The Aston Centre for Europe has recently initiated a path-breaking independent policy study that will reconsider European integration in the wake of the Great Slump and the Eurozone Crisis. This process is being led by a working group consisting of experts on European integration drawn from politics, academia, business and the third sector, with the final report to be published in autumn 2013.
In the wake of the sovereign debt crisis, European integration has recently stepped up a gear through the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in Economic and Monetary Union (also known as the ‘Fiscal Compact’). The Fiscal Compact is designed to provide a much deeper degree of economic coordination between Eurozone countries than has been the case until now. At the same time, the underlying assumptions of the Fiscal Compact and its relatively narrow focus show little sign of a clear vision for the future of Europe. Moreover, understandable concerns have arisen that the rapidly integrating Eurozone will become the ‘real EU’ that pre-cooks decisions on issues from the Single Market to the Common Agricultural Policy, in which the non-Eurozone countries do not have a voice. This possibility suggests very real concerns for the future of the European Union and the UK’s integral role within it; especially since the possibility of an ‘in/out’ referendum is considerable: For these reasons, it is now the ideal time to rethink the European integration project.
Across many EU Member States, the on-going sovereign debt crisis has had a radical and negative effect on public attitudes, towards the euro in particular, and the European Union more generally. Within the UK, all three major political parties talk about the need to reform the EU, but – for different political reasons – none has come forward with any specific proposals. Regrettably, this ‘conspiracy of silence’ about precisely what reforms are needed and how they can be achieved may end up unwittingly speeding up the process whereby Britain is 'sleepwalking towards withdrawal'. It is time to help put some flesh on the bones of the stated desire for reform.
Although the short-term political and economic challenges that the EU faces are formidable, a starting point of the report is that they will be overcome successfully and that the process of European integration will continue. The purpose of the report is to look beyond the immediate concerns of Europe’s present difficulties, to rethink European integration and to put forward some policy options for reform of the EU after the crisis.
The report will focus on five key areas – substance, identity, solidarity, sustainability and legitimacy.
Key questions to be considered include:
How can Europe respond to demographic change and persistent inequalities both within and between member states?
How can the European economy be reinvigorated?
What will Eurozone integration mean for the future of the ‘ins’ and the ‘outs’?
How can the EU re-connect with its citizens and vice versa?
The final report will be completed in autumn 2013 and disseminated in London and Brussels as well as in EU national capitals and Washington DC.
For any questions, please contact Dr. Nathaniel Copsey (firstname.lastname@example.org), Holly Snaith (email@example.com) or Simon J Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Legacies of Thatcherism: A Roundtable
Date: Wednesday, 1st May 2013
Time: 1.00 -2.30 pm
Venue: Room MB 518, Main Building
This is a an event that attempts to bring together both academics and students from different departments, ASG’s and Schools within the University.
The contributors are:
Jim Steeley ABS (financial market changes that occurred between 1979 and 1990 that still impact upon us today)
Jorg Mathias LSS (foreign relations: Falklands, Special Relationship with US, End of Cold War, Start of relations with China( Hong Kong), trouble with Europe. Part of legacy is also her post-premiership book “Statecraft”.)
Philip Easthill (LSS Student) (Thatcher’s legacy on Europe)
John Gaffney LSS (Political legacy, Ideology, Symbolism, and Gender)
Chris Jones (ABS) (The Myth that Margaret Thatcher Saved Britain: An Economic Analysis)
This is an informal event whereby different thoughts on the legacies of Thatcherism will be offered from Politics, IR, European Studies, Economics, Finance… and hopefully much more in the Q&A.