October 18th 2016

The European Union

Muddling through, populism, or new leadership?
Franz Fischler, President of the European Forum Alpbach, former EU Commissioner and former Federal President

As part of the MCI Alumni & Friends lecture series the Entrepreneurial School® was happy to welcome the President of the European Forum Alpbach Franz Fischler. Fischler gave an inspiring talk about his perspective on the current situation of the European Union, titled “The European Union: muddling through, populism, or new leadership?”

According to Fischler, it seems as if “muddling through” – a term coined by Mark Leonard, the founder of the European Council on Foreign Relations in London – has turned into the European Union’s most common method. While the Community method used to dominate in the past, the Lisbon Treaty laid the foundations for numerous special provisions for the European Council, the formal group of the heads of state of all EU member states. As a consequence, the council has increasingly interfered in questions of EU micromanagement and is now no longer solely focused on fundamental questions of the European Union.

This is a hindrance to the progress of the EU and creates a basis for argument for European populists who would favor reversing the integration of the European states. This type of disintegration, however, would mean that the EU became an immovable vehicle whose main goal of a united presence in the global world could not be achieved: only as a global player is it possible to keep up with the other economic powers such as the USA, Japan, or Russia.

Yet also the Community method has the potential to hinder the EU. The former minister of agriculture pointed out that the only foreign policy endeavors that can be implemented are those upon which the EU agrees as a whole. He therefore makes an appeal for the unanimity of Europeans, as a joint foreign policy will otherwise not be possible. Still, he sees the European Community as the ultimate goal. A return to particularism is inconceivable if the European nations aim to play a part in the globalized world.

The lecture was hosted by Hans Herbert Holzamer, a freelance journalist, author, and MCI lecturer. Holzamer recognized a pro-European trend among the pleasingly large number of participants and moderated an animated discussion directly after the lecture.

>>> Einladung