BAD WINE IN A STURDY BOTTLE: HOW EUROPE BECAME A PLACE OF DYSFUNCTIONAL RESILIENCE
Thursday, February 12, 2015
12.30 – 2.00pm
University Hall, (to the right if facing the clock tower at Henry Hicks) Dalhousie University
Globe and Mail columnist
This is a terrible moment for Europe: a currency crisis created rising inequality and a "lost generation," ethnic and religious conflict is at record levels, including in the political system; national conflicts are shattering established countries; and something resembling the Cold War has taken shape on the continent's eastern flank. Yet at the same time, Europe's institutions are proving more resilient than ever, to the point that outsiders are clambering to join them. The crisis in Ukraine, after all, is one centred around one country's struggle to become an EU member; Turks have recently revived their public interest in doing so, and the Balkan states have become moderate out of a desire to join. The euro zone crisis -- the continent's worst economic emergency in seven decades -- failed to metastasize into a political crisis in any country. Extremist views have not managed to rise to the level of government, or even main opposition, in any country. A region fraught with crisis has managed to avoid turning any crisis into an existential one in large part because its much-derided institutions have worked -- and they have worked at the ground level. Doug Saunders, who has reported extensively from all 28 EU member countries and most of their periphery states, describes a continent where dizzying destabilization is combined with an eerie sense of stability -- and what lessons can be taken from this dilemma.