Research Activities 

Our research and dissemination activities are reported here. For further information about the project as well as for recent publications and current events of RECONNECT, please visit the main project website. Moreover, don't hesitate to follow RECONNECT on TwitterFacebook, YouTube and ResearchGate!


Kurzvideo zu den wichtigsten Ergebnissen des RECONNECT Team Münster


Die Hauptergebnisse des RECONNECT Team Münster können in einem ersten (begutachteten) Working Report und – hoffentlich bald – in Publikationen in ebenfalls begutachteten Zeitschriften eingesehen werden. Zudem haben wir ein kurzes animiertes Video erstellt, um unsere Ergebnisse auch einer breiteren Öffentlichkeit zu vermitteln.

Animated Video - Main Findings of RECONNECT Team Muenster


The main findings of RECONNECT Team Muenster can be accessed via a first (peer-reviewed) Working Report and – hopefully soon – upcoming publications in peer-reviewed journals. In addition, we created a short animated video that presents our main findings to a broader audience. Enjoy!

What to Do About Democratic Backsliding in the EU?

The RECONNECT’s Uni Münster team organised a webinar on Democratic Backsliding at the 2021 Congress of the German Political Science Association with MEPs Terry Reintke and Monika Hohlmeier. The recording of the webinar which took place on September 16, 9.00-10.30 am, can be found above - but note that it is in German language.


Abstract of the Webinar

The European Union (EU) likes to pride itself on its role as a global promoter of democracy and human rights. Yet within the EU, democracy and the rule of law are increasingly being eroded. Apart from the well-known cases of Hungary and Poland, the Covid pandemic has shown that debates arose in almost all EU member states about whether the measures to combat the pandemic were sufficiently democratically legitimised and compatible with elementary fundamental rights.

How should the EU deal with these challenges? The arsenal of available instruments has so far proven inadequate to curb authoritarian tendencies. Therefore, policy-makers and academic experts have suggested a variety of reform proposals. But what are the chances that these proposals will be realised? And what do citizens think about EU interventions against democratic backsliding? Do they support EU measures against their own country, and to what extent is their support dependent on blaming strategies by governments?

Moderated by Oliver Treib and technically coordinated by Dana S. Atzpodien (both University of Münster), the virtual roundtable will discuss these and related questions. The starting point will be empirical findings on the views of the European population about EU sanctions against democratic backsliding, which were collected under the auspices of the RECONNECT project at University of Münster. These findings will be presented to the panel by Bernd Schlipphak (University of Münster). After his presentation, MEP Terry Reintke (Greens/EFA) and MEP Monika Hohlmeier (EPP) will discuss their views on the future of EU measures against democratic backsliding.

RECONNECT Webinar: How to Overcome the EU’s Legitimacy Crisis?

In the framework of the RECONNECT Webinar Series on the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE), the Münster team held an online discussion on May 10, zooming in on the key players in the CoFoE: citizens. Overcoming the EU’s current crisis of legitimacy will require reforms that take into account citizens’ visions of the future EU. It started off with a presentation by RECONNECT partner Prof. Bernd Schlipphak, who summarized the results from a survey among 12,000 citizens from six European countries on the ideal setting of the EU in the mind of European citizens. Based on these results, a panel of experts consisting of Prof. Brigid Laffan, Prof. Vivien A. Schmidt, and Prof. Michael Zürn discussed the implications for the wider prospects of EU reform. The webinar was moderated by RECONNECT partner Prof. Oliver Treib in collaboration with Dana S. Atzpodien. To view the webinar, please click here


Announcement: ISA Virtual Convention 2021

On April 7 at 8 pm, the Münster team will present its paper "Authority Matters: Institutional Reforms, Cosmopolitanism, and the Public Legitimacy of International Organisations" at the virtual panel on "Authority and the (De)Legitimation of International Organizations" of the ISA Convention 2021. More details about the event can be found here.

Presenting our first results 

The first results of our RECONNECT survey are out! Busy months lie behind the Münster team, during which we presented our papers "What Kind of EU Do the Citizens Want? Studying Multidimensional Institutional Preferences Using a Multifactorial Survey Design" and "Authority Matters: Institutional Reforms, Cosmopolitanism, and the Public Legitimacy of International Organisations" - both containing first empirical findings of our survey - at various conferences and workshops:

  • October 7-9:  Annual conference of the IR section of the German Political Science Association (DVPW).
  • November 11-12: Annual conference of the DVPW working group "Elections and Political Attitudes".
  • November 12-13: Annual conference of the DVPW working group "European and Regional Studies".
  • December 9-11: LegRo-Workshop "(Self-)Legitimation of international Organizations in Disruptive Times".
  • December 17-18: RECONNECT Workshop of Team Vienna "The European Elections and beyond".


RECONNECT virtual meeting 

RECONNECT goes virtual: After a successful digital General Assembly in July 2020, we again met the whole project consortium online in October - this time together with external reviewers who examined the second funding period (2019-20). On both occasions, we participated in full force and presented the online survey that is currently fielded. We're now looking forward to receiving the data and presenting some first results soon!


 The RECONNECT project consortium at its virtual meeting in October.
The RECONNECT project consortium at its virtual meeting in October.
© Constantin Schäfer



Data collection now in progress!

It's getting exciting! After months of preparation, our data collection – carried out by KANTAR – finally started in early September 2020. We eagerly await the raw data at the beginning of October. Stay tuned for our preliminary findings!

Interview on Germany's Presidency of the Council of the EU

On July 2, Oliver Treib adressed high expectations, opportunities and limits in the context of Germany's Presidency of the Council of the EU 2020 in an interview with Jana Haack. Read more about key issues, like the Coronavirus crises and Brexit and the importance of compromise proposals in order to find solutions acceptable to all sides.


