Virtual Visions of Europe #5

W(h)ither the EU?

About the speakers

Jonathan Zeitlin is Distinguished Faculty Professor of Public Policy and Governance at the UvA and ACES Academic Director. His current research focuses on new forms of “experimentalist” governance within and beyond the European Union, with particular emphasis on market regulation, environmental protection, and social policy. He has (co)authored or edited 17 books and more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters. His most recent book (co-edited with Francesco Nicoli) is The European Union Beyond the Polycrisis? Integration and Politicization in an Age of Shifting Cleavages (Routledge 2020).

Frank Vandenbroucke is University Professor at the UvA. He also teaches at the University of Antwerp, where he holds the Herman Deleck Chair. His research focuses on the impact of the EU on the development of social and employment policy in the EU Member States. He was Minister for Social Security, Health Insurance, Pensions and Employment in the Belgian Federal Government (1999-2004), and Minister of Education and Employment in the Flemish Regional Government (2004-2009). Vandenbroucke was closely involved with the launching of the EU’s Lisbon Strategy in 2000, notably with the development of its social dimension.

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.

Erik Jones is Director of European and Eurasian Studies and Professor of European Studies and International Political Economy at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University. He is also Senior Research Associate at the Istituto per gli studi di politica internazionale (ISPI), Milan. He has written extensively on European monetary integration and macroeconomic governance and has been active in public debates about the European response to the global economic and financial crisis. He is editor or co-editor of more than twenty books or special issues of journals on European politics and political economy including The Oxford Handbook of the European Union (2012) and The Oxford Handbook of Italian Politics (2015).

Christina Eckes (moderator) is Professor of European Law at the University of Amsterdam and Director of the Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance (ACELG).

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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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