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European Crisis Conference, 14-15 June, Newnham College

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Pierre Bocquillon.

You are cordially invited to attend an international conference on the European financial, economic and political crisis, to be held in Newnham College, Cambridge, Jane Harrison room, on Thursday 14 and Friday 15 June.

This workshop, which is organized by the European Research Group of the Departement of POLIS , in cooperation with the Departments of Sociology and Development Studies, aims to gather both renowned specialists from various backgrounds to discuss different aspects of the current crisis: economic causes, financial negotiations, political impact of the crisis, socio-economic impact of austerity.

The conference includes an opening discussion with Elena Panaritis, Greek MP (2009-2012) and former economist at the IMF and World Bank (Thursday 14, 17.00) as well as three panels (Friday 15, 9-15.30). A buffet lunch will be provided.

All are welcome!

Pierre Bocquillon, for the European research Group

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Thursday 14th June

5pm Opening Discussion

Elena Panaritis, Institutional Economist (World Bank, IMF ) & Member of the Greek Parliament (PASOK, 2009-2012).

7pm – Drinks

Friday 15th June

9-10.30 am – Panel 1: Financial negotiations in times of crisis: the origins of the crisis, bailouts and institutional collaboration

Once the repercussions of the global financial crisis that started in 2007 reached continental Europe in the form of a sovereign debt crisis, it became clear that inadequate preparations had been made for the possibility of one or more countries reaching the point where they would need to be bailed out. Within a few months, the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund – collectively known as the Troika – had to work together to design structural adjustment programmes for three countries. The dynamics of such collaboration between institutions with different mandates and under intense pressure present a key area to explore.

Speakers: Eilis Ferran (University of Cambridge), Kevin Featherstone (London School of Economics), Benjamin Angel (European Commission)

10.30am – Coffee

11-12.30am– Panel 2: The impact of the crisis on the European political system (national and European)

The European crises and adjustment policies also brought to the surface various tensions between EU member states. As the major financial contributor to the bailouts, Germany’s input was crucial and it essentially enjoyed a veto power over decisions. Franco-German summits set the tone for dealing with the crises and responding to pressures by financial markets initially on ‘peripheral’ Eurozone members and then on ‘core’ countries. This raises the issue of the impact of the crisis on the EU interinstitutional and political system (role of the European Council, of the Franco-German axis). In addition, domestic politics of European countries became entangled as politicians from countries contributing to the bailout mechanism often had to battle hostile public opinion and protect their constituents/taxpayers interests. As some member states have gone through an electoral period (France and Greece notably), the impact of the crisis on national politics is worthy of further investigation. In Southern Europe, technocratic governments took over in Italy and Greece, on the presumption they had the know-how to deal with the crisis more efficiently than their elected predecessors. This raises significant questions in terms of political legitimacy.

Speakers: Brigid Laffan (University College Dublin), Olivier Evans (Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Claudia Crawford (Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung)

12.30pm – Lunch

1.30-3pm – Panel 3: The economic and social impacts of austerity

The effects of the global crisis on welfare state provisions are visible throughout Europe, regardless of the state of different countries’ public finances. The countries most affected –be it through Troika conditionality, policymakers’ agendas, new technocratic governments or all of the above– engaged in radical austerity: welfare state institutions were seen as hotbeds for corruption and large scale readjustments started to be introduced. While evidence of corruption and waste are indeed evident, in many cases the drastic scaling back of welfare efforts left vulnerable groups at risk and was seen as an easier way of meeting quantitative targets than raising revenue through taxation of those in a better position to cope with the burden of adjustment. In the mean time, European countries in less financial trouble engaged in preemptive austerity: reducing or readjusting provisions using the situation in the ‘periphery’ as an example of what generous welfare provisions can lead to. This panel will discuss the social and political impact of austerity.

Speakers: Andrew Gamble (University of Cambridge), Jonty Bloom (BBC), Christos Pitelis (University of Cambridge)

3pm – Conclusions: Athanasia Chalari (London School of Economics)

This talk is part of the Eurocrisis Conference 14-15 June series.

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