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Europe in Question Round Table: New Beginnings for the EU?

Location: Social Sciences, S0.20
5:30pm - 7pm, Wed, 19 Feb '20
Location: Social Sciences, S0.20

What is the future direction of the European Union?

The European Union (EU) has been faced with a challenging internal and external environment for the past decade. Internal economic crisis, the political challenge of new nationalisms and associated populist movements, the specific challenge of Brexit, and the societal challenges posed by migration and terrorism have interacted to produce challenges to the legitimacy and effectiveness of EU institutions and policies. At the same time, external power shifts, the rise of new power-centres, the unpredictability of partners such as the United States, the turbulence generated by changes in the global economy, and associated demands for adaptation to new conflicts and areas of contestation have contributed to one of the most challenging periods in the history of the integration project.

This context has not surprisingly fostered a series of proposals aimed at securing the stability if not the survival of the European integration process. It has also thrown down a challenge to the continued relevance and effectiveness of the EU’s central institutions. Recent changes in the composition of these institutions have highlighted the extent to which crisis and opportunity co-exist, and thus the ways in which the Union might be constrained or empowered by ‘new beginnings’. The European Commission has been reconstituted under a President who has openly talked about the need for a new focus on ‘geopolitics’ and ‘power’ in its operations, whilst the new heads of the European External Action Service and the European Council have reinforced this message. At the same time, the Commission and the Council, but also the European Parliament since the elections in June 2019, have had to begin an adjustment to a ‘post-Brexit’ existence, where the process of Brexit itself will powerfully shape the policies and priorities of the next few years, and where new populist and nationalist voices will also be heard very loudly. The external pressures created by the new geopolitics of areas such as the Middle East and Eastern Europe, by the ‘weaponisation’ of economic policies and by the climate crisis will also shape the policy environment in unpredictable ways.

In this round table, we address key questions about the legitimacy, capacity and potential effectiveness of the changed EU institutions in this highly-charged environment. In addition to reviewing the central challenges likely to be faced by the Union, we focus on the central institutions: the Commission, the Parliament, the Council and the External Action Service. The aim is to identify the risks and opportunities that are created by recent and current changes, and to assess the range of potential responses by the institutions in the medium term.


Professor Ana Juncos (University of Bristol)

Dr Mike Shackleton (Maastricht University – former Head of the European Parliament Office, London)

Dr Muireann O’Dwyer (University of Warwick)

Chair: Professor Mike Smith, PAIS

The event is scheduled to take place between 5.30 pm and 7.00 pm on Wednesday, 19 February 2020, in S0.20.

This is a public event, if you are interested in joining us, please register on the page below:

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