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Envisioning Europe: The Europe of European Integration and its Vicissitudes; Past, Present and Future

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Online Debate
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The Europe of European Integration and its Vicissitudes; Past, Present and Future.

This lecture will be on the past, present and future of the Europe of European integration and the trans-Atlantic West. Is there still a future for the multilateral Western world? – This world that emerged as of the early 1940s, against the backdrop of a pitch-black history of two world wars and the great depression. To what extent are the hopes, successes and promises of 'embedded liberalism' (Ruggie, 1982), and the connected concept of a 'social market' in the Europe of European integration, still credible? In this lecture Mathieu Segers will assess from both an economic and (geo)political perspective. Moreover,  he will take on board a broader and longer, more diachrone, history of European integration, as the common understanding of the history of European integration obfuscates much of the strong bonds to pre-1950, western-wide, phenomena and episodes in contemporary international history. The over-arching theme to which this lecture alludes is that one question, which always gives rise to disquiet: what is Europe? After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Jacques Derrida wrote: 'Old Europe seems to have exhausted all the possibilities of discourse and counter-discourse about its own identification'. That still is true. And yet this soul-searching is the only certainty that Europe and the Europeans must hold on to. This lecture is another exercise in that old European tradition, linked to the current state of affairs in and around today's European Union.

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Mathieu Segers (1976) is Professor of Contemporary European History and European Integration at Maastricht University (UM). In addition, he holds the EuropaChair of UM, in which capacity he chairs the Academic Board of the UM-wide ‘Maastricht, Working on Europe’ (MWoE) program (executed through Studio Europa Maastricht). Segers was a Fulbright-Schuman Fellow at the Center for European Studies of Harvard University (2010) and Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Politics and IR at the University of Oxford (2013). He has held the position of Assistant/Associate Professor of European Integration and International Relations at Utrecht University from 2008-2016, after which he joined UM and served as Dean of University College Maastricht from 2016-2020. 

His research focuses on the history and pre-history of European integration and trans-Atlantic relations and current European and EU affairs. Segers published scholarly articles and books in renowned international journals (Journal of Common Market Studies, Contemporary European History, The International History Review, Journal of Cold War Studies, Journal of European Integration History, etc.). He published several books, but also policy reports, amongst others as a staff member of the Dutch Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR). His book on The Netherlands and European integration – Reis naar het continent. Nederland en de Europese Integratie 1950 tot heden (Prometheus) – won the Dutch prize for best political book in 2013 and was re-published in an updated version in 2019 and in English translation with Amsterdam University Press in 2020 (The Netherlands and European Integration, 1950 to Present). 

Currently Segers acts as general editor of the Cambridge History of the European Union (to be published in 2023) and co-leads the interdisciplinary NWO funded research project ‘Blueprints of Hope: Designing Post-War Europe; Ideas, Emotions, Networks and Negotiations (1930-1963)’, for which he writes the synthesizing monograph. In addition, Segers is a regular commentator on European affairs in Dutch and international media, and a columnist for Het Financieele Dagblad and De Groene Amsterdammer and produces the podcast Café Europa.

Moderation by Prof. Ludger Kühnhardt, Director at the Center for European Integration Studies (ZEI) at Bonn University and Professor of Political Science at Bonn University. He has extended political and academic consultancy experience, among others for the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, the President of the European Parliament, the Parliament of the West African Economic Community (ECOWAS), the West Africa Institute (WAI), the European Humanities University and the German Catholic Bishop’s Conference. 

Introduction by Dr. Constanze Itzel, Museum Director, House of European History.

In the light of the Conference on the Future of Europe, the House of European History is organising an online lecture series entitled ‘Envisioning Europe.’ From 22 June 2021 to 19 July 2022, the museum will share its floor with 12 prominent historians to exchange insights into Europe past and present. Voices from outside Europe will also contribute to contextualising this dialogue with external perspectives. Each lecture includes a moderated Q&A session.