Challenges to Consensual Democracy (Daniele Caramani and Yves Mény)

Differentialist identities, multi-level consociational accommodation, and corporatist intermediation are typical features of "consensual politics," and European integration adds further to this complexity. This is challenged by anti-elitist, sentiments, local identities, and Euro-sceptic attitudes. The project examines the defensive reaction of populist parties to the threats of open borders (multi-culturalism and cheap labour) and elite negotiations (at all levels of governance). Protest attitudes favour proposals for an anti-assimilationist and labour protective "Fortress" and a religiously-based "Europe of the People." Hypotheses concern a potential cleavage in the European party system through alliances of "losers of integration" cutting across left–right and overlapping with ethnic, centre–periphery, religious, and rural–urban factors. The empirical analysis focuses on Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, and Switzerland. In collaboration with Yves Mény, European University Institute.


  • Two conferences organised at the European University Institute in 2003 and 2004.
  • ECPR Workshop (Edinburgh 2003) on “Cultural Diversity and European Integration”.


  • Caramani, D. and Wagemann, C. (2005). A Transnational Political Culture? The Alpine Region and its Relationship to European Integration. German Politics 14(1): 74–94.
  • Caramani, D. and Mény, Y., eds. (2005). Challenges to Consensual Politics: Democracy, Identity, and Populist Protest in the Alpine Region. Brussels: P.I.E.-Peter Lang (Federalism & Regionalism, no. 6).
  • Caramani, D. (2009). Alpine Europe. In: Dyson, K. and A. Sepos (eds.), Whose Europe? The Politics of Differentiated Integration. London: Palgrave.