Matteo Garavoglia

Associate Senior Researcher

  • Geographical lines of research: Europe.

Professional experience

Dr. Matteo Garavoglia is Research Associate at the Department of Politics and International Relations of the University of Oxford, Senior Research Associate at the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs (CIDOB), Adjunct Professor at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin and Senior Fellow and Director at the European Movement International in Brussels. He leads the European Public Sphere Project: a research effort engaging top-level movers and shakers from business, media and politics to develop targeted policy-oriented proposals aimed at Europeanizing national public spheres. Previously, he was the Italy Program Fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Centre on the United States and Europe in Washington D.C. He also served as Adjunct Professor at Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, as Visiting Professor at Bocconi University in Milan, as Research Fellow at the Centre d’Etudes Européennes de Sciences Po in Paris and as Research Assistant at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Dr. Garavoglia has been teaching or speaking at, amongst others, Harvard University, Princeton University, Columbia University and Georgetown University. His work has been published or quoted by, amongst others, the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, National Interest, the Atlantic, Voice of America, ABC News, NBC News, National Public Radio, China Global Television Network, Bloomberg, Fortune, the Washington Post, Al Jazeera, Politico, Deutsche Welle, CNN, Foreign Policy and Foreign Affairs. He was educated at the University of London (BA), at the Centre d’études européennes de Sciences Po Paris (MA), and at the Freie Universität Berlin (PhD). Dr. Garavoglia lived in twelve different countries across four continents and speaks Italian, English, Spanish, French and some German.

Euractiv - Nov 4, 2021

How to prevent Europe from stalling

Matteo Garavoglia, Associate Senior Researcher at CIDOB, analyses how national elections – in Germany and France – may deprive Europe of political leadership for most of 2022 in this article for Euractiv: “German citizens have voted. As the negotiations to form a coalition are likely to last until Christmas, Europe’s most prominent country will not be able to provide real leadership for Europe for at least three months. By January, France will also be in the midst of an election campaign for presidential elections (scheduled for April) and then for parliamentary elections (scheduled for June). Therefore, Europe’s second most important political and economic power will not be able to exercise serious political leadership for the first six months of 2022. And then come July and August: holiday season in Europe. By September next year, we will thus have experienced a period of more than 12 months in which the two most important countries in Europe will not have been able to express serious political leadership because of their different electoral calendars. This is nothing new. In 2017, France voted for a new president in April and then for a new parliament in June. Soon after, Germans went to the polls in September and took six months to conclude coalition negotiations and form a government in March 2018. Already at the time, for a whole year, the two leading countries in Europe were unable to launch serious policy initiatives and reform proposals because they were busy running their own election campaigns and then forming their governments. Given the extraordinary challenges that European countries face (from climate change to pandemics to immigration, to name but a few), it seems absurd that national political systems repeatedly produce such paralysis. The lack of coordination in electoral cycles makes it extremely difficult to promote the reforms we so desperately need to tackle the huge problems our societies face. To solve this problem, the solution seems, in theory, simple. It would be enough to synchronise the elections of the national parliaments with the elections of the European Parliament, and thus the elections of the different national parliaments with each other. This would have an extraordinary impact on the quality of European democracy and the legislative processes connected to it. We could really vote at the same time as Europeans, even at national level as far as internal competences are concerned. Then we could seriously start working together as Europeans. In practice, the solution seems much more complex. However, to initiate this kind of reform, not all European countries need to agree. Each country could approve the reform as and when national conditions permit. Unanimity of the 27 EU member states would not be necessary. It would be enough for two or three large states to commit themselves to promote a domino effect through which other countries could follow suit. Belgium, to begin with, has already done it. The pioneering countries that commit themselves first to this initiative would have the opportunity to dictate the legislative agenda throughout both the European and their own electoral cycles. This reform would also strengthen national parliaments by enabling them to coordinate their efforts to promote EU-wide legislation. Finally, it would help to stabilise the situation in countries characterised by chronic political instability by significantly reducing the incentives to terminate legislatures before their natural expiry dates. Studies on the legal and constitutional feasibility of this intervention in various European countries have already been carried out, and such a proposal could already be shared with the main European governments. What is needed is will. Our political, business and intellectual leaderships must have the historical foresight and political courage to promote such an initiative. The Conference on the Future of Europe could be the right place for this conversation to take place.”