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Envisioning Europe: How is COVID-19 changing Europe as we know it? - Public Lecture by Ivan Krastev

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Dorośli , Młodzież
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The COVID-19 crisis is a human tragedy. It is also an unprecedented social experiment - potentially the largest social experiment we’ll ever witness in our lifetime. And we’re watching it unfold in real time.

In March 2020, the free movement of the EU was temporarily suspended and citizens took shelter beyond the closed borders of their nation state. Democracy was put on hold with emergency legislation rapidly introduced in most European countries. The future of capitalism was quietly in question.

The pandemic locked people away in their homes but it unlocked our political imaginations. Nothing was impossible anymore. The pandemic was both a nationalist moment and European moment at the same time.

As planes grounded and the large polluting corporations halted their production lines, climate activists started to wonder if their dreams of a low-carbon world were achievable. When borders between the EU member states were closed, right-wing populists began to feel that they might never be reopened.

While the voice of the EU was notably quiet in the early stages of the crisis, the pandemic has become more critical for the future of the Union than anything else in its history to date. COVID-19 has brought forward Europe’s “Hamiltonian moment” and has accelerated the process of European integration. However, at the same time, it has forced Europeans to re-think some of the fundamental assumptions on which the European project is built.

How is COVID-19 changing Europe and how is it changing Europe’s role in the world? These are the questions this lecture will address and reflect on.

This lecture is the first in Envisioning Europe series linked to the Conference on the Future of Europe, run by the House of European History, where we invite prominent experts to share insights on the topical issues of Europe.

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Short bio: Ivan Krastev is the chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies and permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences, IWM Vienna.

He is a founding board member of the European Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the Board of Trustees of The International Crisis Group and is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. He is the author of "Is it Tomorrow, Yet? How the Pandemic Changes Europe" (Allen Lane,  2020); The Light that Failed: A Reckoning (Allen Lane, 2019), co-authored with Stephen Holmes - won the 30th Annual Lionel Gelber Prize; “After Europe” (UPenn Press, 2017); “Democracy Disrupted. The Global Politics on Protest” (UPenn Press, 2014) and “In Mistrust We Trust: Can Democracy Survive When We Don't Trust Our Leaders?” (TED Books, 2013). Ivan Krastev is the winner of the Jean Améry Prize for European Essay Writing 2020.


Image credit: IWM