Respect for democracy and the rule of law have come under threat in recent years in various member states of the European Union. The reason is twofold. On the one hand the European Union is facing a new global reality that is increasingly far removed from its basic values. On the other hand we are witnessing a rebirth in some member states of the push for more national sovereignty and of a feeling of identity. Both factors result in a Union that is resonating less and less with its citizens. Residents of the EU are increasingly losing confidence in European institutions and are becoming more sensitive to the populist storm that has been raging through Europe in recent years. The combination of distrust among citizens and the erosion of its fundamental values in a number of member states creates a huge challenge for the European Union in relation to its authority and legitimacy.

The Horizon2020 research project RECONNECT (‘Reconciling Europe with its Citizens through Democracy and the Rule of Law’) is a four-year interdisciplinary project focusing on this issue. This Position Paper offers an overview of the key findings from the research conducted by RECONNECT and outlines the concrete recommendations presented by RECONNECT in order to improve the future narrative of the Union and to safeguard the values of democracy and the rule of law.