How democratic is the EU? New video puts spotlight on referendum debate

  • Animation highlights issues in the current EU debate
  • Examines European identity and dissatisfaction with some EU institutions
  • Designed to underpin major public conversation ahead of polling day on 23 June 2016

A new animation has been created by the University of Sheffield and ShoutOut UK to examine the democratic challenges ahead of the EU referendum.


Released six weeks before polling day on 23 June 2016, the three-and-a-half minute video asks the question: ‘How democratic is the EU?’

It introduces how the EU is run, how these arrangements have come about and how we feel about Europe – providing a summary of recent academic debate concerning the organisation and structures of the EU, in the context of the Eurozone recession and refugee crisis

The video explains how research shows the EU is becoming more democratic and representation is increasing, but participation in EU elections is declining and people do not feel ‘European’.

It has been produced by Dr Matthew Wood from the University’s Sir Bernard Crick Centre for the Public Understanding of Politics, which was designated as an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Knowledge Exchange Hub to take the latest academic research and transmit it to a wider audience.

Crick Centre Director, Professor Matthew Flinders, said: “The Crick Centre is committed to engaged citizenship and believe it is vital that academic research reaches as wide an audience as possible.

“These films are designed to introduce the public to key political issues, ensuring that anyone - no matter their level of political knowledge - can understand what is happening in contemporary politics."

He added: "Next month the public will have a say on our relationship with Europe, for the first time in a generation. This short film will help to inform and spark debate on these issues before we head to the polls.”

This is the third and final video in a series produced by the Crick Centre and ShoutOut UK, and funded by the ESRC. The first video, Why do we hate politics? looked at political disengagement, and the second Democratic disengagement and the dis-United Kingdom? explored devolution.

Additional information

The University of Sheffield

With almost 27,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines. Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2016 and was voted number one university in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education in 2014. In the last decade it has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.

Sheffield has five Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields. Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.


For further information please contact:

Hannah Postles
Media Relations Officer
University of Sheffield
0114 222 1046