Objectives and Activities

“The Eurozone crisis is dramatically shaping the construction of an EU polity as an integrated, legitimate and effective political space. The implications are twofold. The crisis has accelerated policy and institutional integration in ways thought unthinkable only a few years ago. At the same time, the economic crisis and ensuing societal and political malaise have generated centrifugal forces across the Union, threatening the very essence of the European project.” (Tocci N., 2014). A few years later, and while the crisis has been addressed, Tocci´s statement, made at the height of the crisis, still summarizes the key challenges ahead, as the crisis’ impact on institutions and democracy at both the domestic and regional levels still affects economic, political and social relations in the EU. The research and activities conducted by the Jean Monnet Network Crisis-Equity-Democracy for Europe and Latin America from 2016 to 2019 (Grant Agreement/Decision 2015 – 3375 / 028 – 003 Project number 574785;) show that despite the achievements of EU crisis management, financial and economic stabilization remains fragile, and the political developments have become more alarming. The perceived lack of democratic accountability increased the distance of the population from the EU, and allowed space for polarization and populism to thrive. Revolution in information technology and new media facilitated the manipulation of the electorate. At the same time, in addition to the problems related to the legacy of the crisis, another host of issues need to be urgently addressed; first among them, the question of climate change, which has become more politicized, and must be better integrated in the discussion about growth and investment. The European Commission’s Green Deal released in December 2019 and the accompanying Investment Plan (EGDIP) presented in January 2020 show that the EU is moving in the right direction, but the uncertainties of the transition to the vision of a climate-neutral economy are many, and need to be addressed in tandem with a number of other challenges, including the handling of refugee and migrant flows, the full recovery of the labour market in crisis hit countries, fixing the European and international financial system, and recovering EU’s credibility among European citizens and while tackling populist and Eurosceptic tendencies.

For these reasons, the present project proposes to, on the one hand, continue the analysis of the crisis management mechanisms and alternatives which can render EU responses more effective and legitimate conducted by Jean Monnet Network Crisis-Equity-Democracy for Europe and Latin America, and on the other hand, deepen the analysis of the political effects on democracy at the regional and domestic levels, and broaden the research to the question of sustainability of growth and transition to low carbon economies. Finally, the new phase of the project will explore further the possibilities of international cooperation with other regions and in particular Latin America, to strengthen global level financial and social regulation, as well as to promote the protection and promotion of democracy, human rights and the environment, key EU values and to the success of its role in the world. Strengthening international cooperation is crucial not only due to ‘global commons’ nature of many of the aforementioned challenges, but also to the crisis of multilateralism and the weakening of international institutions witnessed in recent years. The impact of the 2008 crisis was felt later and was less dramatic in Latin America compared to the EU, but the region had another ‘lost decade’ in terms of growth, and the achievements in reducing economic and social inequalities were reverted, while political developments in various countries have led to an erosion of democracy. Inter-regional cooperation among governments, scholars and civil societies in Europe and Latin America are key in order to promote common values and interests, and multilateralism.

Rationale: Latin America and Europe can both learn from their respective experiences on crisis response and the distributive and democratic implications at national and regional levels, as well as from the role of regional hegemons, especially in times of political polarization and increasing nationalism. Democratic and distributive aspects of crisis responses (monetary, financial & economic policies and institutional reforms) are key to these trends but have not been adequately addressed in the literature. Furthermore, deepening a bi-regional dialogue in the field of social- and macroeconomic policies and crisis management, and democracy, including civil societies and inter-parliamentarian fora such as the Eurolat, would provide an additional strategic content to the Strategic Alliance the EU-CELAC Summits are supposed to build.

Project objectives: 1. research on EU crisis management, equity and democracy; 2. compare experiences in LA and EU, in terms of crisis management and distributive and democratic impacts of the crisis and the challenged of sustainable development; 3. comparatively analyse the impact of crisis when it comes to regional integration and regionalism; 4. create an EU-Latin America network for cultural exchange, scientific knowledge transfer and building, including through the joint publication of an open access scientific journal on regionalism; 5. Involve students and young researchers in the research, teaching and exchanges among scholars and civil society; 6. collaborate with EU institutions and regional development banks, Brazilian and Latin American regional institutions, social movements and media, to engage their active participation in the events to be realized by the Network and establish an international consortium of global players on crisis response; 7. elaborate policy recommendations on financial, economic, social and political governance responding to contemporary challenges; 8. Increase the public awareness on regional and bi-regional issues contributing to create peer pressures for regional, bi-and trans-regional cooperation.

Activities: The JMN will hold 6 outreach conferences (3 in Latin America, i.e. Brazil, Mexico and Chile, 3 in the EU, i.e. Brussels, Spain and Greece) where the participants and high level experts, governmental officials and civil society will present and discuss the topics addressed by the network. The conferences will be followed by participant meetings to further the exchange about their research, discuss policy strategies and plan future activities. The results of the research will be published in the form of a book, articles and policy papers which can be published in journals and/or uploaded in the website (open access). The Network present the results and publications to EU institutions, national authorities, Latin American universities, think tanks, and regional institutions such as CEPAL, Mercosur and CELAC.