Vivien Schmidt’s new book – Europe’s Crisis of Legitimacy: Governing by Rules and Ruling by Numbers in the Eurozone – is now available from Oxford University Press.
On Friday, May 22, the Center for the Study of Europe at Boston University hosted an online workshop on "Russian Media Influence in the US and Europe. It has become an established narrative in International Relations that Russia under President Putin operates with a Grand Strategy to undermine Western hegemony, giving rise to the concern over systematic Russian interference in the US after the election of President Trump in 2016. In this workshop, Elizaveta Kuznetsova and Heidi Erbsen present ongoing research with empirical insights countering this common perception.
Kuznetsova, a Visiting Researcher at the Center, in a discussion of Russia's international TV network RT, argues that contrary to the claims of Russian Grand Strategy, RT’s actions are driven by short-term tactics without an overarching goal behind its operations abroad. She showcases how these methods of persuasion have emerged out of the Soviet kontrpropaganda tradition and guide the channel’s activities today. Amid ideological vacuum in Putin’s Russia, she says, RT mainly attempts to ‘muddle through’ the changing political environment.
Heidi Erbsen, a research fellow at the University of Tartu in Estonia, presents an analysis of whether international news media are creating a common information space for Russian speaking groups in the European Union. She addresses the idea of an imagined and heterogeneous information space for native-Russian speakers and conceptualizes how individual media practices navigate and relate to more hegemonic international news media narratives.
The discussion is moderated by Vesko Garčević, Professor of the Practice of International Relations at Boston University's Pardee School of Global Studies and former Ambassador of Montenegro in Brussels (NATO) and Vienna (OSCE). Also taking part in the conversation are Igor Lukes, Professor of International Relations and History; Alya Guseva, Associate Professor of Sociology; Daniela Caruso, Director of the Center; and Vitali Shkliarov, Visiting Researcher at Harvard University's Davis Center.
Solidarity at the Time of COVID-19: A Conversation with João Fins do Lago, Consul General of Portugal in Boston
On Tuesday, May 14, we had the pleasure of speaking with the Consul General of Portugal in Boston João Pedro de Vasconcelos Fins do Lago for what was the eighth installment in a series of interviews with European Consuls General on the theme of “Solidarity at the Time of COVID-19.” Our interest in this series of conversations has been to explore the concept of solidarity through the lens of the coronavirus pandemic as it has unfolded across Europe. Sofia Perez, Associate Professor of Political Science at Boston University, conducted the interview.
Consul General Fins do Lago began by talking about the way the work of the Portuguese Consulate has been transformed by coronavirus and the solidaristic response by all of the European Consulates in Boston, in particular, in the repatriation of European citizens. He dismissed media concerns over lack of solidarity in Europe in response to the pandemic, noting that the temporary reintroduction of border controls across Europe was by consensus and in accordance with EU regulations. He cited as well numerous examples of cooperation from joint procurement to burden sharing. He then talked about his own country’s relative success in managing the pandemic, noting in particular Portugal’s preparedness thanks to its regained financial stability, its commitment to healthcare as a right, and the opportunity to observe the crisis unfolding in other countries before it reached Portugal. He was optimistic about Europe’s future and said he looks forward to the reopening of the Schengen borders.
On Saturday, May 9 (Europe's Day) the Center for the Study of Europe at BU's Pardee School of Global Studies hosted a lecture by Prof. Dr. Chiara Zilioli, ECB General Counsel, on the theme Europe at the Time of COVID-19: A View from the European Central Bank.
Daniela Caruso, Director of the Center for the Study of Europe, served as discussant, along with BU colleagues Prof. Vivien Schmidt, Professor of International Relations and Political Science, and Dr. Steffen Murau, Visiting Researcher at the Global Development Policy Center of the Pardee School of Global Studies.
