Universiteit Leiden

nl en


Presidents - a genuine threat to European governance?

  • Tapio Raunio (University of Tampere)
Thursday 9 February 2017
Wijnhaven - room 316

About the lecture

In this lunch lecture prof. Tapio Raunio addresses the role of EU presidents in foreign and security policy debates and argues that their influence is often very much underestimated. While Putin and Trump may get most of the attention, the majority of EU member states have directly elected presidents. Their role in politics and in particular in foreign and security policy has so far been largely neglected by scholars. Through providing examples from both newer Central and Eastern European democracies and from more consolidated regimes such as France and Finland, this lecture argues that presidents wield more influence than is commonly assumed. Unlike prime ministers, presidents are directly elected by the people but in most European countries the constitutional balance of power between the two executives favours the government. Frustrated with their limited powers, presidents lean on their popularity to claim a more active role in politics, including in policy areas falling under the jurisdiction of the cabinet. Such behaviour can be particularly damaging in foreign and security policy, issue areas where a country is expected to act with one voice.

About the speaker

Tapio Raunio is Professor of Political Science at the University of Tampere and a visiting professor at Dalarna University. His research interests include legislatures and political parties, the Europeanization of domestic politics, semi-presidentialism and the Finnish political system. His recent publications include ‘Challenging Executive Dominance: Legislatures and Foreign Affairs’, a special issue of West European Politics (2017) co-edited with Wolfgang Wagner.

Register now.


About the seminars:

Diplomacy and Global Affairs (DGA) Research Seminar Series

Diplomacy and Global Affairs (DGA) Research Seminar Series is a series launched by the Research Group on Diplomacy and Global Affairs at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs. The seminars of internationally acknowledged guest researchers and faculty members deal with current research topics in diplomacy, international relations, global affairs, and political economy broadly conceived and target a broad audience through their interdisciplinary focus.

For more information, please contact:

Prof. dr. M.O. Hosli (coordinator)

Dr. J.J. Kantorowicz

This website uses cookies.  More information.