Virtual Visions of Europe #3

The national and European politics of the pandemic

About the speakers

Theresa Kuhn is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Amsterdam. She previously worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford. Theresa’s current project Boundaries of Solidarity, funded by an NWO Veni Grant, analyses transnational solidarity in the European sovereign debt crisis using laboratory experiments and opinion surveys. In a NORFACE-funded research project, she researches migrants’ attitudes and expectations towards the welfare state.

Brian Burgoon is Professor of International and Comparative Political Economy at the UvA, and  Academic Director of the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR). He received his PhD from MIT in 1998 and has been on the UvA faculty since 2001. His research focuses on the politics of economic globalization; welfare and labor-market policies and standards; and how economic conditions influence political conflict.

Sarah de Lange is Professor by Special Appointment at the Department of Political Science at the University of Amsterdam. Since 2016 she holds the Dr. J.M. Den Uyl Chair established by the Wiardi Beckman Foundation. She is currently working on a project funded by the NWO entitled “Generational differences in determinants of party choice”. The project examines how the mechanisms that explain voting behaviour differ between younger and older generations. Her main research interests concern parties, party families, and party systems. Her work is broad in geographical scope and examines party politics in a range of East and West European countries.

Catherine de Vries is Professor of Political Science at Bocconi University (Milan) and Research Associate at the Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics and Public Policy. Her research focuses on some of the key challenges facing the European continent today, such as Euroscepticism, political fragmentation, migration and corruption. In her current work, she examines how economic hardship affects support for socially conservative political agendas. She is also a columnist for the Dutch newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad. She serves as scientific advisor for eupinions, an independent platform for European public opinion research funded by the Bertelsmann Foundation.

Jonathan Zeitlin (moderator) is Distinguished Faculty Professor of Public Policy and Governance at the UvA and ACES Academic Director

Background Virtual Visions of Europe

The current Covid-19 pandemic confronts the European Union and its member states with unprecedented challenges. Public health ‘competition’ between countries instead of cooperation, leading to the closing of borders even in the Schengen zone. An economic slump unfolding on a scale not seen since the 1930s. Ever-increasing north-south and east-west divides in Europe. These challenges come on top of the ‘polycrisis’ experienced by the EU and its member states over the past decade: first the financial and euro crises, then the refugee and migration crises, followed by Brexit, alongside rising euroskepticism and attacks on the rule of law in a growing number of member states.  At the same time, the global order within which the EU operates is increasingly challenged by the hostility of nationalist leaders such as Putin and Trump, but also the re-positioning of China in global affairs.

How will the European Union emerge from this crisis? Will the Union come out stronger, with a larger budget, more powers to coordinate public health measures, and reinforced solidarity within the Eurozone? Or will the EU’s inability to reach agreement and take the lead on critical issues in fighting Covid-19 result in a long-term weakening of its internal authority and external influence, or even a full-scale collapse of the European project, as Emmanuel Macron has warned?

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