Integration and Disintegration of the European Union

Wednesday, 15 May 2013, 6:00pm - 7:30pm, IWM library
Austerity measures and reforms in many states are leading to stronger economic harmonization within the European Union. Integration measures on the level of the EU, although hardly sufficient, serve the same objectives. We can notice elements of a real cultural revolution in Europe, reflected in more wide-spread acceptance of such values as financial responsibility and the importance of economic competition, and in an increasing understanding of the need for (a) new European social model(s).

At the same time, solidarity within the EU is visibly weakening. Psychologically and politically, Europe is drifting apart. On the one hand, factors which pushed the Union towards integration during the Cold War are no longer relevant, and on the other, the current crisis is contributing to the rise of an anti-European mood. Harsh austerity measures are strengthening social resistance and political radicalization in many countries. Old prejudices and fears are reappearing. In many member states, social conflicts are increasing, and tendencies towards disintegration are on the rise.

This lecture will address the complex interrelations of the forces of integration and disintegration in Europe, and their different time horizons, which make for an uncertain future of the European Union.

Aleksander Smolar is chairman of the Board of the Stefan Batory Foundation in Warsaw and member of the IWM Academic Advisory Board. Additionally, he is co-founder and member of the Board of the European Council on Foreign Relations.