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China, 1978-2013: from one Plenum to another. Reflections on hopes and constraints for reform in the Xi Jingping era

Professor Eric Florence - University of Liège

Madariaga Paper, Vol. 7, No. 7 (July, 2014)

Why is it so difficult to talk about China in a nuanced and contrasting manner without falling back on superlatives and generalisations? In about thirty years, China’s GDP per capita has multiplied by eight. From a marginal economic power during the Maoist period (1949-1978), China is now ranked tenth in terms of global economic weight. “Wealth and power” (fu qiang) is the expression that embodies China’s quest for modernity since the second half of the 19th century, when China was still under the yoke of the West. This ambition is still at the heart of the “Chinese dream of rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” dear to Xi Jinping, which he set out during the Third Plenum of the 18th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party. But focusing only on this vision of “wealth and power” takes us back to one of the most common ways of representing China: reducing the ongoing socio-economic changes and dynamics to a set of numeric values, ultimately reified and homogenised. The increased power and internationalisation of the Chinese economy has prompted a combination of worry and enthusiasm. What does this imply about the paradigm shift in the way we portray this country? Perhaps it is still hard to leave behind the image of a subordinate, poor and voiceless China and consider the Chinese people as, at least, our equals.

  Read the Paper

 
Is Eurosur the Right Response to Lampedusa?
28 April 2014, Brussels, 13:00 - 14:30

Coinciding with the latest in a long series of humanitarian disasters in the Mediterranean, the European Parliament has given the green light to Eurosur, an integrated external border surveillance system combining satellite tracking, drones, intelligence equipment and offshore sensors. The system aims at ensuring better detection of migrant flows by informing the departure countries in real time, preventing smuggling and human trafficking, and improving coordination between different jurisdictions. This is in response to the concerns of Member States who claims to have being "left alone" by Europe in confronting maritime migrant arrivals. However, critical voices argue that the measures focus on issues of border defence rather than rescuing human lives: is Europe breaching its human rights commitments by "externalising" its borders to North African countries which have been repeatedly criticised for their treatment of refugees? Do Eurosur provisions risk giving the same treatment to smugglers, refugees, and asylum-seekers? Should the measures contain explicit reference to rescue operations, or has this the potential to further incentivise migrants to undertake dangerous sea journeys?    

Citizen’s Controversy with Kris Pollet, Senior Legal and Policy Officer at the European Council on Refugees and Exiles, and Oliver Seiffarth, Policy Officer for Eurosur at the DG Home Affairs of the European Commission.  

The debate was moderated by Pierre Defraigne, Executive Director, Madariaga - College of Europe Foundation.

The debate was held in English.

 Report

 
Is Euroscepticism a Blessing?
9 April 2014, Brussels, 13:00 - 14:30

Eurosceptic parties are expected to significantly increase their influence in the next EU Parliament. Despite the lack of uniformity of the anti-Europe parties, who span the political spectrum ranging from the xenophobic and radical right to the anti-establishment movements, the eurosceptic rise is exposing the fault lines of the European response to the crisis. Citizens feel failed by an elite-driven discourse of integration, which according to them is partly responsible for global developments fostering inequalities and weakening the middle class. Is this a step towards institutional paralysis, or is it a sign of healthy democracy? Does this indicate that European citizens are beginning to recognise the EU as a political space influencing their lives, or do elections not leading to government formation necessarily become an occasion to vent issue-specific grievances rather than selecting between different political projects? Will the growing eurosceptic success drive pro-EU parties towards a cartel replacing the left-right divide and therefore alienating citizens even more, or will it be the chance for the pro-EU movement to finally politicise European discourse?  

Citizen’s Controversy with Thomas Klau, Senior Policy Fellow, European Council for Foreign Relations, and Mats Persson, Director of Open Europe.  

The debate was moderated by Pierre Defraigne, Executive Director, Madariaga - College of Europe Foundation.

The debate was held in English.

 Report

 
Eurozone sovereign debt restructuring is unavoidable

Professor John Ryan - Von Hügel Institute, St. Edmund's College.  University of Cambridge

Madariaga Paper, Vol. 7, No. 5 (June, 2014)

Most EU officials and most government officials of eurozone countries officially reject any suggestion of a restructuring of the debt of Greece or Ireland. Rising financial exposure to the troubled countries will raise political resistance against further financial help in the countries granting the assistance, and continuing pressure for ever more austerity demanded in return for external assistance will raise political opposition against adjustment policies in the troubled countries themselves. In the end, this leaves only one route open. Political populist opposition as seen by the recent European Parliament elections has already gathered momentum in creditor and debtor nations and will enforce an end to either austerity or financial assistance and will thus trigger a debt restructuring.

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What Way Ahead for Ukraine?
31 March 2014, Brussels, 13:00 - 14:30

In the aftermath of the Crimean referendum, Ukraine's political destiny seems more uncertain than ever. The new leaders in Kiev are confronted by endogenous and exogenous threats to the country's territorial integrity, and by a desperate economic situation which might call for tough adjustment measures. How can the Euromaidan movement be read in light of the recent political developments, and how representative is it of the Ukrainian people as a whole? In defining its future, is Ukraine forced to make a choice between the EU and Russia, or is there room for it to assert itself as a "bridge state"? Would such an outcome be possible, or the detachment of Crimea will irreversibly radicalise an East-West confrontation? What is at stake in the regional distribution of power?   

Citizen’s Controversy with Aude Merlin, Professor of Post-Soviet Studies at the ULB, and Gunnar Wiegand, Director for Russia, Eastern Partnership, Central Asia, Regional Cooperation and OSCE at the European External Action Service (EEAS).  

The debate was moderated by Pierre Defraigne, Executive Director, Madariaga - College of Europe Foundation.

The debate was held in English.

 Report

 
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Call for Applications

Peace Tour Award for Outstanding Chinese Students in Europe

The Peace Tour Award has been jointly set up by the Madariaga-College of Europe Foundation (MCF) and the Europe-China Cultural and Educational Foundation (ECCEF), the European branch of the Peace Tour Committee - World Famous Chinese Artists Global Painting Peace Tour Committee - in order to grant awards to outstanding Chinese students or researchers studying in the European Union.

Results of the Jury's deliberation will be delivered by the end of July.

The date of Award Ceremony will be made public as soon as possible. 

More info here

 


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