Academic programJuly 15th - July 25th 2017
Lectures and workshops
The future of Europe - are populism and extremism here to stay?
Populism in European elections is undoubtedly a trend that will define the year 2017. French elections are shaped by the rise of both the extreme-left and extreme-right, and are being played out on a globalist versus territorialist divide, rather than the more traditional conservative versus progressive cleavage. This new factor has also given way to a heavy increase of voter apathy, especially among the youth. What are the long-term trends that will show whether populist politics will continue to shape the future of European politics and policies? What are the recipes politicians in Europe have found to counter these trends? And does this spell a brighter future for the EU?
Visegrad countries and the "illiberal" turn
This lecture places the Visegrad Group countries (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary) in the context of a range of Post-Soviet regional cooperation initiatives and then explains its unique origins and objectives, its intermittent failures and successes; its unexpected post-EU accession achievements and its ability not only to advocate regional interests in the EU but also to shape key aspects of some EU policies; and the Group’s recent divergence from highly humanist values to what can be called an "illiberal" turn over the migrant/refugee crisis. The lecture concludes with a photographic account of the Group’s development, and its very positive but still misleading uses of history to create Central and Eastern Europe’s most successful regional cooperation initiative.
European security and defence policy: Brexit, Trump, and beyond
The European Union is a relative newcomer to the area of security and defence policy and its role has always been contested. The developments of the last year have, however, shifted the development of the CSDP to a different gear. The new EU Global Strategy promotes a more active role for the EU in the world as a response to the destabilization across the EU neighbourhood and security and defence have been the first area to receive a more detailed implementation strategy. At the same time, the EU is going to lose its militarily most powerful member with the United Kingdom’s exit, which is surely going to take a toll on the EU’s capability to act. To crown it all, the election of Donald Trump to the Presidency of the United States has cast doubt on the credibility of the United States’ security guarantees to its European allies, which may lead to a more assertive role of the European Union. The workshop will discuss the challenges and opportunities of the latest developments in the CSDP for the EU, its member states, and European security in general.
How do European states integrate their Muslim minorities and how do integration processes affect them in return?
Since late 1990s most Western European states have "discovered" a social integration deficit concerning the population of their former guest workers. In the years 2000 this deficit was largely reframed as a cultural and political challenge to their regimes of historically constituted migration regimes and state-religion relations. The EU has played a role in helping member states cope with the challenges in a systematic manner. Just as national governments started to develop pragmatic and workable integration policies, the regional context has changed again between 2013 and 2016. Increased security threat and migration pressure have both highlighted national divergences to those issues as well as led to a certain populist and culturalist backclash.
The talk will discuss the discrepancies between problem identification, policy development and further challenges, external and internal. The aim is to open up a larger context to the integration questions and to differentiate various processes that affect them.
EU energy and climate policy - unifying or fragmenting the Union?
From the beginning of the international climate negotiations in 1991 the European Union has taken a leadership role, sometimes together with, or sometimes in competition with, the US. However, there is no real solution to climate change without the US and China also travelling in the same direction. Together the worlds two largest emitters have leveraged their size and political significance to mobilise action from other countries and achieved a new global climate deal in Paris in 2015.
Now Mr. Trump is beginning to dismantle his predecessors climate policies but the Paris Agreement is likely to survive a US abrogation of leadership. It has been suggested that the EU could step in and take up the role of developed country co-champion with China, in the same way that it stepped in when the US recused itself from the Kyoto Protocol in 2001. But what about the EU’s internal situation?
The European Union is facing multiple crises that could threaten its very existence. Migration, financial turmoil in the Eurozone, and the UK’s withdrawal from the bloc would all be enough on their own to cause Brussels a headache. Together, they are shaking the EU to its core. Is the EU best placed to take the leadership role previously held by the US, and collaborate with China and once again become a leader in climate negotiations? Can climate action serve as an opportunity to bring together member states that are divided on many other questions?
