Schmidt Chairs Conversation on EU Response to COVID-19

May 11, 2020

Professor Vivien Schmidt, Jean Monnet Professor of European Integration and Professor of International Relations and Political Science at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, led a discussion the European Central Bank, European Council, European Commission, and European Parliament are responding to the existential challenges facing the European Union during the coronavirus pandemic. This seminar was part of a series of events which explored COVID-19 from a transatlantic perspective. It was co-sponsored by the Harvard University’s Center for European Studies and the Belfer Center’s Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship at Harvard’s Kennedy School.

The conversation took place on April 29, 2020, and featured Sergey Lagodinsky, Member of the European Parliament, Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, and André Sapir, Senior Fellow at Bruegel and Professor at the Université libre de Bruxelles.

An excerpt:

Vivien Schmidt: I’m just actually going to just ask you to follow up on your reference to questions of rule of law and democracy and ask a more general question about what is the EP doing about issues? And what can be done more generally about issues of lack of respect for rule of law, for the dismantling of the institutions of liberal democracy in countries, not only Hungry but also Poland and possibly other parts of Central and Eastern Europe in particular?

Sergey Lagodinsky: The EP is doing what is best at doing: issuing resolutions. But, that can be quite a sign because the Commission is very timid in terms of addressing and criticizing the last package that we saw in Hungary and also there were quite timid in terms of Poland, but today it’s changed…We have problems and questions with Romania, we have questions with Bulgaria, and we have from different perspective also questions with Germany, for example, regarding freedom of assembly. Or, if we’re talking about data protection and privacy, we have questions with Poland where the COVID app is mandatory for many citizens. And this is just one example of many others. So, we are concerned, very much concerned, about this tricky balance between, we used to say, security and freedom and liberty. Now it’s probably health and liberty.

A recording of the event and transcript can be found here.

Vivien Schmidt is Professor of International Relations and Jean Monnet Professor of European Integration at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies and was the first Director of BU’s Center for the Study of Europe, housed at the Pardee School. Her latest books include the forthcoming Europe’s Crisis of Legitimacy: Governing by Rules and Ruling by Numbers in the Eurozone (2019), Resilient Liberalism in Europe’s Political Economy (co-edited, 2013), Debating Political Identity and Legitimacy in the European Union (co-edited, 2011), Democracy in Europe (2006), and The Futures of European Capitalism (2002). She was recently named a Chevalier in the French Legion of Honor. Read more about her here.

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