European Union

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On September 26, Germany elected a new parliament. With it a new coalition government will come to power and Angela Merkel will depart the political stage after serving for 16 years as federal chancellor. Who might succeed her? What will be the foreign policy priorities of the new government? And how do Germany’s European partners view Merkel’s legacy and Germany’s role in Europe?

Dr. Jana Puglierin and Rafael Loss of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) will discuss the results and implications of the German vote, and based on a recent 12-country public opinion poll, they will assess the expectations of Germany’s European partners toward Berlin and its new leadership.

Jana Puglierin

Dr. Jana Puglierin has been the head of ECFR’s Berlin office and a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations since January 2020. She also directs ECFR’s Re:shape Global Europe project, which seeks to develop new strategies for Europeans to understand and engage with the changing international order.

Before joining ECFR, Puglierin headed the Alfred von Oppenheim Center for European Policy Studies at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP). Prior to this, she was an advisor on disarmament, arms control, and non-proliferation in the German Bundestag, where she also worked on matters relating to German and European foreign and security policy. Between 2003 and 2010, she was researcher and lecturer to the chair of political science and contemporary history as well as in the program for North American studies at the University of Bonn.

In November 2017, Puglierin was a visiting fellow at the American-German Situation Room, a joint initiative of the AICGS and GMF. She is alumna of the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation’s Working Group of Young Foreign Policy Experts (2007-2016), of the ZEIT Foundation Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius (2016), of the Manfred-Wörner-Seminar for German-American Relations (2009), and of the International Visitor Leadership Program (2015). She is a board member of the German Atlantic Society, European Movement Germany and a member of the extended board of Women in International Security (

Puglierin earned a master’s degree and a doctorate in political science, international and European law, and sociology from the Friedrich-Wilhelms University of Bonn.


Rafael Loss

Rafael Loss is the coordinator for pan-European data projects of the European Council on Foreign Relations’ Re:shape Global Europe project, which seeks to develop new strategies for Europeans to understand and engage with the changing international order. He also works on German and European foreign policy, security and defence, climate policy, transatlantic relations, and nuclear policy and arms control.

Prior to joining ECFR in 2020, Loss was a research associate at the Center for Global Security Research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California. His essays and analyses have appeared in Internationale Politik Quarterly, War on the Rocks, and The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, among others.

Loss was a Fulbright fellow at the Fletcher School at Tufts University, where he earned an MA in international relations. He also holds a BA in political science from the University of Bremen.



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Jana Puglierin speaker European Council on Foreign Relations
Rafael Loss speaker European Council on Foreign Relations

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How do we explain that the European Union gained so much authority, especially in economic areas? Most explanations of the EU usually start off by misdescribing how much authority it exerts over its member-states. Classic IR theorists in realist or liberal traditions describe the EU as a strong international regime, allowing them to explain it simply as a response to especially-strong regional versions of the exogenously-given conditions that ostensibly favor international cooperation elsewhere. Even more endogenously-inclined theorists who explain the EU as an ideational or institutionally path-dependent project tend to describe it as a quasi-federation that still falls well short of a “United States of Europe.” But if the EU certainly lacks some important powers of federal states, in some core areas it has surpassed them. Employing a comparison of the EU to three Anglo-Saxon federations (United States, Canada, Australia), we show that today’s EU actively exercises authority over states’ market openness and fiscal discipline that these federations have never claimed. This re-description of the EU outcome displays just how far Europe has departed from the expectations of classic IR theories, and highlights the kind of strongly endogenous ideational and institutional explanation it requires. Co-author: Craig Parsons, University of Oregon.


Matthias Matthijs

Matthias Matthijs is associate professor of international political economy. His research focuses on the politics of economic crises, the role of economic ideas in economic policymaking, the politics of inequality, and the democratic limits of regional integration. He was one of the inaugural recipients in 2015 of a Johns Hopkins Catalyst Award, in recognition of his work as a promising early-career investigator. He teaches courses in international relations, comparative politics, and international economics, and was twice awarded the Max M. Fisher Prize for Excellence in Teaching, in 2011 and 2015.

Since the summer of 2019, he is also a Senior Fellow for Europe at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). He also currently serves as the Chair of the Executive Committee of the European Union Studies Association (EUSA).

Matthijs is the editor (with Mark Blyth) of the book The Future of the Euro published by Oxford University Press in 2015, and author of Ideas and Economic Crises in Britain from Attlee to Blair (1945-2005), published by Routledge in 2011. The latter is based on his doctoral dissertation, which received the Samuel H. Beer Prize for Best Dissertation in British Politics by a North American scholar, awarded by the British Politics Group of the American Political Science Association (APSA) in 2010.