RECONNECT meets the Young European Federalists

On May 19, Constantin Schäfer was invited by the Young European Federalists (JEF) Münster to present the current stage of the RECONNECT project in a "Discuss Europe" online event.

Between Policy and Protest: The AfD and its Voters

In his blogpost on right-wing populism in Germany (available here), Constantin Schäfer examines the 'Alternative for Germany' (AfD) and, in particular, its voters. Thereby, he demonstrates the party's development from a Eurosceptic single-issue party into a fully-fledged populist radical right party with enormous electoral successes and sheds light on underlying motives of AfD voters.

Welcome, Farsan!

After a successful application, Farsan Ghassim is now (probably the first) Digital WWU Fellow. During his (again: digital) stay at the WWU between April and June 2020, Farsan cooperates with Bernd Schlipphak, Paul Meiners and the RECONNECT Team Münster in setting up experimental surveys to analyze (Covid19- but also institutional reform-related) factors influencing attitudes toward international organizations. Farsan is currently completing his doctorate in International Relations at the University of Oxford. In his research, he uses experimental survey methods to explore world public opinion on global democracy and governance. After his time as a WWU Fellow, Farsan is taking up a postdoctoral position on the Legitimacy in Global Governance (LegGov) project in Sweden. 


Photographer: David Außerhofer.
© MPC GmbH

 WP5-Workshop on Populist Parties in Europe 

On 19-21 February 2020, Constantin Schäfer represented the Münster team at the RECONNECT WP5-workshop "Are Populist Parties threatening Democracy in Europe?", which was organized by Alvaro Oleart and Ben Crum at the VU Amsterdam. During this workshop, he presented the working paper "Anti-pluralist Reactions to an Anti-pluralist Party? The ‘Alternative for Germany’ and the German Party System", which was drafted by the Münster team in a joint effort.

Populist parties and state elections

On February 7, Bernd Schlipphak and Oliver Treib published a WWU press release on the state election in Thuringia and the role of populist parties. The press release was published by several media outlets.

Workshop on European Elections 2019

On 30-31 January 2020, Constantin Schäfer participated in a workshop on the "European Elections 2019", which was organized by Wouter van der Brug, Katjana Gattermann and Claes de Vreese at the University of Amsterdam. During the workshop, he presented a new working paper on "EU-Only Abstention in the 2019 EP Elections".

WP9-workshop on "Institutional Reform and Public Legitimacy"

On 23-24 January 2020, the WWU RECONNECT WP9-team hosted a workshop on "Institutional Reform and Public Legitimacy". On Day 1, we discussed the first draft of our multifactorial survey on EU institutional reforms with a selected group of experts in the field. On Day 2, our guests presented their own reseach projects and papers. We appreciated the insightful feedback and thank all participants for the fruitful discussions!

The participants of our RECONNECT workshop on "Institutional Reform and Public Legitimacy"
© Constantin Schäfer

RECONNECT Roundtable

In January 2020, Oliver Treib took part in the meeting of RECONNECT's coordination team in Brussels and joined the RECONNECT Roundtable discussing the Conference on the Future of Europe. The Conference aims to bring together citizens from all over Europe, civil society and the European institutions in order to reflect on the future of the Union and give new impetus to the European project.

The RECONNECT Roundtable discussing the Conference on the Future of Europe in January 2020.
The RECONNECT Roundtable discussing the Conference on the Future of Europe in January 2020.
© Oliver Treib


Thank you, Soetkin! 

In January 2020, we had the pleasure of having Soetkin Verhaegen (UCLouvain, Stokholm University) as a guest researcher in our RECONNECT project. Soetkin also works on the legitimacy of domestic and international organizations, and it was great to have her commenting on our ideas.

Welcome, Constantin! 

In October 2019, Constantin Schäfer joined the RECONNECT project as a Postdoc researcher. Welcome, Constantin - it's great to have you in Münster!

Congratulations to our colleague Sabina Monza 

Sabina Monza who spent the last months of her dissertation phase as a visiting researcher at the RECONNECT project, successfully defended her thesis with the title "Media Portraits in Times of Crisis (2008-2014). Public Views of the European Union and the Austerity Policies in the National Leading Press" at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. Congratulations from the entire team!

European Parliament Elections

With a view to the European Parliament elections from 23 to 26 May, 2019, Oliver Treib and Prof. Dr. Andrea Szukala discuss current challenges, voter turnout and election forecasts. Find the entire interview in wissen | leben 2019/3, p.6. (available here).

RECONNECT Methods workshop

Oliver Treib represented the Münster team on the RECONNECT methods workshop in Trondheim (24-26 April 2019), organized by our partner Pieter de Wilde and his colleagues at Norwegian University of Science and Technology. 

Panel discussion in Trondheim

Oliver Treib took part in a public panel discussion at Literaturhuset, Trondheim on 24 April 2019. Chaired by the local organiser Pieter de Wilde, the panel discussed whether citizens in Europe were fed up with democracy.

Interview on Brexit

On March 22, Oliver Treib gave a Video interview on the role of knowledge and misinformation in the Brexit referendum as part of an online learning unit for school teachers and pupils. The interview was published on the website of Germany's Federal Agency for Civic Education.

Populists in the European Union

Interview with Oliver Treib in Südwest Press Ulm: Do populist Eurosceptic parties pose a threat or an opportunity to democracy? The interview was held against the background of the annual conference of Stiftung Erinnerung Ulm, where Oliver Treib gave a lecture on the same topic.

The paradox of EU interventions

Article on the Paradox of EU Interventions (available here) by Bernd Schlipphak and Oliver Treib in the widely read German magazin "Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte" 4/5, 2019.