The May Think Tank Review is out, referencing papers published in April.
With EP elections approaching, our selection reflects the think tank community’s concern on the forthcoming ‘re-setting’ of membership and leadership in EU institutions. We found the usual wealth of papers investigating in broad terms the raison d’être and the way forward for the European project.
This month we also harvested very specific and sometimes militant perspectives on individual parties, or on Member states and the performance of their MEPs. The number of papers focusing on the prospects of specific parties probably reflects the consolidating partisan infrastructure at EU level, with foundations and think tanks directly providing research and advice to political families, and the surge from left and right of many challengers to the mainstream parties. It may also be seen as a response to the unprecedented politicization of this round of European elections, e.g. through the explicit designation of party candidates for Commission president. Many papers investigate the possible impact of this development, with a few – notably one by CEPS – questioning the wisdom of having personalization precede, or substituting for, a politicization of institutions.
The studies on MEP performance are a reflection of the growing availability of data from voting records. See for example the project “15 European Parliament votes that shaped EU and national politics 2009-2014”, in which VoteWatch Europe and Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute joined with think tanks from 20 EU Member States.
The Think Tank Review is based on the monitoring of more than 200 worldwide think tanks active on EU affairs. Feel free to help our research team by giving feedback on our selection. Previous issues of the Think Tank Review are available here.