July 5, 2012 - Training

L’Europe peut-elle encore influencer le monde ?

For several years, the European Union has been subject to harsh criticism. In less than a decade, it has gone from being considered history’s greatest success in regional cooperation and an exemplary zone of peace and prosperity to a continent viewed as being in decline and served by institutions that have proven unable to manage the economic crisis or respond to citizens’ expectations. Alongside China’s breakneck economic growth and the challenge posed by the Arab revolutions, the psychodrama of the Euro zone and the rise of extreme right movements in many E.U. countries have served to highlight the difficulties many European societies face in managing the transformations that have radically altered their environment. One need only look at the titles of recent essays and articles on Europe to take stock of the Zeitgeist: The Decline and Fall of Europe, by Richard Youngs; Europe as a Small Power by Asle Toje; The Coming Erosion of the European Union by Stephen Walt; The Decline of Europe by Walter Laqueur… Andrew Moravcsik and Jeremy Rifkin must feel quite alone with their "Europe as superpower" and "European Dream"… which, it must be acknowledged, are already somewhat dated. For most observers, the balance of powers that is taking shape in this beginning of the 21st Century will not be easy on Europeans. This discussion aims to evaluate to what extent the multiple (and often contradictory) statements made about the decline of the EU and the new balance of powers are well founded.


Frédéric Mérand
is a professor in the political science department of the Université de Montréal, guest professor of European Studies at the LUISS Guido Carli University in Rome, assistant director of the European Union Centre of Excellence (Université de Montréal/McGill) and assistant director of the Centre for International Peace and Security Studies (Université de Montréal/McGill). He is associate publisher of Politique européenne, the only peer-reviewed French-language journal dedicated to the European Union. His work on European security, political networks, transatlantic relations and the sociology of the European Union has been published in such journals as Security Studies, the Journal of Common Market Studies, Comparative European Politics and Cooperation and Conflict.


Christophe Chowanietz (holder of a doctorate in political science from the Université de Montréal and an M.Sc. in international relations from the London School of Economics) is currently a member of the Canada Research Chair in Electoral Studies (Université de Montréal). His research deals with political parties and the behaviour of elites and electors in periods of national and international crisis.


To dowload the presentation, please click here.


Mandatory readings:

  • Krotz, Ulrich. 2009. « Momentum and Impediments : Why Europe Won’t Emerge as a Full Political Actor on the World Stage Soon ». Journal of Commons Markets Studies, vol 47, n°3, 555-578.
  • Howorth, Jolyon. 2010. « The EU as a Global Actor : Grand Strategy for a Global Grand Bargain ? ». Journal of Commons Markets Studies, vol 48, n°3, 455-474.

This conference is part of the Summer School «Europe in crises» (2-7 July 2012).

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Université de Montréal - McGill University