Since the 2008 economic crisis, Europe’s “trust capital” has been seriously eroded. The recovery since then has been only partial, especially among the countries of Southern Europe. New waves of scandal such as the Panama Papers have deepened the loss of trust, and Brexit has shown that Europeans are ready to act on that distrust. Eurobarometer shows a growing split between Europe’s affluent educated middles classes and Europe’s poor, with the latter displaying a deep distrust of the Europe Union, of national governments, and of globalization in general, all of which has helped drive voters toward populist rejection of the political status quo altogether. What can the European Union and its member countries do to regain the trust of their citizens? What consequences could follow from the failure of European institutions to do so?
Professor Alina Mungiu-Pippidi chairs the European Research Centre for Anticorruption and State-Building (ERCAS) at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, where she teaches democratization and comparative public policy. She was the principal investigator of a 2015 EU Dutch Presidency report on trust and public integrity in EU-28 and designer of the public integrity index. The author of A Quest for Good Governance, (Cambridge University Press, 2015) and a consultant for the World Bank, UNDP, OECD, and the European Commission, Dr. Mungiu-Pippidi has been a leader of civil society anticorruption coalitions in Romania, and her good governance collective action designs were replicated in the Balkans, Ukraine and Latin America.
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