On April 29, I participated in a panel in Stockholm analyzing how the European Union has handled the crises of the 21st century. The event, which also marked the publication of a new report titled EU Crisis Management, was hosted by the Swedish Institute for European Policy Studies (SIEPS)
Joining me on the panel, which was chaired by SIEPS director Göran von Sydow, were Christian Kreuder-Sonnen, Junior Professor of Political Science and International Organizations at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena; Astrid Séville, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich, currently visiting Professor at the University of Vienna’s Institute of Contemporary History; Jonathan White, Deputy Head of the European Institute and Professor of Politics at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE); and Thomas Persson, Associate Professor at the Department of Government, Uppsala University.
Speakers provided perspectives on the strengths and weaknesses of EU crisis management and made assessments of how the EU’s capacity for crisis management can be improved. My presentation (as well as my chapter in the report) was entitled “Economic Crisis Management in the EU: From Past Eurozone Mistakes To Future Promise beyond the Covid-19 Pandemic.” I argued that in order to meet its current challenges – the green transition, the digital transformation, addressing socio-economic inequalities and the Ukraine crisis – the EU should not go back to Eurozone crisis management rules. Rather, the EU needs more instruments to promote EU-wide sustainable development in a context of more flexible and inclusive economic governance.
I was recently asked to be a New Economics Senior Fellow at the ZOE Institute for Future-Fit Economies for 2022-23. ZOE is a research institute and think tank focused on developing solutions and initiating changes that enable a good life within planetary boundaries. They are engaging with policymakers on how to address the economic challenges of today and of the future.
On Saturday, April 23, I was interviewed on the French elections (to be held on April 24) by the South African Television news Channel SABC for their News Program “The Globe 2020 SABC NEWS.” The main focus of the questions was what would happen were Marine Le Pen elected President of the French Republic, with questions focused on what she would do in France and in Europe, and what would the implications be for the rest of the globe, and in particular Africa. My main response was that it would be a disaster all around—for France in terms of civil rights, Europe in terms of joint responses to crises, and Africa in terms of an even greater hardening of immigration policy.
I was in Brussels this week, on April 21, 2022, to speak at the final conference of the EU IDEA Horizon 2020 project. I was on the final panel opposite Herman van Rompuy, President Emeritus of the European Council (2009-2014), in which we both addressed the topic: “A differentiated Union in a complex world.” While the former President of the European Council discussed global issues and the clash of values in the world today, and how they affect the European Union, I discussed the clash of “big ideas,” including neo-liberalism, populism, and progressivism. I focused on the critical elections in France on Sunday, April 24, and their potential impact on Europe. I offered a pessimistic view of what would happen were Marine Le Pen to win and implement her pledge to turn the European Union into a “Europe of Nations,” down-grading human rights, an optimistic view were Macron to win and to implement all of his visionary promises, and a realistic view, in which the EU continues to muddle through, doing a bit better in all areas.
On April 11, I delivered the opening keynote lecture for a two-day workshop on Discourse Analysis organized by PhD students at the European University Institute in Florence. I was asked to discuss the epistemological and ontological underpinnings of discourse analysis and did so by elaborating on my analytic framework of “discursive institutionalism.” I focused on the substantive content of ideas and the interactive processes of discourse in institutional context, and in particular on the historical and philosophical background of interpretive approaches in political science as well as in the philosophy of science and social science.
On April 8, I participated on a panel entitled “The critical French elections and their meaning for Europe” at the Delphi Economic Forum in Delphi, Greece. The forum is a yearly event gathering political, business, and academic leaders from Greece and around world to discuss the so-called “big issues” in a variety of fields, from business and economics to politics and the classics.
At the event, I discussed the dangers for the European Union as well as for France were Marine Le Pen to win in the second round of the French Presidential elections, and then explained why President Macron has been a visionary leader for the EU so far, and would likely be a progressive force in the next few years were he re-elected.
On Friday, April 1, 2022, I gave a talk as part of the “Dialoghi sull’Europa” (Discussions on Europe) sponsored by the Political Science Department at Università Sapienza in Rome. My topic was “Il governo della crisi economica nell'Unione europea. Dagli errori del passato alle promesse post-pandemia” (Economic Crisis Management in the EU: From past errors to future promises in the pandemic and beyond). The two-hour event, attended by PhD students and professors, was moderated by Prof. Giovanni Moro was the moderator. HuffPost Italy correspondent Angela Mauro was the commentator.
I am one of the 78 experts who signed an open letter opposing a no-fly zone in Ukraine. Our argument is that “[G]oing to war with Russia, a nuclear peer of the United States, would expose Americans to vast and unnecessary risks.” And of course it would also expose Europe to even greater dangers.
Our letter comes on the heels of an Atlantic Council-led group openly advocating for a “limited no-fly zone ” in Ukraine. It is our belief that “[a] no-fly zone would expand the war, not stop it.”
The full text of the letter may be found here and also in the Guardian, along with the names of the other signatories.
Be sure to see my interview on the political TV show "Prva interview,” hosted by Andgela Sestovic, on the Montenegrian National TV station Prva. The interview was taped on October 21, 2020 and aired on November 4, 2020.
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.