EXPRESS2 offers an innovative response to the EU and global calls for a new, democratic, inclusive, and sustainable social contract to address inequality and other disruptive elements, mitigating political instability and uncertainty for millions in the EU. 

This project, funded by the Horizon Europe programme, is driven by four primary objectives: 

  1. It seeks to transcend the abstract nature of the social contract by proposing a tangible draft for a new EU social contract, aiming to establish a direct relationship between individuals and the EU.  
  2. It endeavours to construct narratives highlighting the benefits of the EU social contract and to foster participation and deliberation among EU inhabitants. 
  3. Aims to identify and address disruptive elements that threaten the stability of the social contract. 
  4. Aspires to provide recommendations to enhance the resilience of the social contract and facilitate its further development. 

The need for an explicit, democratically engaged, and inclusive social contract in the EU is evident. Such a contract should mirror the values and aspirations of EU inhabitants, guiding policies, and regulations towards promoting equality, social justice, and sustainable development.  

To achieve its objectives, EXPRESS2 has delineated specific strategies under each key level: 

  1. Academically, it aims to analyse narratives, policies, and barriers related to the social contract and to examine disruptive elements at both EU and national levels.  
  2. Policy-wise, the project intends to deliver a concrete proposal for the EU social contract draft, restructure policy approaches to address disruptions coherently, and provide recommendations to EU institutions. 
  3. Societal level, EXPRESS2 seeks to promote EU social integration through democratic participation, address disruptive elements threatening the social contract, and disseminate its content and benefits through innovative campaigns and social networks. 

In essence, EXPRESS2 represents a concerted effort to redefine the EU social contract, making it more explicit, participatory, and resilient. By engaging in multidisciplinary analysis, policy restructuring, and societal engagement, the project aims to foster a stronger sense of belonging, legitimacy, and sustainability within the EU framework, ultimately promoting greater cohesion and prosperity among its inhabitants. 

The EMI is leading Work Package 3 on Citizens’ engagement and deliberation  

WP3 aims: to create spaces for deliberative democracy, rational consensus, and decision-making for stakeholders and individuals to frame the EU social contract; to systematise results and individual comments to deliver recommendations to the institutions of the EU; and  to encompass: i) awareness and narrative-change campaigns reaching and engaging millions of inhabitants on the draft social contract; ii) meaningful engagement of CSOs and citizens in collaborative deliberation and feedback on the EU social contract draft; iii) comprehensive advocacy engagement with the EU institutions, and iv) collecting, analysing and communicating the comments, suggestions, adhesions and oppositions to the draft. 

Moreover, the EMI will organise the final conference in Brussels.  


The project gathers 11 partner institutions from 9 countries: Spain, Denmark, Italy, Hungary, Belgium, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Turkey, and Norway. Our collaboration integrates diverse academic disciplines, including philosophy, law, anthropology, and political science. We emphasize gender equality and embrace various perspectives, including geographical, legal, and genealogical diversity, to ensure inclusivity within our Consortium. Our project encourages international collaboration by engaging non-EU countries, promoting a worldwide perspective on social contract development. 


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe programme under the grant agreement No 101132426.

Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Research Executive Agency. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

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Maja Bobic
Head of Projects and Fundraising

Maria José Zepeda
Project Support Specialist

Sebastian Rodriguez
Campaign Strategist & Digital Outreach Lead





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