(Re)designing Europe led by George Papandreou

A study group led by IOP FELLOW, George Papandreou
Mondays, 4:00-5:30pm, L166

WEEK ONE:  Date:  Sep. 24, 2012

The Eurozone Experiment
Europe is an historical experiment designed to ensure peace and prevent the continued conflicts on this continent, which led to two World Wars and the Holocaust during the last century. The boundaries of this experiment have been tested as the financial crisis morphed into a sovereign debt crisis. Greece took center stage in these developments.
But was this a Greek crisis, or are there flaws in the design of Europe, or is this a much wider crisis of the industrialized economies?
Bringing you my personal experience around the Greek debt crisis and the decisions we made in the European Union, we will explore what this crisis is all about.
I hope to link what is happening in Europe to wider issues that also pertain to the ongoing debate in the US.
Possible questions to explore:

Is this really a sovereign debt crisis, or is there something we are missing?
Is the European experience relevant to the US?
Is the US experience relevant to the EU?


    WEEK TWO: Date, Oct. 15, 2012

    Europe – A Solution to Global Challenges
    Europe began as a peace project, linking different cultures, languages and sovereign states to a common future. Yet today this experiment of cooperation and interdependency is challenged to show whether or not it can become a model for dealing with global problems at the regional level.
    Possible questions to explore:

    How far can nations go alone in dealing effectively with global issues?
    Why we need to cooperate on issues such as the financial crisis, global warming, the new role of the emerging economies, migration and poverty?
    How are these issues and their solutions possibly linked?
    Do we have the global institutions to cooperate effectively?
    Looking at Europe could it become a model for other regions in dealing with these issues?

      WEEK THREE: Date, Oct. __, 2012

      How has Europe fared as a peace project?
      Europe continues to play an important role as a peace project today.
      It seems to have been effective in integrating disparate nations and cultures into a common union. Today the EU is 28 countries after Croatia’s accession. I like to label it a family of common values.

      At the same time the recent crisis in Europe has questioned both these values of understanding -beyond borders- and Europe’s capability to further enlarge in membership or to positively influence events in its neighborhood.
      From my experience in working in the Balkans, on Greek and EU/Turkey relations, the Arab neighborhood, we will try to explore the following questions:

      How does the financial crisis and the internal debate in Europe affect the Arab Spring?
      Is Europe capable of and should Europe continue to enlarge to the Western Balkans and Turkey?
      What is the role Europe can and is playing in the Mid-East, Russia, and with Iran? Is European soft power effective?

        WEEK FOUR: Date, Oct. __, 2012

        Europe as a social project – how relevant?
        Recent statements by officials have proclaimed that the European social model is dead!

        The financial and the sovereign debt crisis have exacerbated this debate.
        In Greece, Spain and other EU countries we are witnessing unprecedented unemployment. Youth unemployment has reached 50%.
        We will therefore explore some of the following questions:

        Is the European social model to blame for the sovereign debt?
        Will austerity make our economies competitive?
        Is high unemployment our destiny in major parts of the industrialized world?
        What are the alternatives? We will examine the Nordic model in looking at viable alternatives.

          WEEK FIVE: Date, Nov.__, 2012

          And what about Democracy?
          As we face global challenges we also face a politics beyond our borders. We face a globalized economy of many opportunities but few rules and regulations. Certainly little democratic accountability. Whether it is tax havens or labor laws, environmental issues or poverty, wealth production but also concentration of wealth, our human race seems to have the capacity today to solve these issues. Yet our democracies have been based on national institutions. And this seems to have disempowered us creating deep inequalities.

          From personal experience in dealing with the financial crisis I believe that the European experiment begs the questions of how we can have democracy beyond national borders.
          We will explore some of the following questions:

            Who decides in a globalized economy? From lobbies to corruption.
            Is Democracy beyond borders possible?
            How do our citizens participate? From the internet to referenda: experience from Greece
            Can our national institutions stand up to the pressures and concentration of power and wealth in the hands of a few in the globalized world? Do institutions matter?
            Can a youth frustrated with traditional politics bring creative answers through new technology? Beyond borders? Or will we revert to introversion, nationalisms and fundamentalisms?

          WEEK SIX: Date to be determined

          Let’s Redesign Europe - An exercise (radio/podcast program at IOC)
          Is politics creative? Innovative? If so I ask you to come forth to (re)design a Europe worthy of its citizen’s expectations and effective in dealing with global issues. In doing so we may want to open up this discussion for innovative ideas through a study group’s podcast (if students are interested)

          We would therefore explore:

            What would be the basic values this union should rest upon
            How do we create structures that ensure democratic, accountable rule beyond borders? What is (on the other hand) the role of local democracy, action and civic participation?
            How big should this club become?
            Who should pay for this project?
            What kind of European identity? In a multicultural world how do we strengthen a sense of commonality while reveling in our diversity? (What does this mean for education, culture, religion, ethnicity, history & migration)
            Can we learn anything from the Ancient Athenian Democratic Polis?