This Red House Festival of Ideas on Europe discussion with José Ignacio Torreblanca discusses the difficulties in forming a supranational state and looks to analyse European disintegration.
About the debate:
This fourth Festival of Ideas on Europe session assessed the EU’s current situation and its imperative going forwards. In his introductory, English-language lecture, Torreblanca focused on the state of the EU, while the subsequent Bulgarian-language panel discussion took on the debate surrounding Brussels’ centripetal force and the role of Europe’s nation states.
In his lecture, Torreblanca spoke of the lack of adequate research on European disintegration. He stated that there are plenty of theories of European integration, but very few on European disintegration and that it is important to understand how this can come about, when it might be called a crisis and what consequences it might have.
In particular, Torreblanca, observed a historical neglect of politics in European structures and a lack of preparedness for the current return of politics to those structures. For him, this and the contemporary structural weaknesses of European institutions have combined to ensure that the shock of the return of politics provides an institutional threat to the EU, pushing it into a crisis.
Talking about this crisis, Torreblanca observed four key revolts which he deemed to be happening all at the same time (a revolt of the elites, the populace, the markets and the theory) and, closely associated with these four revolts, three acts of revenge (the revenge of history, of geography and of demography) which were both triggering the revolts and helping shape the forms that they were taking.
★ To find out more about Torreblanca's three acts of revenge and his four revolts assessment of the EU and its current crisis, watch the English-language highlights of the discussion at the top of this page. A short biography of José Ignacio Torreblanca, information about the Bulgarian-language debate which followed this lecture and a link to that discussion can also been found further down this page.
★ Alternatively, if you want to find out more about the Festival of Ideas on Europe and its other discussions, click here to visit our festival page.
The state of the EU: integration, crisis & disintegration
Opening lecture - in English
José Ignacio Torreblanca - Spanish Journalist, Political Analyst and Senior Policy Fellow at the ECFR
Alongside his work at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), Torreblanca is a professor of political science at the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED). He is also a weekly columnist for El Mundo and a contributor to Radio Nacional de España. Torreblanca has also worked as the editorial director of El Pais (2016-2018) and as the head of the ECFR’s Madrid Office (2007-2016).
A Europe of nations or a Europe of integration?
Follow-up discussion - in Bulgarian
(Bulgarian speakers can access the full-length discussion with Bulgarian interpretation on The Red House's YouTube channel by clicking here)
Svetoslav Ivanov - Journalist, BTV
Ognian Minchev - Director of the Institute for Regional and International Studies and Chairman of the Managing Board of the Bulgarian branch of the Transparency International Foundation
Petar Ganev - Programme Coordinator at ECFR