In 2018, he won the Best Paper Award from APSA’s European Politics and Society section for “When Is It Rational to Learn the Wrong Lessons?” (co-authored with Mark Blyth). Among various other research and writing projects, he is currently working on a book-length manuscript that delves into the collapse of national elite consensus around European integration.

Dr. Matthijs received his BSc in applied economics with magna cum laude from the University of Antwerp in Belgium, and his MA and PhD in international relations from Johns Hopkins University.

Matthias Matthijs Speaker School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University


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The EU and its member states are currently facing a number of extraordinary internal and external challenges. The rise of populist parties that are skeptical of the European integration process and undermine the rule of law in the member states represents one of the main challenges. These parties are set to increase their support at the European Parliament elections on May 23-26. Belgium, the country that hosts the main EU institutions and whose existence is constantly questioned as well, holds federal and regional elections at the same time. We analyze the current state of politics in the EU and Belgium, and discuss the prospects for the upcoming elections and their implications.

Christophe Crombez

Christophe Crombez is Senior Research Scholar at The Europe Center at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University, and Professor of Political Economy at the Faculty of Economics and Business at KU Leuven in Belgium. Christophe Crombez specializes in European Union politics. His research focuses on the functioning of the EU institutions and their impact on policies, EU institutional reform, party politics, and parliamentary government.

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Senior Research Scholar at The Europe Center

Christophe Crombez is a political economist who specializes in European Union (EU) politics and business-government relations in Europe. His research focuses on EU institutions and their impact on policies, EU institutional reform, lobbying, party politics, and parliamentary government.

Crombez is Senior Research Scholar at The Europe Center at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University (since 1999). He teaches Introduction to European Studies and The Future of the EU in Stanford’s International Relations Program, and is responsible for the Minor in European Studies and the Undergraduate Internship Program in Europe.

Furthermore, Crombez is Professor of Political Economy at the Faculty of Economics and Business at KU Leuven in Belgium (since 1994). His teaching responsibilities in Leuven include Political Business Strategy and Applied Game Theory. He is Vice-Chair for Research at the Department for Managerial Economics, Strategy and Innovation.

Crombez has also held visiting positions at the following universities and research institutes: the Istituto Italiano di Scienze Umane, in Florence, Italy, in Spring 2008; the Department of Political Science at the University of Florence, Italy, in Spring 2004; the Department of Political Science at the University of Michigan, in Winter 2003; the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, Illinois, in Spring 1998; the Department of Political Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Summer 1998; the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, in Spring 1997; the University of Antwerp, Belgium, in Spring 1996; and Leti University in St. Petersburg, Russia, in Fall 1995.

Crombez obtained a B.A. in Applied Economics, Finance, from KU Leuven in 1989, and a Ph.D. in Business, Political Economics, from Stanford University in 1994.


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The European Union (EU) is facing one of the rockiest periods in its existence. Not often in its history has it looked so economically fragile, so unsecure about how to protect its borders, so divided over how to tackle the crisis of legitimacy facing its institutions, and so under assault of Eurosceptic parties. The unprecedented levels of integration in recent decades have led to increased public contestation, yet at the same the EU is more reliant on public support for its continued legitimacy than ever before. Eurosceptic parties are expected to increase their vote share in the upcoming European Parliamentary elections, and the outcome of the Brexit vote provides glimpse of what could happen when Euroscepticism hardens.

In this talk, I discuss the role of public opinion in the European integration process. Based on my 2018 book Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration, I outline a novel theory of public opinion that stresses the deep interconnectedness between people’s views about European and national politics. It suggests that public opinion cannot simply be characterized as either Eurosceptic or not, but rather consists of different types. This is important because these types coincide with fundamentally different views about the way the EU should be reformed and which policy priorities should be pursued. These types also have very different consequences for behaviour in elections and referenda. Euroscepticism is such a diverse phenomenon because the Eurozone crisis has exacerbated the structural imbalances within the EU. As the economic and political fates of member states diverged, people’s experiences with and evaluations of the EU and national political systems also grew further apart. The heterogeneity in public preferences has implications for the European project, as it makes a one-size-fits-all approach to addressing Euroscepticism unlikely to be successful.


