Reinventing Europe 2014

While Europe is slowly recovering from the financial crisis that hit six years ago skepticism towards the EU and European integration is flourishing and we are witnessing both within the EU, in the member states, and among the general public intense debates about where European integration should be heading, how far, and how fast.

The 2014 EURECO Distinguished Lecture Series sat out to take a closer look at some of the issues which have received a lot of attention in the recent debates. To do so scholars from the Social and Legal sciences as well as the Humanities were invited to lecture on topics such as; the question of Social and Welfare Tourism in the EU, the complexities of the European Labour Market, and the challenges of Multiculturalism in Europe.

Lecture 1

Brigitte Leucht, Associate Professor, Saxo Institute and Centre for Modern European Studies (CEMES), University of Copenhagen.

"Reinventing societal preferences? The origins of the competition policy of the European Union"

ABSTRACT: The competition policy of the EU has become one of the most successful examples of supranational governance in action and it enjoys broad public support. Crucially the origins of competition policy in Western Europe coincided with the beginnings of European integration. The crucial question that arises is why and how Europe “reinvented” its societal preferences: how did post-World War II Western Europe, which lacked a legal framework protecting competition, develop into a European polity in which, sixty years later, there is wide agreement on the benefits of competition policy. This talk will try to answer this question.

Lecture 2

Urska Sadl, Assistant Professor, Centre of Excellence for International Courts (iCourts), Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen.

"Reinventing the founding myths of Europe: The continuous relevance of the constitutional milestones of the EU legal order"

ABSTRACT: All legal systems know the concept of a landmark case. The case of the EU is no different in that regard. Two things are nevertheless remarkable. First, grand cases like Van Gend, Costa v ENEL, and Les Verts, stand as European constitutional milestones. They establish, define, limit and legitimate a (quasi)constitutional, sui generis legal system of the EU. Second, they provide Europe with so far the most persistent, simple, and straightforward theory of integration. But what makes certain cases leading cases: is it an instantaneous act by the Court, which once and for all nails down a great legal principle? Or is it rather a protracted process, in which a certain case only gradually gains this symbolic standing?

Lecture 3

 Jens Arnholtz, Assistant Professor, Employment Relations Research Centre (FAOS), Department of Sociology, the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Copenhagen.

"Reinventing the European labour market"

ABSTRACT: For half a century, the provisions of the free movement of labour have granted Europeans the right to move across borders and work in another country. However, few Europeans have done so and the grant vision of a common European labour market has long seemed an unrealistic utopia. But with the EU enlargements of 2004 and 2007 this changed, as millions of new EU citizens started to move west. Driven by huge socio-economic differences between member-states, the post-enlargement labour migration has shown that a common European labour market may not be that unrealistic. At the same time, the complex problems, political conflicts and marked public debates caused by the new flow of labour as also indicated that a common European labour market might not be a utopia either.

Lecture 4

Rebecca Adler-Nissen, Associate Professor, Center for European Politics (CEP), Dept. of Political Science, the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Copenhagen.

"‘Lazy Greeks’ and ‘Nazi Germans’: Negotiating International Hierarchies in the Euro Crisis"


ABSTRACT: Since 2008, competing explanations of the causes of the euro crisis have clashed along with increased xenophobia, anti-austerity protests and an unprecedented number of high-level summits between the European leaders in Brussels. In the streets of Athens, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is depicted on protest banners with a Nazi uniform while German tabloids call Greeks ‘lazy’ and ‘corrupt’. Looking at how national responsibility, victimhood and shame is dramaturgized, Adler-Nissen explains how multiple hierarchies are crucial to the performance of national selves, and how the ranking processes involve a high degree of social interaction and national self-reflectivity. Adler-Nissen shows how different principles of hierarchization become entangled in world politics.

Lecture 5

Deniz Duru, Post doc, Centre for Modern European Studies (CEMES), Faculty of Humanities, University of Copenhagen.

"Multiculturalism and Conviviality in Europe and Beyond"

ABSTRACT: The lecture reviews the limitations of conceptualisation of ‘culture as difference’ within the multiculturalism discourse and explores diversity through the prism of conviviality. Conviviality unpacks the dynamic relationship between the binaries of ‘multiculturalism-social cohesion’, ‘diversity-unity’ and ‘cultural-social’. It suggests conviviality as a lived practice and contextualised diversity by exploring the interactions between individuals belonging to different ethnic, class and religious groups, and the discourses and representations of diversity. The lecture will illustrate these points with empirical examples from Turkey and Denmark.

Lecture 6

Catherine Jacqueson, Associate Professor, Centre for Legal Studies in Welfare and Market (WELMA), the Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen.

"Revisiting social tourism in EU law: what are the challenges ahead?"

ABSTRACT: Accusations of social tourism have recently hailed over Europe and the theme of welfare tourism has fuelled the debate up to the European Parliament elections in spring. As the storm has now eased off a bit, it is time to reflect on what social tourism really is and to what extent the social rights of free movers are protected within the EU. Are Union citizens really a threat to the national welfare systems and what are the legal challenges facing social Europe?

Lecture 7

 Jan Zielonka, Professor of European Politics at the University of Oxford and Ralf Dahrendorf Professorial Fellow at St Antony’s College

"Is the EU doomed?"

Abstract: This question was the point of departure, when Professor Jan Zielonka gave the final lecture in this year's series moderated by Associate Professor Rebecca Adler-Nissen.

In his latest book, Zielonka describes the EU in a state of crisis. However, despite the fact that the EU is currently struggling to survive in modest form - deprived of many real powers - Europe as an integrated entity is continuously gaining strength. The integration process persists due to the European states’ profound economic interdependence, historic ties and the need for political pragmatism. A revitalized Europe led by major cities, regions and powerful NGOs will emerge in which a new type of continental solidarity can flourish.

In conclusion, the EU may well be doomed, but Europe certainly is not.