On 10 December 2018, TEPSA and its Slovak member the Institute of European Studies and International Relations (IESIR) of Comenius University Bratislava organised a public discussion focused on awareness of EU development, mainly connected with the upcoming 2019 EP elections. The event was organised at the premises of the Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences, Comenius University, in Bratislava. The event brought together students of the faculty, mainly from the Institute of European Studies and International Relations, but also interested public.
The discussion was organised as the panel presentation of three experts – Marek Lenč, from Matej Bel University in Banská Bystrica, Oľga Gyarfášová from IESIR FSES and Karen Henderson, from IESIR FSES and retired from University of Leicester.
Marek Lenč highlighted the interconnection between politics and business. He shortly presented what is happening right now in Europe: new dividing lines not directly following national borders (approach to cohesion policy, migration issue, etc.), an ongoing debate in Central Europe on shared values – a shift in the debate between old and new states.
Karen Henderson discussed the reasons for non-participation in the European elections (second order elections, party loyalty principle, national discourse claiming that EU institutions are too far away).
Oľga Gyarfášová argued that the European elections are not genuinely European, as usually the national agenda and interests play a key role the electoral campaign. The EU agenda was successfully used, she argued, as a tool for mass mobilization by those parties which managed to instrumentalize the EU as a guarantee of improved economic conditions or as a scapegoat for the misery.