The EU is failing Europe’s citizens

Tuesday 4 July 2017, 7.30pm | PODCAST NOW ONLINE

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In the eyes of pro-Europeans, the founding of the EU after WWII secured peace across the continent for decades. It cemented a lasting friendship between France and Germany, brought freedom to Greece and Spain and later on introduced the free market to Eastern Bloc countries which had been suffering under totalitarian rule. Today, EU citizens are able to live, work and travel across the continent without hindrance, while the European single market remains the world’s largest free trading bloc. The European project may not be perfect, but it has brought its citizens together and fostered prosperity.

That’s the view of the starry-eyed Europhiles. But one needn’t look further than Brexit to see that the EU is teetering on the edge. Who knows which country will be next to leave? If Macron’s presidency fails, Marine Le Pen could be well-placed to win in 2022 and fulfil her promise to drag France out of Europe. And that’s not to mention Brussels’ shambolic response to the refugee and Eurozone crises, and its failure to tackle the crisis of the rule of law in Eastern Europe. The EU is bureaucratic, elitist and undemocratic, and is now reaping the whirlwind of populism and discontent.

By showing itself blind to the concerns of ordinary people and incapable of reform, has the European Union failed its citizens? Or does Macron’s victory mean we should ignore the doomsayers and march ahead with more European integration?

Intelligence Squared is delighted to present its inaugural event in Berlin on 4th July with a fascinating discussion of the European project and its future. Join our illustrious panel of experts, hear their arguments and have your say.

Speakers for the motion

Leader of the opposition party in Bulgaria. He formerly served as deputy Prime Minister in Bulgaria and latterly as the Minister of Justice resigning in 2015 after the Bulgarian Parliament blocked legislation for justice reform. He has a master of laws from the University of Sofia and has a particular interest in the prevention of corruption, judicial reform and the rule of law in Eastern Europe. He previously worked at the American Bar Association coordinating legal and justice reform projects under their rule of law initiative.

Professor of International Relations and director of the Center for International Studies at the University of Oxford, and previously associate professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She is a founding member of the Spinelli Group whose goal is “a federal and post-national Europe, a Europe of the citizens”. She has acted as advisor to the Greek government on European affairs and to the Dutch presidency of the EU, and has worked with the European Commission on its White Paper on Governance. She is a graduate of Sciences-Po in Paris and received her PhD from Harvard.

Speakers against the motion

Nick Clegg

Deputy Prime Minister of the UK from 2010 to 2015 and leader of the Liberal Democrat party in the UK for eight years from 2007. He has been the Liberal Democrat MP for Sheffield Hallam since 2005, and is now the party’s European Union spokesperson. His most recent book, Politics: Between the Extremes, is part memoir and part call to arms on the need to reform political institutions in the UK and restore belief in the values of liberalism.

Josef Janning

Senior policy fellow and director of the Berlin office for the influential think tank European Council on Foreign Relations. He is a leading political scientist and researcher in Germany, specialising in German foreign policy, EU policy and EU integration. He has acted as adviser to the German Government on European affairs and is a regular contributor to German and international media.


Katya Adler

BBC Europe Editor.


Speakers are subject to change.