On Friday, November 13, 2020, I gave a presentation via videoconference for the Young Scholars’ Initiative Virtual Plenary—an initiative of the Institute for New Economic Thinking. I spoke on “European Economic Ideas about Debt: From the Eurozone crisis to Covid-19 crisis” for the conference section on Economic Governance and Democracy in Europe. My focus was on the shifts in EU economic policy from the Eurozone crisis to the Covid-19 pandemic and the related problems of democratic accountability and political responsiveness.
On Thursday, November 12, 2020, Marco Buti, head of cabinet of the European commissioner for economic affairs and taxation, gave a presentation at Harvard’s Center for European Studies on the Next Generation EU program, a €750 billion common effort, coordinated by the European Commission, to face-up to the crisis. Daniela Schwarzer, head of the German Council on Foreign Relations, and I participated as discussants.
I wrote on the continuing dangers to democracy in the aftermath of the Trump election for the European Progressive Observatory of the Foundation for European Progressive Studies. The article was published Tuesday, November 10, 2020.
Donald Trump has undermined the very essence of the US Presidency. However, he and the current Republican party are not alone responsible for the decline of American democracy. The US is certainly a divided country today, but those divides have been building for a very long time, with a Republican Party open to polarising anti-system politics since the 1990s. Will the Republicans continue to fuel discord, dysfunction, and gridlock, or will they return to some semblance of bipartisanship? Few are the signs that speak for the latter.
Read the rest of the article at the Progressive Post, the political magazine run by the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS).
On Thursday, November 5, I gave a book talk (via videoconference) on Europe’s Crisis of Legitimacy: Governing by Rules and Ruling by Numbers for the EU Ombudsman office in Brussels, which is charged with ensuring the accountability and transparency of EU institutions.
The event was co-sponsored by the Julis Rabinowitz Center for Public Policy and Finance, the Program in Contemporary European Politics and Society, the Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination, and the Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies, with the support of The Paul Sarbanes ’54 Fund for Hellenism and Public Service
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.
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.
‘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’.
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.
On 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.
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).