European Futures? 2016

For the first time a member state has decided to exit the European Union. Growing Euroscepticism in all parts of Europe, rising nationalism, and more people than ever believing the European project is failing point perhaps to the dawn of a new and very different Europe. This autumn the EURECO Distinguished Lecture Series, entitled ‘European Futures?’, will explore the prospects for the Europe of tomorrow. We are pleased to welcome you on this journey.

In the first two lectures by Hans-Jörg Trenz and Michael Bossetta we will investigate possible explanations for increasing Euroscepticism and rising populism across Europe and think about  the consequences for Europe and the future of the EU. In the third lecture Charlotte Galpin will introduce us to the implications of the EU crisis for European identities and solidarity, and how changes to these have implications for tackling the EU’s future challenges. In the fourth lecture Holly Snaith will dig into one of the most pressing and significant challenges EU faces: Brexit and the consequences, not just for the UK, but also for Europe as a whole, with one of the main questions being whether Brexit signals further disintegration of the EU. In the last two of the ordinary EURECO lectures we move on to look at the legal and judicial integration of Europe. In his lecture Juan Mayoral will examine the relevance of trust for the EU’s multi-level judicial system, while Graham Butler will explore how recent events, such as the financial and migration crises, create tensions for the European legal order. In the Final Honorary Lecture we have the great pleasure to welcome to Copenhagen Professor Dame Helen Wallace from the British Academy (latterly of the LSE, the European University Institute in Florence and the University of Sussex), one of the world’s most distinguished scholars of European integration.

The EURECO Distinguished Lectures are open to the public and we invite everyone who takes an interest in European issues to sign-up for a series where some of the best scholars within the field will present and discuss their current work. 


28 September: The Spiral of Euroscepticism: Media negativity, framing and EU opposition

Hans-Jörg Trenz, Professor, Centre for Modern European Studies, Department of Media, Cognition and Communication, Faculty of Humanities, University of Copenhagen

Abstract: EU scholars have increasingly become attentive to the effects of a negativity bias that applies to EU political news-making and shapes Eurosceptic attitudes of large sections of the public. In the “spiral of cynicism” the preference of journalism for negative news is seen as corresponding to the preferences of the public and its demand for sensational news. Media frames are important in the attribution of responsibility and ascription of political legitimacy. Media can, in this sense, be made responsible for negative cueing about the EU and an inherent ‘nationalist bias’ in the representation of politics. This type of coverage, in turn, excites particular cognitive and emotional reactions from audiences, which lean towards hostility with the European project. On the basis of these insights about media framing the lecture will present and discuss an explanation of Euroscepticism as an effect of negative learning through media inputs. The negativity bias of media news coverage of EU politics is however not entirely independent from the cognitions and judgements of audiences, which often receive information from different sources and process media content selectively also on the basis of collective interpretations and emotional reactions. These public judgments and emotions can be equally made responsible for the negative bias of news coverage and, in turn, inform the media frames and content. Negative learning through media discourses is thus a complex process in which providers of media content (journalists and political informants) and audiences interact and equally contribute to the structuring of public debates and expectations.

05 October: Contesting Future Integration: The Rise of Populism and Euroscepticism in Contemporary Europe

Michael Bossetta, PhD fellow, Centre for European Politics, Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Copenhagen

Abstract: Brexit, the results of the 2014 European Parliament elections, the increasing support for extremist parties in many Member States - each of these phenomena demonstrate a popular backlash to future European integration. Calls of ‘power to the people’ are echoing across Europe and signal a crisis of legitimacy for national and EU level political actors. Disseminating results from his own research Michael Bossetta will in this EURECO lecture engage the following questions: Why are populists and Eurosceptics gaining traction now? How are mainstream politicians responding to these threats? How are digital communication technologies like social media empowering ‘the people’ to promote an anti-establishment message from below? What does populism and Euroscepticism mean for the future of Europe?

12 October: The Euro Crisis and European Identities: What Future for European Unity?

Charlotte Galpin, Post Doc, Centre for Modern European Studies, Department of Media, Cognition and Communication, Faculty of Humanities, University of Copenhagen

Abstract: The Euro crisis has had far-reaching economic and political effects for the EU. The crisis, however, has also had implications for European identities and has tested the limits of European solidarity. Drawing on empirical findings from Germany, Ireland and Poland, Galpin challenges the commonly held view that identities change dramatically at times of crisis but shows that they instead become polarised around the multiple existing and contested identity discourses in EU member states. She argues that this very resilience helps to understand the EU’s current divisions. The lecture will show how understanding identity dynamics during the crisis has implications not just for the future of the single currency as an identity-building project, but also for tackling the EU’s future challenges – the refugee crisis, Brexit and the EU’s democratic legitimacy.

Break week 42

26 October: Brexit: Continental Consequences

Holly Snaith, Post Doc, Centre for European Politics, Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Copenhagen

Abstract: In the wake of the Brexit vote, not only the UK but the wider EU has been left in a state of flux. Will this lead to further distintegration? Will the four freedoms survive intact? What sort of model of differentiated integration will exist after the UK leaves? What alliances are being formed amongst the EU’s other nations? This lecture will explore both the political fallout in the UK, and also speculate on the likely consequences for the wider EU over the years to come.

02 November: In the CJEU judges trust: A new approach in the judicial construction of Europe

Juan Antonio Mayoral Diaz-Asensio, Centre of International Courts (iCourts), Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen

Abstract: This lecture aims to highlight the relevance of trust for the legal and judicial integration of Europe, focusing on national judges’ trust in the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). This lecture will emphasize how relevant is trust for an interdependent and decentralized multi-level system like the EU judicial system, where national courts are the main domestic enforcers of the jurisprudence and EU legal mandates coming from the CJEU. This lecture will discuss the nature, causes, and potentials of judicial trust in the CJEU for the functioning of the EU judicial system. A new theory is offered, which links national judges’ trust in the CJEU to their corporatist identification and to their beliefs about the CJEU’s ability to provide decisions that: 1) offer a clear guidance on European Union law, and, 2) will not undermine Member States’ legal order.

9 November: A Union under pressure: Fracturing uniformity, and the continued quest of European integration

Graham Butler, PhD Fellow, Centre for Comparative and European Constitutional Studies, Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen

NB: This lecture will take place in Annex B, Studiegården, Studiestræde 6, 1455 København K.

Abstract: The unitary nature of the Union’s legal order is under tremendous strain. Recent developments across the European Union, namely the financial crisis and migration issues, have dominated the European landscape, garnering the most public attention, and political capital. Whilst there has always been the ability of national actors to test the limits of legal uniformity, putting it on a long collision course with pressure to further integrate the economies and societies of EU Member States, these recent events are putting even greater tension on the European legal order.

Over time, the application and harmonisation of Union law has been mitigated by a necessity to allow formal carve-outs and informal political understandings of derogation in order to ensure that Union law is applied to the greatest extent possible, and even keep Member States within the Union. Going forward, the forcefulness of further legal disparity is highly likely. Levelling the lack of legal uniformity, competing against the continued push for greater European integration will be one of the Union’s greatest legal challenges in the foreseeable future, requiring new ways of accommodating divergent interests.

16 November: Final Honorary Lecture: Europe at a Crossroads, but can we read the Signposts?

Professor Dame Helen Wallace, The British Academy. Latterly of the LSE, the European University Institute in Florence, and the University of Sussex, and one of world’s most distinguished scholars of European integration.

Abstract: Europeans face many challenges both at home and abroad as the pressures bear down on the European Union and its member states to respond.  There are many dilemmas to be resolved and many choices to be made about the direction of travel.