On March 21, 2017, I took part in a conference celebrating the 60th anniversary of the European Union hosted by the Foundation for European Progressive Studies.
The event, entitled “Looking for a Different Europe: Reflections and Perspectives,” was attended by a number of major political officials responsible for their countries’ European affairs policy including former President of the European Parliament, Enrique Barón.
I spoke as part of panel entitled “More Inclusive, More Political, More Democratic: Europe Beyond Populism,” along with Barón.
The keynote at the event was delivered by Nicolas Schmit, Minister of Labour, Employment, Social Economy and Economic Solidarity in Luxembourg.
On March 8, I will take part in a conference-debate on the ”European Varieties of Capitalism in the Shadow of the Eurozone Crisis” at ULB. My presentation will be followed by a debate introduced by: Amandine CRESPY, Professor in the Department of Political Science, ULB, and Nicolas VERSCHUEREN, Professor attached to the Department of History, Arts and Archeology, ULB. The conference is organized by Faculty of Philosophy and Social Sciences of ULB with the participation of the Institute for European Studies.
On Wednesday, November 30, I took part in a panel discussion at Harvard’s Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies to discuss The Search for Europe: Contrasting Approaches, the eighth book in a series published annually by BBVA, aiming to analyze and generate discussion on the present and the future of Europe and its integration project. My presentation, based on my book chapter, was titled, “The Impact of European Integration on National Democracies: Democracy at Increasing Risk in the Eurozone Crisis.” Other presenters were Jeffrey Frieden, Arthur Goldhammer, and Peter Hall.
Since 2008, the terms crisis and Europe have become inseparable. As the crisis has deepened and persisted and its dimensions multiplied, the future of a united Europe and its core values have been called into question. Yet, there is wide divergence of views among experts and politicians on the causes, symptoms, implications and policies needed to resolve it. Is it necessary for Europe and the European Union to discard old models and principles in order to find a way out of crisis? Or should traditional European approaches simply be refined and applied more consistently in order to find solutions? The 2016 Summit, entitled Europe and the Forces of Disunion, will examine the adverse political, economic and social trends that have both fueled the crisis and/or resulted from it. The proceedings will assess the options open to Europe in confronting its multiple challenges and reflect on Europe’s future.
I sat on a panel entitled “From Enlargement to Brexit: The Future of the European Union” with George Alogoskoufis, Karamanlis Chair of Hellenic and European Studies at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy; R. Daniel Kelemen, Professor of Political Science and Jean Monnet Chair in European Union Politics at Rutgers University; and Sir Paul Tucker, Chair of the Systemic Risk Council, Senior Fellow in the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at the Kennedy School, and Former Deputy Governor at the Bank of England (2009-2013). The panel was chaired by Peter Hall, Krupp Foundation Professor of European Studies at Harvard University.
Although “Brexit” and the refugee crisis have grabbed the headlines, the Eurozone crisis also continues to be of major concern for the European Union. The EU’s comparatively poor economic performance and increasingly volatile politics have combined with its focus on “governing by the rules and ruling by the numbers” in the Eurozone to generate a crisis of democratic legitimacy. In this lecture I theorize this legitimacy crisis in terms of problems with “output” policies, “input” politics, and “throughput” processes. I argue that in response to such problems, EU institutional actors—ECB, Council, Commission, and EP—all incrementally reinterpreted the rules and recalibrated the numbers “by stealth,” that is, without admitting it in their public discourse.
I was in Bratislava, Slovakia from October 27-30 to participate in the Tatra Summit 2016. The theme of the conference was the current crises facing the European Union. I took part in a panel discussion entitled How to Rebuild the Trust of EU Citizens together with Goran Buldioski, Co-Director of the Open Society Initiative for Europe; John Erik Fossum, Professor of Political Science at the University of Oslo; and Daniel Milo, Senior Research Fellow at Blobsec Policy Institute in Bratislava. The session, which was moderated by Barbara Wesel, Senior Europe Correspondent for Deutsche Welle, addressed such questions as: Does the European Union have capacity to combat extremism? Shall this be its tasks or responsibility of the member states? How can national and European leaders regain trust of European citizens and thus to prevent rise of extremism and populism? Is this the fault of the EU, or of national politics? What reforms does the EU or the Member States have to take?
Last week, I participated in a conference at the Fletcher School at Tufts University on Greece and the Eurozone. The conference, entitled “Greece’s Turn? Litmus Test for Europe,” included keynotes, debates and panel discussions examining the fundamentals, strengths and vulnerabilities of Greece from the perspectives of politics, business, investment and the economy, society and international relations while exploring the implications for the future of the Eurozone. The full conference agenda can be viewed here.
On Friday, October 7, The Fundação Francisco Manuel dos Santos in Lisbon, Portugal, hosted a conference – What Democracy? – to explore the lexicon of democracy. The eight sessions addressed such concepts as “demos”, “political representation,” “majority rule,” public space,” “pluralism,” and “social justice.” Participants included such internationally renowned speakers as Chantal Mouffe, Daniel Innerarity, and Felisbela Lopes.
I participated in a panel entitled “European Democracy vs. National Democracy” with Wolfgang Streeck, German economic sociologist and Emeritus Director of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne. The panel addressed the question, “Are we heading to a disintegration of the European or not?” The conversation focussed on the legitimacy of the EU, its credibility, and the consequences and solutions for the future.
I was was in Brussels on June 16 to give a talk at a seminar hosted by the Open Society European Policy Institute and the Istituto degli Affari Internazionali based on my contribution to the IAI’s essay collection Govering Europe: How to Make the EU more Efficient and Democratic.
In the piece, entitled “The New EU Governance: New Intergovernmentalism, New Supranationalism, and New Parliamentarism,” I explain how governance in the EU has changed in recent years, what its problems are, and how it could be governed in the future.
I argue that only by by considering the actions and interactions of all three main actors together can we fully understand the “new” EU governance and its problems. I use, by way of illustration, EU’s crises of money, borders and security, suggesting that it is best to think about the future of EU governance not in terms of any hard core but rather as a “soft core” of member-states clustered in overlapping policy communities. Finally I propose ways of reinforcing EU-level capacity for policy coordination with national-level decentralisation to address problems of democracy and legitimacy.
I was in Mannheim on June 6 to give a talk entitled: “Europe’s Crisis of Legitimacy: Governing by Rules and Ruling by Numbers in the Eurozone” at the Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES), in their political science seminar series. I argue that the Eurozone’s economic crisis has generated a crisis of democratic legitimacy, as deteriorating economics and increasingly volatile politics have combined with restrictive governance processes focused on ‘governing by the rules and ruling by the numbers’. I analyze this legitimacy crisis in terms of problems with the ‘output’ policies, ‘input’ politics, and ‘throughput’ processes, arguing that in response to such problems, EU institutional actors—ECB, Council, Commission, and EP—all sought to reinterpret the rules and recalibrate the numbers ‘by stealth,’ that is without admitting it in their public discourse. My talk addressed not only issues of democratic theory but also neo-institutionalist theory, by analyzing on-going processes of ideational innovation and discursive legitimation during the Eurozone crisis using discursive institutionalism.