EUROSPHERE organizes Euro Forums – that is, special policy-targeted sessions – to which the representatives of stake-holding European institutions and the key researchers of Eurosphere are invited to stimulate an exchange of ideas, experiences, and knowledge. These will be intensive conference sessions with concise presentations of policy-relevant findings by project participants and interventions by the representatives of European institutions. Each of these sessions will be divided into concise, specific topical sub-sessions. These Euro Forums will be synchronized with the two last conferences that will be carried out in Brussels. EUROSPHEREs euroforums bring together policymakers, civil society organizations, think tanks, and other stakeholders to discuss the implications of the European Union’s attempts to structure a European public sphere and a European civil society. Speakers in these forums represent the European Parliament, the European Commission, central trans-European networks, and the Eurosphere Consortium.
The first policy session (November 2010) will exclusively address the roles and contributions of different social and political actors in the shaping of the European public sphere and in increasing the communication between different institutional actors. This policy session will be divided into four sub-sessions, each of which will address the contributions of (1) political parties, (2) think tanks, (3) social movements, and (4) broadcast and print media. In each sub-session the factors will be identified which obstruct/facilitate communication between the respective actor and the European institutions.
In July 2012, two Euroforums will be organized. The first policy session will address the recent situation in Hungary and apply EUROSPHERE approaches and perspectives in order to understand the problems in this country. Since 2010 Hungary has a new government which enjoys super-majority in the Parliament. The government used this unusual legitimacy to push through restrictive laws on the media, judiciary, to restrict the powers of Constitutional Court and checks and balances, just as to fill almost all independent positions with people coming from the governing party. Although the regime is still considered democracy, civil liberties degraded substantially according to the most recent Freedom House report. To what extent does the Hungarian case contribute to the revival of democratic values in Europe? To what extent are these issues taken up as part of the European public sphere? The second policy session will aim to discuss EUROSPHERE’s findings concerning the tension between top-down policies and society-initiated processes of European integration.