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.
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.
On November 26, 2021, I spoke on a panel during the European Central Bank’s (ECB) Legal Conference 2021 on my forthcoming research.
The panel, titled “Relationship between Law and Markets,” also featured Katharina Pistor, Edwin B. Parker Professor of Comparative Law at Columbia Law School; Marco Dani, Associate Professor at the University of Trento; and Barbara Balke, Director General and General Counsel at the European Investment Bank.
In my presentation—“Reconsidering the EU’s Economic Ideas on Market and Law: Toward greater effectiveness, accountability, and democracy”—I discussed the resilience of ordo-liberal and neoliberal ideas with regard to Eurozone governance over time (Law), the impact of such ideas on European economies (Markets) and the deleterious economic, social, and political consequences related to the populist democratic backlash. I also spoke about the changes resulting from the COVID-19 response, suggesting some pathways forward for the decentralization and democratization of the EU’s economic governance that could ensure greater legitimacy in terms of performance, procedures, and democracy.
Full details on the ECB Legal Conference can be found on theECB website. Video recordings are available at this link:
Earlier this morning (Thursday, November 18, 2021), I presented a paper entitled “Reallocation: Neo-liberal Scripts and the Transformation of European Capitalism and Democracy” for an online conference organized by the Cluster of Excellence: “Contestations of the Liberal Script (Scripts).” The event took place as part of a book project, The Liberal Scripts at the Beginning of the 21st Century (Tanja Börzel, Johannes Gerschewski, and Michael Zürn, eds.) to be submitted to Oxford University Press.
In this paper, I talk about the resilience of neo-liberal ideas since the 1980s until the Covid-19 pandemic, and their impact on capitalist structures, institutions, and policies. I argue that neo-liberalism, focused on promoting ‘less state to free up the markets,’ has dramatically transformed democratic capitalism in ways that have increased inequalities and led to a democratic backlash with the rise of populism. But the responses to Covid-19 in Europe and the US suggest at least a pause to neo-liberalism, if not its demise, with the shift to an emphasis on sustainable and equitable growth with a renewed role for the state.
On Wednesday, November 17, I took part in a panel discussion with Nathalie Tocci and Alexandros Yannis on the EU's approach to climate change in view of the Glasgow COP26. The event, entitled A Green and Political Europe, was hosted by the Belfer Center at the Harvard Kennedy School.
In my remarks,I focused on the ways in which the EU seeks to lead the world through example on its approach to climate change, with ambitious goals as evidenced by its many different policy initiatives. But I also talked about the internal challenges to the EU, not only to ensure implementation but also in terms of big differences among member states on which aspects of the program they support. And needless to say, I also discussed the problems coming from populist climate skeptic parties on the extreme right.
On Tuesday, November 16, 2021, I gave a talk for the video-conference: “The Political Science of Next Generation EU: Exploring Potential Impacts of the New Recovery Fund” organized by the European Parliament Research Service and the European University Institute (Brussels and Florence). I spoke on the panel: “The Potential Impact of NGEU on EU Institutional Dynamics and Imbalances.”
On Friday, November 12, I gave an online talk entitled “The Power of Ideas in Capitalism Transformations and the Democratic Backlash.” My talk was based on a paper to be published in the journal Stato e Mercato for the 40th anniversary of the journal. My main focus was on how to explain the resilience of neo-liberal ideas since the 1980s, its impact on democratic capitalism, and whether it would remain the paradigm in the future. I began with theorizing about the nature of the resilience and power of neo-liberal ideas and discourse. I next explored the powerful role of resilient neo-liberal ideas and discourse in the neo-liberal transformations the 1980s, the 1990s, the 2000s, and during the Eurozone crisis. I then considered what neoliberalism wrought in terms of the deep changes in capitalist structures, institutions, and policies brought about by the neo-liberal project. I followed with the rise of alternatives ideas, first with the populist democratic backlash to the impact of neo-liberal transformations, then with the Covid-19 crisis response that has seemed to put a pause to neoliberalism, with a shift to sustainable and equitable growth. I concluded with an analysis of neoliberalism’s seeming decline in resilience at the moment.
Earlier this morning (October 6, 2021), I took part in an event at Harvard in honor of Henrik Enderlein, a brilliant political economist who died all too young. Henrik was a gifted scholar and policy analyst who made important contributions to thinking about how to fix the Eurozone, and was at the center of policy discussions in Paris, Berlin, and Brussels. He will be sorely missed.