Summit on the Future of Europe—Back to Square One

DrRfP2aXcAEEhkxOn Monday, November 5, I participated in the Summit on the Future of Europe—Back to Square One at Harvard University’s Center for European Studies, presenting on the panel: “The Challenges of European Integration or Disintegration.” Other speakers included John Dalhuisen, Senior Fellow at the European Stability Initiative (ESI) and Kyriakos Pierrakakis, Director of Research at diaNEOsis Research and Policy Institute. The panel was chaired by José María Beneyto, Professor of International Public Law and International Relations and Director of the Institute for European Studies.

The Summit on the Future of Europe is an initiative of the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies (CES) at Harvard University. Since 2014, this annual conference convenes scholars and public leaders to debate critical challenges facing Europe. The fifth annual Summit is a partnership of CES, the Harvard Kennedy School’s Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship, diaNEOsis Research and Policy Institute, European Stability Initiative (ESI) and Central European University (CEU).

Here is a video of the panel:

Talks on Europe’s Crisis of Legitimacy and the Rhetoric of Discontent in Vancouver, British Columbia

I was in Vancouver recently to deliver two talks. On October 18, I gave a presentation on “The Rhetoric of Discontent: On the Transatlantic Rise of Populism” at Simon Fraser University’s political science department. On October 19, I gave a presentation on “Europe’s Crisis of Legitimacy: Governing by Rules and Ruling by Numbers” as part of the Institute for European Studies “European Transitions Series” at the University of British Columbia.

Europe’s (Euro) Crisis of Legitimacy

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On October 11, I gave a talk on “Europe’s Crisis of Legitimacy: Governing by Rules and Ruling by Numbers in the Eurozone” at McGill University’s Jean Monnet Center. The lecture was recorded and is available on YouTube (see below).

Here is an abstract of the talk:

The policies and processes adopted by the EU in the face of the euro crisis have in fact exacerbated long-standing problems of EU legitimacy and solidarity. Democratic legitimacy has suffered because Eurozone policies have failed to produce good outcomes and because EU citizens have even less say than ever over those policies. Indeed, the excessively intergovernmental processes of Eurozone crisis governance—in which the European Central Bank acts, the member-state leaders in the European Council decide, the European Parliament is side-lined, and the European Commission serves as a secretariat—have unbalanced the EU’s long-standing “democratic” settlement in which all three latter institutions pulled their weight. By “governing by the rules” and “ruling by the numbers,” EU institutional actors seem to have forgotten that democratic legitimacy demands not just rules to follow but policies that both work and appeal to the citizens.

Germany’s Role in the European Union and the Transatlantic Relationship: 1998-2018

On Oct 7, 2018 I participated on the panel “Germany’s Role in the European Union and the Transatlantic Relationship:1998-2018” for the Twentieth Anniversary Celebration of the Center for German and European Studies at Brandeis University: Reflecting on the Past, Envisioning the Future: The Center for German & European Studies at Brandeis turns 20. The panel explored how Germany’s role in Europe shifted between 1998 and 2018, what it means, what effects Brexit and right-wing populism are having, how the EU is dealing with these challenges, and what will likely happen in the coming years. A link to the program can be found here.

Keynote in Finland

finlandI was at the University of Tampere, Finland, August 27-29 to deliver a keynote presentation entitled “Theorizing the Power of Ideas and Discourse in Governance beyond the Nation-State” for the Sixth Conference on “Power & Governance: Forms, Dynamics, Consequences” at the Institute for Advanced Social Research (IASR). 

The agenda of the conference was to probe whether something general can be said about the forms, dynamics and consequences of power and to study what the alternative ways to approach the issue are and what kind of irreconcilable contradictions there are. Plenary sessions were held on the following topics: power relations, global governance, power and knowledge, and critique of power.

Populism, Nationalism, and Democracy

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I am participating this week in the 25th International Conference of Europeanists (March 28-30) at the InterContintal Chicago. The theme of this year’s gathering, organized by the Council for European Studies, is Europe and the World: Mobilities, Values, and Citizenship.