Among other topics, Prof. Dr. Zilioli talked about the establishment of the ECB, its mandate and limits, and what it can and cannot do in response to challenges facing the European Union today, most notably, the coronavirus pandemic. On the basis of this analysis, she then proceeded to examine the decision issued by the German Federal Constitutional Court on May 5, 2020, highlighting certain problematic aspects of this recent judgment.
A video of her lecture, which took place via Webex, can be found below as well as on our YouTube channel. Please note that the video begins promptly after a brief introduction at min. 3:05.
Solidarity at the Time of COVID-19: A Conversation with Nicole Menzenbach, Consul General of Germany to New England
This conversation between Nicole Menzenbach, Consul General of Germany to New England, and Joe Wippl, Professor of the Practice of International Relations at the Pardee School of Global Studies, was recorded last Thursday, April 30. It is the seventh in a series of interviews we have been conducting with European Consuls General in Boston on the theme of Solidarity at the Time of COVID-19. Our interest has been to explore the various approaches to material solidarity taken by different European countries in response to the coronavirus pandemic from our unique vantage point in Boston.
In this conversation, Prof. Wippl asked Consul General Menzenbach about Germany’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. In particular, he asked about the reasons why Germany has fared somewhat better than other European countries. To begin with, Menzenbach discussed Germany’s advantage in being hit later than Italy and having therefore more time to implement the necessary measures. She then emphasized the importance of a strong welfare state, in particular as regards education and healthcare. Germany’s culture of solidarity, she noted, is exemplified by the “Kurzarbeit,” a state-regulated system of unemployment insurance which distributes the losses from the economic downturn between employers, employees, and government. Menzenbach touched on the problem for democracy posed by social distancing. She concluded her remarks by emphasizing Germany’s commitment to Europe, stating that the stability of the European economy is in Germany’s own interest. The coronavirus, she said, has made it clearer than ever that the nations of Europe, Germany included, need each other.
Solidarity at the Time of COVID-19: A Conversation with Laoise Moore, Consul General of Ireland to New England
This conversation with Laoise Moore, Consul General of Ireland to New England, is the sixth in as series of interviews we have been conducting with European Consul Generals in Boston on the theme of Solidarity at the Time of COVID-19. The aim of the series is to explore the various responses to the coronavirus pandemic, and in particular, the various approaches to material solidarity, in different European countries.
In this conversation, Laoise Moore discusses the effects of the pandemic on her work with the large Irish community in Boston and the challenge she and her team have had finding new ways to achieve their objectives. Then she outlines the response to the virus in Ireland – a country where a culture of solidarity has long prevailed – and emphasizes her nation's commitment to maintaining an open border with Northern Ireland in spite of the pandemic. Speaking about the importance of solidarity at EU level she says, “Coronavirus is bigger than anyone of us; it is bigger than any member state. If we are going to beat this and come out of it and prosper and thrive in the future, we’re all going to have to take steps together.” Overall, she expresses confidence in the EU, noting that while discussions among the 27 member states are contentious, compromise ensues.
Solidarity at the Time of COVID-19: A Conversation with Arnaud Mentré, Consul General of France in Boston
We're delighted to share the latest interview in our ongoing series of conversations on Solidarity at the Time of COVID-19.The series explores the response to the coronavirus emergency in various European countries through the lens of privileged observers: the Consuls General assigned to represent their home countries in the City of Boston. Earlier today, Vivien Schmidt, Jean Monnet Professor of European Integration at Boston University and founding director of the Center for the Study of Europe, spoke with French Consul General Arnaud Mentré. Consul General Mentré spoke about the need for transparency and information sharing among affected countries. He noted the solidarity exhibited by French citizens in response to the strict measures imposed by French President Emmanuel Macron, and placed particular emphasis on intergenerational solidarity. He commended the response of the EU to date, especially in comparison to its response to the financial crisis of 2008, despite the EU’s lack of competence in matters of health policy. Among other things, Consul General Mentré noted how all the states in the Schengen area consented to close the area’s external borders to all non-essential travel. In light of this and other manifestations of convergence, Mentré expressed his optimism for the future of Europe.
