The summer of 2019 was a busy one! I was a speaker on the panel “Populism in Europe: Fears and Hopes, Causes and Results” for the conference on “Populist Narratives” at the University of Wroclaw in Wroclaw, Poland May 23, 2019. The day before my conference presentation, I held discussions with students and activists at the University of Wroclaw on “How to understand contemporary Poland—Roots of Changes and Its Implications,” as well as on “Populism in Poland—A Trend, Episode, or Hoax?”
I gave a talk entitled “Europe’s (Euro) Crisis of Legitimacy” at IBEI, the Barcelona Institute of International Studies, in Barcelona, June 3, 2019. I argued that the EU’s (euro) crisis of legitimacy centers on problems related to (a lack of) policy effectiveness, political responsiveness, and procedural quality. It is my contention that in pursuit of legitimacy as much as in response to deteriorating economics and increasing political volatility, EU institutional actors—ECB, Council, Commission, and EP—incrementally reinterpreted the rules and recalibrated the numbers ‘by stealth,’ that is, without admitting it in their public discourse. To theorize about such processes of ideational innovation and discursive legitimation during the Eurozone crisis, I employ the neo-institutionalist framework of discursive institutionalism.
Shortly thereafter, on June 27, 2019, I gave the Keynote Speech on “Crisis and the Future of Democracy” at the conference “Crisis Management and Democracy in EU and Latin America: Lessons Learned.” It was the final event of the Jean Monnet Networks program held by ELIAMEP, the Athens think-tanks, in Athens. I argued that the EU’s debt crisis was not only a political and economic crisis but a crisis of legitimacy and the democracy. This raises a two-fold question for the future of democracy in Europe: 1) How will the Eurozone be governed in ways that will lead to the resolution of the economic problems? and 2) How will that be feasible in a manner that will enhance democratic legitimacy at both the European and national levels?”