I was honored to be the discussant for Craig Calhoun’s opening keynote speech “Populism, Nationalism, and the Fate of Democracy.” Calhoun is President of the Los Angeles-based Berggruen Institute, which works globally to advance knowledge of great transformations shaping the human future.

Is Differentiated Integration Unavoidable in Europe’s Future?

2018-IdeasLab-Page-HeaderOn February 22, I took part in a panel discussion entitled “Is Differentiated Integration Unavoidable for Europe?” at the CEPS IDEAS LAB 2018 “Europe — Back on Track”, an annual event of the Center for European Policy Studies (CEPS) in Brussels gathering Europe’s top decision makers and thinkers to discuss all the major issues confronting the EU. The EU might now move forward on a number of fronts as indicated in major speeches by President Macron and other European leaders: securing the external border, reforming the governance of the euro and creating a common capacity in the field of defense and external security.

Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker opened the debate, to which several of his colleagues contributed together with a number of prominent MEPs and national policy makers. The Foreign Minister of Belgium, Didier Reynders, gave the closing remarks, together with Lilyana Pavlova, the Bulgarian Minister for EU Presidency. Ivan Krastev delivered the final academic lecture.

My panel discussed differentiated integration as one method of striking a balance between unity and asymmetry that also has the merit of preventing political gridlock. At a time when Europe is being buffeted by various countervailing forces, should we expect more inclusivity or differentiated integration in the EU27? How can we accommodate more flexible ways of integration without creating a hard dichotomy and isolating certain member states? Do the EU institutions need to adapt their composition and procedures to accommodate various differentiated integration modes? How can political, legal and administrative unity be assured overall? I was joined by Frank Schimmelfennig, Professor of European Politics, ETH Zürich, and CEPS Researcher Sophia Russack, who moderated. 

Is There a Deficit of Throughput Legitimacy in the EU?

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On February 15, I presented a paper entitled, “Is There a Deficit of Throughput Legitimacy in the EU?” at a conference on “The Future of Constitutional Democracy in Europe – A Legal Assessment” at the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium. The conference was organized by the European Legal Studies Department and brought together world-leading academics and practitioners to reflect critically yet constructively on the current state of constitutional democracy in the European Union, and its future.

[Download conference program]

Latest Talks and Presentations

Here is a roundup of my latest talks:

On November 1, 2017, I gave a talk at the Center for German and European Studies entitled “What leadership for Germany in the EU, faced with rising populism and euro-fatigue?”

The talk centered around the following questions: What leadership will Germany bring to the EU in coming years, given a weakened Chancellor, a potentially fractious government coalition, and a rising populist opposition in the Bundestag for the first time?  How will Merkel respond to the new French leader’s ideas about deepening integration, in particular on the Eurozone?  How will she deal with the on-going refugee crisis, and the growing divisions between East and Western Europe? How Merkel deals with these challenges may very well determine the future of Europe in the near term.

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On October 12-13, 2017, I presented a paper entitled “Politicization in the EU: Between National Politics and EU Political Dynamics” for the University of Amsterdam Workshop “Transformation or Collapse? Politicization and Integration in Postfunctionalist Times.” This international conference, convened by Jonathan Zeitlin and Francesco Nicoli, dealt with two urgent dilemmas facing the European Union today: integration versus disintegration and positive politicization versus negative politicization. [Download Program]

On October 11, 2017, I delivered the annual  lecture for the International Business Program of the Copenhagen Business School on “Europe’s (Euro) Crisis of Legitimacy.”

Lastly, on October 5-7, 2017, I participated in the WZB Workshop Polarization, institutional design and the future of representative democracy in Berlin, where I presented a paper entitled “The Political Dynamics of EU Intra-Institutional Relations in Response to Crisis:  Toward More or Less EU Legitimacy?”

GeNES Konsultations: German Elections – A US Perspective

Last night I took part in a panel discussion on the upcoming German elections from a US perspective. Organized as part of the German Consulate’s “Konsultations” series, the conversation centered around the parties, the campaign, and what role German leadership should play in the future. Consul General Ralf Horlemann moderated the panel discussion with myself and Stephen Walt, Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

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