Yesterday afternoon, Joseph Wippl, Professor of the Practice of International Relations, spoke to Pardee School colleague Igor Lukes, Professor of History and International Relations and Honorary Consul General of the Czech Republic in Boston, about the Czech response to the coronavirus pandemic sweeping Europe and much of the world. Prof. Lukes described how the Czech Republic, given its national character, was uniquely prepared to respond the coronavirus, and why it may be weathering the crisis better than most. He talked about how crises tend to tear masks off not only individuals but also nations and politicians and how we can see that happening now. He described how the virus has underscored the need for the sort of camaraderie and cooperation among nations that the EU facilitates. Nevertheless, he remains worried about a populist resurgence once the worst has passed, hints of which can be seen in the criticisms being leveled at the EU by some European nation states, including the Czech Republic.
Please be sure to check out our conversations with the Greek Consul General Stratos Efthymiou (interviewed by Vesko Garčević) and Italian Consul General Federica Sereni (interviewed by Daniela Caruso) and British Consul General Harriet Cross (interviewed by Graham Wilson). Tomorrow, Prof. Vivien Schmidt will interview the French Consul General Arnaud Metré.
Solidarity at the time of COVID-19: A Conversation with Harriet Cross, British Consul General to New England
Our series of conversations with European Consuls General on Solidarity at the Time of COVID-19 continued yesterday afternoon. Graham Wilson, Professor of Political Science and Director of Boston University's Initiative on Cities, interviewed Harriet Cross, British Consul General to New England. Harriet Cross has been a member of Her Majesty’s Diplomatic Service for 20 years. Before becoming British Consul General to New England in 2016, she served as Deputy Ambassador at the British Embassy in Yemen. The ongoing conflict there compelled her to organize the evacuation of the Embassy and she subsequently spent the rest of her posting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. While discussing the challenges she and her team have faced in responding to the coronavirus pandemic, Harriet Cross also shared her impressions of Boston and its specialness. Enjoy the interview!
Be sure to view previous conversations with the Greek Consul General Stratos Efthymiou (interviewed by Vesko Garčević) and Italian Consul General Federica Sereni (interviewed by Daniela Caruso) and stay tuned for next week's conversations with Czech Honorary Consul General Igor Lukes (interviewed by Joe Wippl) and French Consul General Arnaud Metré (interviewed by Vivien Schmidt).
The Center for the Study of Europe announces A Series of Conversations with Several European Consuls General in Boston: Solidarity at the Time of COVID-19.
The COVID-19 epidemic has had a devastating impact in Europe. All the levels of government – local, regional, national, or supranational – have been involved in the task of fighting the invisible enemy that has destroyed many lives and upended entire economic sectors. Some countries have been hit with particular vehemence, and their plight for solidarity has stirred intense moral and political debates within each European nation and across state borders. In this series of interviews, the Center for the Study of Europe of Boston University’s Pardee School of Global Studies explores the response to the corona virus emergency in various European countries through the lens of privileged observers: the Consuls General assigned to represent their home countries in the City of Boston. The various interviews range in scope and length depending on the features of each country, on the personality of each Consul, on the extent to which local consulates are allowed to participate in political discussions online, and on the preference of the interviewers (all faculty members at Boston University). The result is, we believe, an important contribution to the understanding of Europe’s current predicaments and its various approaches to material solidarity in times of emergency. It’s been an honor and a privilege to run this series.
Kicking off the series on Monday, April 13, Vesko Garcivic, Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations at BU's Pardee School of Global Studies, interviewed Stratos Efthymiou, Consul General of Greece in Boston.
Later that day, Daniela Caruso, Professor of Law and Director of the Center for the Study of Europe, spoke with Italian Consul General Federica Sereni.
To view the upcoming conversations, please visit our YouTube channel.