In a globalized world, democracy and its legitimacy are of crucial importance not only within states, but also in Europe and in International Organizations. Nevertheless, the trust of citizens in our democracy, with its institutions and its procedures, is low. What are the causes of democratic legitimacy deficits? What levers can be identified to generate democratic legitimacy? What expectations do citizens have? We look for answers to these and related questions.
For this purpose, we conduct an in-depth analysis of "democracy in Germany”: What is the state of our democracy in Germany? Where exactly do citizens consider as its strengths and weaknesses? And what do experts have to say about it? In a regular monitoring of democracy in Germany, we survey citizens and link the results with the assessments of scientists. Using this approach, we identify urgent needs for reform and adaptation of our democracy and develop possible solutions.
The room for maneuver of states is becoming smaller and smaller. At the same time, the importance of the EU and International Organizations in solving central problems is steadily increasing. For International Organizations to be able to act in the long term and to solve urgent problems, they must be recognized as legitimate. We would like to better understand how and through which processes they legitimize themselves and where the levers for improvement are. How transparent are the processes and how allocable, binding and enforceable are the decisions? What determines how legitimate citizens consider different International Organizations to be? What adjustments can be made to increase democratic legitimacy? We would like to find answers to these and related questions with the help of expert interviews and the analysis of public opinion.
However, citizens often lack knowledge, approval and recognition of political procedures. Yet democracy relies precisely on this trust of citizens. We would like to contribute to the stabilization and regeneration of democratic legitimacy in Germany and to a better understanding of International Organizations as a source of democratic legitimacy. For this purpose, we discuss with citizens as well as with experts. Only if democracy and all its fundamental institutions and procedures are considered as legitimate our democracy will be able to act and solve problems in the future.