Post-Brexit EU: (un)expected developments
What will a post-Brexit European Union look like? With Brexit negotiations being well under way, an abundance of questions arises of how will this unprecedented departure of a member state affect the future of the Union as well as its further relations with the UK. How will the different European institutions adapt? What new arrangements will be necessary to take? Will this major change provide a momentum for some fundamental reforms? This talk will discuss the potential and predicted developments of the EU after Britain
European Union as geopolitical actor or geopolitical subject? State of the World and geopolitical challenges for the EU
State of the World at 2017. Collapse of the Cold War system and creation of post-bipolar World. Political and economic weight of states and political and economic weight of the EU. How emerging powers are redefining global competition (and power structure) in the 21st century. Search for global equilibrium - global disequilibrium as result? Interpolarity as suitable solution?
The evolution of solidarity - is there a way forward to make sense of the “troublemakers”?
This talk will be divided essentially into two parts that are interconnected and they build on each other. In the first part, we will be looking at the genesis of the concept of solidarity by taking a philosophical point of view on its socio-historical and political legacy in order to provide a set of useful conceptual tools that can be contextualised to the current situation within the EU and related to the topics explored in the next two talks. Starting with a short investigation across history of philosophical thought from Auguste Comte in his System of Positive Polity (1875) and the social contract theorists of the 17th and 18th century, through the fundamental work of Émile Durkheim, The Division of Labour in Society (1893), and the Christian culture, we will terminate our journey in the modern theories of communitarianism, rational choice theories, contractual solidarity, and reflective solidarity as proposed in the works of contemporary philosophers and sociologists such as Alaisdar McIntyre, Amitai Etzioni, Michael Hetcher, and Jodi Dean, respectively.
In the second part, drawing on the previous analysis, we will be dealing with the possible implications of the different concepts with respect to the actual situation and the problems afflicting the EU community and what are the new challenges in this context given by the “troublemakers”. The discussion will point at the several issues emerging once the different characterizations of the concept of solidarity are taken into account and embedded in the contemporary socio-economic context and the new challenges given by immigration and debt crisis that have been influencing Europe and opening the room to new forms of political problems that potentially could undermine the Union.
European populism - its ethical challenges and impact on EU solidarity
The growing focus on internal affairs and crisis-related ‘finger-pointing’ by politicians in various member states is influencing countries’ strategies and interactions with their European counterparts and non-EU partners, as well as the Union’s voice and leverage abroad.
Given the intricacies and complex nature of today’s foreign policy challenges, the growing presence of populist politicians in parliaments and governments is also having a significant impact across a range of issues, including mobility and migration, foreign aid, trade, relations with international partners like the United States or Russia, and even on European integration. Moreover, since domestic and European politics – including in foreign policy – are now so interlinked and entwined, the strategic decisions taken by key actors operating at one or both of these levels can influence the national context, as well as a member state’s room for manoeuvre with third countries.
In light of all this, reflecting on the influence of populist politicians on foreign policy issues at national and EU level is now of utmost importance.
This talk will explore the motivation behind the populist and nationalistic elements of political players in the EU from an ethical perspective and bring to light their possible future impact on the EU.
Euroscepticism and its impact on the solidarity of EU “pillars”
It seems that the full realization of the European “pillar” system is faltering. Without solidarity, it will remain a halfway system unable to achieve its objectives, and since solidarity has been a founding value of European integration, one needs to question, to what extent has solidarity influenced the developments of the “pillars” and their integration in the EU?
In general, current debates concerning the European Solidarity are often reduced to financial and economic debates. A leitmotif often presented by different arguments is always that the richer members from the North should pay for poorer members of the South and in general the unification matter is heavily reduced to application of economic and financial reforms by emphasising how these requested reforms are more of an opportunity rather than a punishment.
This framework of discussion is rather valuable but inevitably established a causal link that is perceived by EU’s political leaders between solidarity and coordination. In fact the system itself suggests that, with a stronger and more effective economic policy coordination, via the formation, development and implementation of the “pillars” will enable a better integration. However, to what extent have the Eurosceptics had an impact on the “strength” of these pillars, are the “pillars” crumbling in light of the latest public debates across Europe? Is this view of economic reductionism and efficiency leading to proper integration or is it providing ground for the Eurosceptics to take advantage of the prevailing issues that the EU community is facing in its evolution and development?
This talk will explore the development of the EU “pillars”, their relationship to the concept of solidarity introduced in the first talk and the possible development within Europe from the Eurosceptic point of view that may pose a threat to these “pillars” and their possible crumbling.