Europe After the Pandemic
The Covid-19 pandemic marked the real beginning of the 21st century, turning the face of Europe abruptly towards the future. The political challenge presented by Covid-19 confronted European leaders with a strategic choice: either fight to preserve a globalised world of open borders or work towards a softer version of de-globalisation. At the end of the day, they ended up doing both. The great paradox of Covid-19 is that it was the European Union’s failure rather than success in demonstrating its relevance that urged European governments to opt for deeper integration. Similarly, social distancing has brought about the opening of the European mind. Covid-19 has infected the world with cosmopolitanism, while turning states against globalisation.
Ivan Krastev is the chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies and a 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 a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. He is the author of Is it Tomorrow, Yet? How the Pandemic Changes Europe (in German by Ullstein, June 2020; in English by Penguin, October 2020); The Light that Failed: A Reckoning (Allen Lane, 2019), co-authored with Stephen Holmes and awarded 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.
Every year, Maastricht University and the City of Maastricht jointly organise this lecture in commemoration of Robert Schuman and the Treaties of Rome (1957) and Maastricht (1992). Robert Schuman (1886-1963) was the French Minister of Foreign Affairs and co-founder of the European Union.