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Together in the EU: the future of the European Union

Together in the EU: the future of the European Union is the fourth of the four main themes, that will be addressed at the MatchPoints Seminar 2020. This particular theme has these sessions:

Populism and Euroscepticism

Chair: Head of Research Catharina Sørensen, Think Tank Europe
Invited speaker: Professor Christian Martin, New York University/Kiel University

Populism and euroscepticism have been prominent forces in Europe over the past decade, creating a tense and constraining climate for EU-leaders trying to resolve the polycrisis of the eurozone, migration, Brexit, and the rule of law. Even in Germany, where there is no tradition of euroscepticism, the rise of Alternative Für Deutschland suggests that no European country is immune to radical voices demanding fundamental change to society and the EU. The ability of conventional parties to address these developments has been as dismal as their own support ratings, and there is growing evidence to suggest that the populist and eurosceptic support base is much broader than ‘angry white men’ and ‘globalisation losers’, including also ‘ordinary’ citizens who feel nostalgic about the past. This panel will leave the comfort zone of the traditional ‘them and us’ rhetoric, which plots good progressive citizens against bad populist citizens, to examine contemporary public disaffection as a human reaction to recent global dynamics, such as the spread of international terrorism, new migration patterns, digital disruption, and deeper supranational cooperation in the EU.

As such, we welcome contributions that bridge the social and cognitive sciences to make sense of what is going on and how to move forward, including on the following topics:

  • Populism and euroscepticism in a comparative perspective
  • How has the polycrisis affected EU-attitudes?
  • The role of emotions in EU-attitudes
  • Individual-level determinants of populism and Euroscepticism

Migration: Social and Political Challenges

Chair: Professor Daniel Finke, Aarhus University
Invited speaker: Professor Florian Trauner, Institute for European Studies (IES) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussels

The so-called “refugee crisis” in late 2015 drew public attention to a key challenge facing Europe in the 21st century. The unfortunate combination of poverty and political instability in its Southern neighbours is causing significant immigrations flows to Europe. Northern European welfare states such as Denmark and Germany are attractive destination for those immigrants. Consequently, immigration is challenging these countries on multiple dimensions. On the moral dimension, the EU and its member states are treading a fine line between maintaining high humanitarian standards while deterring migrants either at the external borders or by reducing their rights upon arrival. On the economic dimension, Denmark and Germany are in need of skilled immigrants, often not congruent with the skill sets of arriving refugees and migrants.  On the socio-cultural dimension, both countries face similar challenges of integration, but pursue different integration policies. On the political dimension, mass migration is nourishing the campaigns and electoral successes of right-wing populists. Moreover, mass migration is testing the freedom of movement and the political cohesion in the EU.

Against this background, the panel welcomes papers on the following issues:

  • The European Union’s common asylum and migration policy
  • National immigration and asylum policies in a comparative perspective
  • Immigration and its effects on domestic political competition, esp. the increasing power of right wing populism
  • Economic implications of migration, incl. strategies to attract qualified labour
  • Socio-cultural challenges of integration, incl. integration policies in a comparative perspective 

European Security

Chair: Director Kristian Fischer, Danish Institute for International Studies
Invited speaker: TBA

In recent years, the EU’s Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP, both military and civilian components) has undergone rapid and substantial developments. The CSDP is expected to develop even further in coming years. One of the key developments has been the Commission’s substantial engagements, which might expand even more. Some of the new, concrete developments will be the establishment and implementation of the European Defense Fund (EDF), the further development of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), the future of European Defense Agency (EDA) and further development of operative engagements in and outside Europe. After the elections to the EU Parliament, the role of the new Commission will be most interesting. German and French ambitions, roles and plans in these developments will be essential. At the same time, assessment of the potential implications for Denmark of future participation - or not - in the CSDP will be relevant to discuss. The developments of the CSDP must also be seen in the light of the significant changes in the “framework conditions” for European security – Russia, terror/extremism, migration, China, transatlantic relations - and the explanatory power of such factors with regard to the dynamic changes in the CSDP.

Against this background, the panel welcomes papers for instance on the following issues:

  • The CSDP in a changing and more complex world – the role of external factors for the development of CSDP?
  • European Autonomy – what does it mean in reality and what does it not mean?
  • Regional defense cooperation between groups of European countries – complementary and/or competing with CSDP?
  • The challenge of CSDP to German and Danish security priorities
  • CSDP operations – what effect do they have?
  • CSDP and new opportunities and threats emerging from new technologies and artificial intelligence?”

European Cohesion

Chair: Danish Ambassador to Germany Friis Arne Petersen, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark
Invited speaker: Professor Wolfgang Ischinger, Hertie School of Governance (Berlin)(TBC)

European integration has been increasingly dominating the European continent since the end of WWII. Expanding from a core of six founding member states to 27, the EU of today geographically affects all of Europe directly and indirectly. Furthermore, the EU’s cooperation, with its unique institutional setup and directly, legally binding character on member states and citizens, has tied former conflicting countries, like France and Germany or Denmark and Germany, to each other in a completely new and stabilising way. However, recent developments, such as Brexit and cleavages (North-South-East) related to especially the Euro-crisis, the degree of adherence to budget discipline and the refugee-crisis, have exercised increased pressure on the European cooperation and cohesion. The global development with America First, a more aggressive Russia and a more powerful and self-confident China has changed the overall international situation and context for the EU. In this session, the aim is to address the scope for European cohesion and the need for more cohesive EU actions in maintaining and possibly expanding the rule-based international order.

In this light, the workshop welcomes papers on a variety of topics related to the issue of cohesion, among them:

  • The geopolitical and historical circumstances enabling or disenabling European integration and cohesion
  • Is Europe witnessing an increased process of regionalisation?
  • Perspectives and need for European institutional reform in order to strengthen European cohesion and decision-making capacity in a globally changing and unstable world
  • Remedies to diminish or mediate the economic and geographical fault lines within the EU
  • New visions for European integration and cohesion beyond or between variable geometries, multi-speeds and hybrid membership form
  • The extent to which external and internal pressure (for example such as Brexit) may increase cooperation between Denmark and Germany within the EU