Vivien Schmidt in Hungarian Press

Vivien Schmidt was interviewed recently by Hungarian news outlet HVG (World Economy Weekly) on Europe’s refugee fears and populist responses to threat of terrorism on both sides of the Atlantic. The interview was published in two parts on January 4 and on January 6.

The interview appears to have been widely read in Hungary, as the number of comments on both publications suggest. Zsolt Bayer, a co-founder of Fidesz and a friend of Viktor Orbán referenced the interview in one of his recent pieces arguing that it is an emblematic example of a conspiracy between the so called Western professors and the so called journalists which exemplifies the European left’s flawed way of thinking and the international leftist propaganda that tries to convince people that multiculturalism is something good.

Refugees on the Austrian- Slovenian border on November 1. Fotó: Túry Gergely
Refugees on the Austrian- Slovenian border on November 1. Fotó: Túry Gergely

Greece’s Misery: “A Fraternity in Which Everyone Gets Hazed”

Police guard a Greek bank earlier this year during protests by striking Greek workers against continued government austerity. Photo by Flickr contributor Underclass Rising

This week’s deal extending a third bailout to debt-racked Greece in exchange for further austerity measures averted the country’s having to abandon the euro, and the possibly devastating consequences that would have brought. But Vivien Schmidt says it’s a Pyrrhic victory.

Schmidt, Jean Monnet Professor of European Integration and a professor at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, agrees with critics who say that far from solving the debt crisis, more austerity will merely prolong Greece’s 1930s-type depression. That depression prevents economic growth and the resources it would bring to pay debts, she says—a problem evident on her last visit two years ago, when “you could see lots of stores closed in Athens.”

Yet several members of the 19-nation Eurozone, having undergone austerity themselves in the past in exchange for help, are loath to spare the Greeks what they had to endure, Schmidt says. “It’s like belonging to a fraternity in which everyone gets hazed. You’re not going to let one young freshman who says I’m going to die…get out of being hazed.”

She also agrees with opponents who say the bargain infringes on Greek sovereignty, stripping the country’s ruling party, the leftist Syriza party, of control over the nation’s economic destiny. The quandary for Greece, she says, is that “if it stays in the Eurozone, it’s subject to a massive loss of sovereignty.…If it doesn’t accept this, it’s in much worse shape if it leaves.”

Schmidt, also a Pardee School professor of international relations and of political science, directs the Center for the Study of Europe. BU Today asked her to weigh in on the Greek debt crisis and whether a third bailout would help.

Continue reading on BU Today>>

ELIAMEP Crisis Observatory Interview

During a European Seminar entitled “Europe in Crisis, Citizens in Protest” (4-7 July, 2013, Nafplion, Greece), I gave a video recorded interview for the Crisis Observatory/ELIAMEP.

In it, I discuss why the Eurozone has not been able to exit the crisis and problems with current approaches to the crisis among other things. The interview was transcribed and can be read on line in English here.

Exploring the Eurozone Crisis

In this three-part series of interviews, Vivien Schmidt, Jean Monnet Professor of European Integration and Director of the Center for the Study of Europe, discusses the ongoing Eurozone Crisis, problems of leadership and democracy in the EU, and the effect and applications her research is finding overseas.

The Eurozone Crisis, Part 1: Origins and Effects of the Eurozone Crisis

The Eurozone Crisis, Part 2: How Ideas and Discourse Shape History

The Eurozone Crisis, Part 3: Pushing the Dialogue Forward