The Radicality of Sunlight: Five Pathways to a More Democratic Europe

Radicality of Sunlight Cover

By: Kalypso Nicolaïdis, Nicolai von Ondarza, Sophia Russack

The EU is going through a critical moment in its history, expected to deliver on many fronts at once, from long-term transitions to crisis after crisis that has threatened to seriously upset its stability. It would be wrong, however, to assume that the EU can afford to ignore its deepest perennial challenge, namely its own democratic credentials.

To offer ideas for the debates that will necessarily unfold, especially as we move towards the 2024 European Parliament elections, SWP and CEPS set up a High-Level Group on bolstering EU democracy, composed of 23 politicians, officials, diplomats, and scholars from across Europe and from a wide range of Member States, institutions, and political parties. The CEPS Young Thinkers Initiative also inputted to ensure the inclusion of youth voices.

Its key theme revolves around the concept of the ‘Radicality of Sunlight’ – a simple but powerful image that allowed the group’s members to coalesce around a series of recommendations, organised into five pathways that could significantly bolster the EU’s democracy and democratic accountability:

  1. Ensuring the highest standards of transparency and integrity,
  2. The democratization of the EU’s crisis governance mechanisms,
  3. Make the most of European Parliament elections,
  4. Bolster national parliaments’ link with ‘Europe’,
  5. Empower EU citizens through participatory democracy.

Download the report here:


The report was suppored by Heinrich Böll Stiftung European Union and FNF Europe.