Past Event

The Future of Europe: Is Europe Democratic?

January 26, 2021
1:00 PM - 2:15 PM
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LIVE VIRTUAL DEBATE | 1pm (New York) | 7pm (Paris)

Participants in this session will discuss democratic participation in Europe, with a focus on the EU institutions (the so-called "democratic deficit") and on the EU's response to challenges to democracy within member states. 

Join Nadia Urbanati (Columbia), Ivan Krastev (Centre for Liberal Strategies), and Rui Tavares (writer, former EU Parliament member), in a debate moderated by Yves Meny (Academia Europaea). 

This discussion is part of the series “Debating the Future of Europe,” organized by Columbia Global Centers | Paris, the European Institute and the Alliance Program.

Co-sponsored by: Columbia Alumni Association,Columbia Maison FrançaiseColumbia University Libraries, the Institute for Ideas and ImaginationEuropean Legal Studies Center at Columbia Law SchoolLe Grand ContinentLa Maison de l'Europe de Paris,and Sciences Po American Foundation. With additional support from the Erasmus + programme of the European Union and the Advisory Board of the Paris Global Center.


Nadia Urbinati

Nadia Urbinati (Ph.D., European University Institute, Florence, 1989) is Kyriakos Tsakopoulos Professor of Political Theory at Columbia University. A political theorist who specializes in modern and contemporary political thought and the democratic and anti-democratic traditions, she co-chaired the Columbia University Faculty Seminar on Political and Social Thought and was a co-editor with Andrew Arato of the academic journal Constellations: An International Journal of Critical and Democratic Theory. She is a member of the Executive Committee of the Foundation Reset Dialogues on Civilization.

She has been a member of the School of Social Sciences of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University, and a Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Fellowship in the University Center for Human Values, Princeton University. She is permanent visiting professor at the Scuola Superiore de Studi Universitari e Perfezionamento Sant'Anna of Pisa (Italy), and taught at Bocconi University (Milan), SciencesPo (Paris) and the University UNICAMP (Brazil).

She is the winner of the 2008-9 Lenfest/Columbia Distinguished Faculty Award. In 2008 the President of the Italian Republic awarded Professor Urbinati the Commendatore della Repubblica (Commander of the Italian Republic) "for her contribution to the study of democracy and the diffusion of Italian liberal and democratic thought abroad."

Ivan Krastev

Ivan Krastev (1965, Lukovit/Bulgaria) is chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia, and Permanent Fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna (IWM). From May to December 2019 he has been awarded a Mercator Senior Fellowship. Beyond that, is a founding board member of the European Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the global advisory board of Open Society Foundations, New York, and a member of the advisory council of the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) and the European Cultural Foundation (ECF). He is also associate editor of Europe’s World and a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Democracy and Transit – Europäische Revue. From 2004 to 2006 Ivan Krastev has been the executive director of the International Commission on the Balkans chaired by the former Italian Prime Minister Giuliano Amato. He was the editor-in-chief of the Bulgarian Edition of Foreign Policy and was a member of the Council of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, London (2005-2011).  He has held fellowships at St. Antony’s College  (Oxford); the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars (Washington, D.C.); the Collegium Budapest; the Wissenschaftskolleg (Berlin); the Institute of Federalism at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland); and the Remarque Institute at New York University.

Rui Tavares

Rui Tavares (Lisbon, 1972) is a historian, newspaper columnist and a former Member of the European Parliament. He served on its Committee of Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs where he was rapporteur on issues of rule of law, fundamental rights and the EU’s refugee policy. Tavares holds a PhD from the School of Advanced Studies in Social Sciences in Paris, obtained with a dissertation on censorship in the 18th century. Among many other titles he published "The Short Book of the Great Earthquake" (tinta-da-china), which won an award for the best Portuguese non-fiction book of 2005. Tavares writes weekly at the Portuguese newspaper Público. His latest book is the essay "The Irony of the European Project" (tinta-da-china). He is co-founder of the Portuguese political party LIVRE and of the pan-European network “Ulysses Project”.


Yves Mény

Yves Mény has been President of the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. He is a graduate in Law and obtained his PhD in Political Science in 1973. His career has taken him worldwide and he has been a Visiting Professor at many universities including New York, Seattle, Mexico, Paris, Madrid, Rome and Bologna. In 1993 he was appointed Director of the newly-founded interdisciplinary Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies at the European University Institute in Florence Professor Mény has been a member of numerous editorial committees, including Journal of Common Market Studies, South European Society and Politics and of the Journal of Public Policy, Stato e Mercato, and Administration and Society. He sits on many research committees, including the Review Panel for the Swiss National Science Foundation. He is a member of the Bureau of Political Advisers, set up by the President of the European Commission. His main areas of expertise are comparative politics, public policy, European Union affairs, and political and administrative institutions.


From October 2020-March 2021,  the “Debating the Future of Europe” series presents twelve online programs on six important questions facing Europe today:

Oct 6/13: How Can Europe Achieve Social Justice?

Nov 10/17: Are Europe and America Drifting Apart?

Dec 8/15: Can the EU Lead the Fight Against Climate Change?

Jan 19/26: Is Europe Democratic?

Feb 2/9: Is There a European Identity?

Mar 2/9: Can Europe Be Sovereign?

The six issues are explored in two programs apiece, an interview in French followed a week later by a moderated discussion in English. The twelve programs feature a mix of leading scholars from Columbia who specialize on European affairs and prominent creative writers, intellectuals, scholars, and journalists from the EU.