In the largest transnational elections ever, millions of voters across the 27 nations of the European Union (EU) went to the polls from June 4-7 to elect the 736 members of the European parliament. These elections will kick off an intense political season for the EU, which will include the appointment of a new EU commission and a final vote on the Lisbon Treaty in Ireland later this year. These important political developments occur as the global economic crisis has taken its toll on European unity, to the point that some now question if the EU can survive at all.
On June 11, the Center on the United States and Europe at Brookings (CUSE) and the Heinrich Böll Foundation hosted a discussion of the political and economic challenges of the European Union. The first panel looked at the implications of the downturn for the EU and the Eurozone and featured Scheherazade Rehman of the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University; Adam Posen of the Peterson Institute for International Economics; and Clive Crook of the Financial Times. Brookings Senior Fellow Justin Vaisse moderated the discussion. The second panel assessed the results of the recent elections and the consequences for the political life of the EU. Panelists included John Bruton, ambassador of the European Union to the United States; Andrew Moravcsik, professor of politics and director, European Union Program at Princeton University; and Brookings Visiting Fellow Federiga Bindi. Klaus Linsenmeier, executive director of the Heinrich Böll Foundation North America, moderated the discussion. Participants took questions after each panel.
In their recent book, “The New Localism,” Bruce Katz and Jeremy Nowak argue that cities and counties will be tested as never before in the coming years. They will need to innovate and reform—to pursue new strategies for growth and finance—in a fiscal environment dominated by rising health-care and pension costs. In these circumstances, the quality of metropolitan governance will matter more than ever.