over the past decade has not succeeded in fostering the legitimacy of European institutions, scholars and policy makers will reflect on the key concepts challenged by the current EU crises – legitimacy, authority and sovereighty – and what should European institutions deliver and be held accountable for. What caused the current erosion of legitimacy that European institutions are witnessing? How can citizens be placed at the center of a new narrative of legitimacy rebuilding? The answers to those questions should pave the way for the advancement toward a reconnection of EU institutions with the citizens.
Today, the debate on the media and their impact on society, politics, and institutions is focused on the new media and the social networks. It very often comes down to a Manichean contrast between old media and new media, are the latter are usually placed on the wicked side. This is an oversimplification which overlooks an essential fact: once, the current old media were in their turn new media. When they appeared, they aroused the attacks of what at the time of their birth were the old media, the curiosity of real and potential ‘users’, the attention of political, economic, and religious institutions, intent on evaluating, combating, and/or exploiting their effects and potential. In short, the reflection about the new media deserves to be tackled from a long-term historical perspective.