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Presented By: Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies

European Horizons Lecture. Europe’s Crisis of Legitimacy: Governing by Rules and Ruling by Numbers in the Eurozone

Vivien A. Schmidt, Jean Monnet Professor of European Integration, professor of international relations and political science, Boston University

Vivien Schmidt Vivien Schmidt
Vivien Schmidt
Although "Brexit" and the refugee crisis have grabbed the headlines, the Eurozone crisis also continues to be of major concern for the European Union. The EU’s comparatively poor economic performance and increasingly volatile politics have combined with its focus on "governing by the rules and ruling by the numbers" in the Eurozone to generate a crisis of democratic legitimacy. Prof. Schmidt theorizes about this legitimacy crisis in terms of problems with "output" policies, "input" politics, and "throughput" processes. She argues that in response to such problems, EU institutional actors—ECB, Council, Commission, and EP—all incrementally reinterpreted the rules and recalibrated the numbers "by stealth," that is, without admitting it in their public discourse. To theorize about such processes of ideational innovation and discursive legitimation during the Eurozone crisis, Prof. Schmidt uses the neo-institutionalist framework of discursive institutionalism.

Vivien A. Schmidt is Jean Monnet Professor of European Integration, professor of international relations and political Science, and founding director of the Center for the Study of Europe at Boston University. Her research focuses on European political economy, institutions, democracy, and political theory. Recent books include "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)—named in 2015 by the European Parliament as one of the 100 Books on Europe to Remember—and "The Futures of European Capitalism" (2002). Schmidt has been a visiting professor at LUISS Guido Carli University in Rome and at the Copenhagen Business School. She has also been a visiting professor or scholar at Sciences Po in Paris, the Free University of Berlin, the Free University of Brussels, the European University Institute, Oxford University, Cambridge University, and Warwick University, among others. She is past head of the European Union Studies Association (EUSA) and sits on the advisory boards of the Wissenschaft Zentrum Berlin, the Vienna Institute for Peace, and the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (Brussels). She has published ten books, over 100 scholarly journal articles or chapters in books, and numerous policy briefs and comments, most recently on the Eurozone crisis. Her current work focuses on democratic legitimacy in Europe, with a special focus on the challenges resulting from the Eurozone crisis, and on methodological theory, in particular on the importance of ideas and discourse in political analysis (discursive institutionalism).

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