How Democracy Survives: The Crises of the Nation State


On Wednesday, November 28, I was thrilled to participate in the Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer Range Future symposium on How Democracy Survives: The Crises of the Nation State. I gave a talk entitled entitled “The Populist Challenge to Liberal Democracy in Europe and North America” as part of the panel, Democracy and Nationality.

On Friday, Nov. 30, I moderated a panel for the same conference entitled, The Future of Democratic Federalism.

The three-day virtual symposium featured leading scholars and activists from around the world, exploring how democratic values and institutions can evolve and adapt to the growing challenges that are now destabilizing democratic nation states, such as climate change, resurgent nationalism, ethnic and religious conflict, human rights abuses, and deepening levels of economic inequality. Video recordings will be available on the Pardee Center website in coming weeks.

Book Presentation at Birmingham University

On Wednesday, November 28, I gave a book presentation on Europe’s Crisis of Legitimacy: Governing by Rules and Ruling by Numbers to staff and students in the University of Birmingham’s Department of Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS). The presentation took place as part of the department’s student enhancement activities and in conjunction with the REPRESENT network of scholars in Birmingham and Nottingham.

Dr. Sotirios Zartaloudis served as discussant.  Dr. Tim Haughton who organized the event commented:

‘It was a great pleasure and privilege for staff and students in Birmingham to hear directly from such an eminent scholar of the EU about her new landmark publication that explores not just questions of legitimacy linked to the Eurozone crisis, but also offers prescriptions for how the EU can be governed better and meet current and future challenges’.

Legitimacy Lost, but then Regained?

On Tuesday, November 27, I gave the European Studies Centre Annual Lecture 2020 at Oxford University, with upwards of 70 people attending via zoom.

My talk was entitled, “Legitimacy Lost, but then Regained?  EU Governance during the Eurozone Crisis, the Migration Crisis, and the Covid-19 Pandemic.”

The abstract of the talk is as follows:

Unlike in ‘Paradise Lost’, the EU committed no original sin of commission, but it did commit a number of sins of omission over the past decade that cast doubt on its legitimacy.  When the Eurozone crisis hit, instead of common solutions promoting prosperity for all, the European Union ended up ‘governing by rules and ruling by numbers’ in the Eurozone, resulting in excessive economic hardship in some countries and rising populist Euroscepticism everywhere. When the migration crisis hit, instead of fully addressing the humanitarian concerns, the EU stuck to the Schengen area rules that didn’t work, as some member-states barricaded their borders, and populism flourished. In both crises, the legitimacy of the EU’s governing activities—procedural, performative, and political—were in question, as the poor quality of EU governance undermined policy performance while generating increasingly toxic politics.   In the Covid-19 crisis, these policies were reversed, as the EU sought common solutions while suspending the rules for economic and migration policy.  So does this mean that the response to Covid-19 represents ‘Paradise Regained’?  Professor Schmidt will provide preliminary answers to this question as she discusses the nature, scope, and dilemmas of legitimacy for the EU in the midst its many crises.


Reset DOC Dialogues on Civilizations

Reset DOC Dialogues on CivilizationsOn Monday, November 26, I spoke on Italian television on a program sponsored by the Corriere della Sera in Milan entitled “Road to Recovery: Ever Closer Union o Convivenza forzata?”  The event began with a talk by Paolo Gentiloni, the EU Commissioner for the Economy, followed by a panel discussion where I was joined by Sergio Fabbrini, Professor of Political Science and International Relations at LUISS Guido Carli, and André Sapir, Professor of Economics at the Free University of Brussels.

Watch the video on Facebook: 


Book Talk at the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies

On October 14, I joined the GLOBE Webinar Series at the Leuven Center for Global Governance Studies to discuss my new book, Europe’s Crisis of Legitimacy: Governing by Rules and Ruling by Numbers in the Eurozone. Prof. Carlos Closa Montero (EUI, CSIC) offered some reflections for discussion before opening to questions from the audience. The discussion, which was attended by over 100 people, was moderated by Kari Otteburn (KU Leuven).

Book Talk at Harvard’s Center for European Studies

Screen Shot 2020-10-08 at 11.23.59 AMOn Tuesday, October 6, I presented my book, Europe’s Crisis of Legitimacy: Governing by Rules and Ruling by Numbers, for a virtual seminar at the Center for European Studies at Harvard University. The event took place as part of Worldwide Week at Harvard. Jane Mansbridge, Adams Professor of Political Leadership and Democratic Values at the Harvard Kennedy School, was the Discussant, and Karl Kaiser, Fellow at the Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship at the Kennedy’s School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, was the moderator. We had a lively discussion, with over 65 people in attendance on the zoom platform.

Event announcement:

World In Flux: The Future of Global Economics

On Saturday, October 3, I took part  in a panel discussion on the future of the global economy. The discussion was part of a series of Alumni Weekend presentations entitled “World in Flux.” Some of the questions we discussed were the future of international development, whether COVID-19 will be the tipping point in a restructuring of the global economic system, and whether pandemic recovery efforts will put the world on a path toward a greener economy.

The other speakers were Kevin Gallagher, Pardee School Professor of Global Development Policy & Director, Global Development Policy Center and Perry Mehrling, Pardee School Professor of International Political Economy. The session was moderated by Adil Najam, Dean of the Pardee School.

Book Launch event at BU’s Center for the Study of Europe

On Thursday, September 17, I took part in a webinar organized by BU’s Center for the Study of Europe to promote my new book, Europe’s Crisis of Legitimacy: Governing by Rules and Ruling by Numbers in the Eurozone. My presentation was followed by remarks by Mark Blyth, William R. Rhodes ’57 Professor of International Economics and Professor of Political Science and International and Public Affairs at Brown University; Vlad Perju, Director of the Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy at Boston College and Professor of Law at Boston College Law School; and Philomila Tsoukala, Professor of Law at Georgetown Law. The event was moderated by Daniela Caruso, Professor of Law and current Director of the Center.


Book Presentation for the EU Commission’s Directorate General for Economics and Finance (DG ECFIN).


On Tuesday, September 15, I presented Europe’s Crisis of Legitimacy: Governing by Rules and Ruling by Numbers in the Eurozone for the European Union (EU) Commission’s Directorate General for Economics and Finance (DG ECFIN).

The session was introduced by Marco Buti, Director-General for Economic and Financial Affairs at the European Commission and was moderated by Leila Fernandez-Stembridge, DG ECFIN Deputy Head of Unit of Inter-Institutional Relations and Communication.

The book examines the interrelationship between democratic legitimacy at the European level and the ongoing Eurozone crisis that began in 2010. In my remarks, I also discussed the current pandemic and showed how EU has indeed learned its lessons from the past decade