Catherine de Vries photo

Catherine E. De Vries is a Westendijk Chair and Professor of Political Behaviour in Europe at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, where she also acts as the Director of the VU Interdisciplinary Center for European Studies. In addition, she is an Associate Member of Nuffield College, University of Oxford and an affiliated Professor of Political Science at the University of Essex. Finally, she serves a scientific advisor the eupinions project of the Bertelsmann Foundation and as a board member of the European Institute at the London School of Economics and Hertie School of Governance in Berlin.


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Catherine De Vries Professor of Political Behaviour in Europe, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Speaker Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Visiting Scholar at The Europe Center, 2018
Professor of Political Science, Stockholm University

Jonas Tallberg is Professor of Political Science at Stockholm University, where he directs the research group on global and regional governance, selected as a leading area of research at SU. His primary research interests are global governance and European Union politics. His most recent book is the The Opening Up of International Organizations: Transnational Access in Global Governance (Cambridge University Press, 2013), co-authored with Thomas Sommerer, Theresa Squatrito and Christer Jönsson. Earlier books include Leadership and Negotiation in the European Union (Cambridge University Press, 2006). His articles have appeared in journals such as International Organization, International Studies Quarterly, British Journal of Political Science, European Journal of International Relations, Review of International Organizations, and Journal of Common Market Studies.

Tallberg has won numerous awards for his research, including the Forskraft Award for the best Swedish dissertation on international relations, the JCMS Prize for the best article in Journal of Common Market Studies, and the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award from the German Humboldt Foundation. He has been awarded research grants from, among others, the European Research Council, Fulbright Commission, Swedish Research Council, Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, and Nordic Research Academy.

Tallberg has been a visiting researcher at, among other institutions, Harvard University, McGill University, WZB Berlin Social Science Center, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, and European Commission. He currently directs the six-year research program “Legitimacy in Global Governance” ( and the four-year research project “The Performance of International Organizations” (


EU legislative politics have changed dramatically during the past decade, and the British government has been a vocal and influential voice in shaping EU policies and processes. Based on an original dataset covering all legislative decisions by the EU governments since the enlargement to Central- and Eastern Europe in 2004, this paper provides detailed analysis to explain and elaborate on the British votes in the EU Council. It shows that the UK has opposed legislation more than other countries, and that this opposition has increased in recent years. However, advanced text analysis of formal policy statements from the Council records shows that the UK government should not be considered a policy outlier: a group of small- and medium-sized countries frequently side with the UK position in the Council records. They will likely miss the British position and outspoken voice as the EU embarks on a new phase in European integration. The results extend our existing knowledge about negotiation dynamics and voting behaviour in the Council, and are relevant to studies of other intergovernmental negotiation forums too.

Sara Hagemann

Sara Hagemann is Associate Professor in European Politics at London School of Economics and Political Science, which she joined in September 2009. In her work, Sara draws on a mix of academic and policy experience as she has held research and policy positions in Brussels, Copenhagen and London. Sara has published extensively on European affairs, in particular on transparency and accountability in political systems, EU policy-making processes, EU treaty matters, the role of national parliaments, and the consequences of EU enlargements.

Before joining LSE, Sara worked as a Policy Analyst at the Brussels-based European Policy Centre (EPC), where she was responsible for its Political Europe programme. She has also held posts at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), and in the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She is the Co-Founder and General Editor of the LSE’s popular European Politics blog EUROPP, and Co-Founder and former Managing Director of (, an online initiative that monitors EU decision-makers’ voting records.

Sara has been awarded an ESRC Impact Accelerator Grant (from September 2016- April 2018) through the LSE’s Institute of Public Affairs. She was also an ESRC Senior Fellow as part of the UK in a Changing Europe programme in 2016, where she worked as an independent expert advisor to the UK government, parliament and public in the run-up to and aftermath of the UK’s referendum on EU membership.


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Sara Hagemann Associate Professor in European Politics Speaker London School of Economics and Political Science

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Sarah Cormack-Patton is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Aberdeen. She is a political scientist whose research examines the politics of globalization, and particularly international migration, in the European Union and the United States. Sarah is interested in the economic and social effects of the cross-border movement of people, goods, and capital; the political coalitions that form over the cross-border movement of people, goods, and capital; the conditions under which states permit or limit the entry or exit of goods, capital, and people; and the efficacy of state policies designed to effect the entry or exit of goods, capital, and people. Her current research projects examine the ways in which varying bundles of migrant rights affect immigration policy preferences, the political coalitions that form over immigration policy, and the types of immigration policies enacted. Sarah earned her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh in 2015 and was a Postdoctoral Scholar at Stanford University from September 2015 to September 2017.

Visiting Scholar at The Europe Center, 2017-2018
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