RED-SPINEL stands for ‘Respond to Emerging Dissensus: SuPranational Instruments and Norms of European Liberal democracy’. This interdisciplinary and intersectoral Research project brings together 11 partner organisations from 8 European countries (see the Consortium).

Launched in October 2022, it will seek, in the next years, to analyse the changing nature of dissensus surrounding liberal democracy and its implications for EU supranational policy instruments. 

1.  To foster conceptual innovations on dissensus

2. To produce original empirical findings relating to EU instruments

3.   To contribute to strengthening democratic institutions in the EU

By way of its 9 work packages (link to WP page), RED-SPINEL meet these 3 overarching objectives.

It will provide a typology of said dissensus, map the principal actors of the dissensus in Europe and unpack its two underlying drivers – i.e., heightened internal contestation over liberal democracy and external competition from alternative illiberal models.

Empirically, it will focus on the key policy instruments and legal mechanisms shaping the EU’s efforts in support of democracy and the rule of law: the EU rule of law toolbox, the neighbourhood and accession instruments, the European semester, fundamental rights and judicial instruments, and citizen participation platforms.

Through stakeholder events, RED-SPINEL will raise the impact of its findings on public policy stakeholders (i.e. legal professionals, scientific community, policymakers, civil society, European youth). The project will develop a range of scientifically informed policy recommendations and capacity-building efforts able to foster innovative democratic practices able to respond to the present-day dissensus.