Can Europe Make It?

Can Europe make it? looks back at 2013


The editors of our Can Europe make it? debate pick some favourite articles from 2013, and wish you all the best for the new year.


David Krivanek Alex Sakalis
3 January 2014

Rosemary Bechler:

In May last year, Etienne Balibar wrote of the ‘inequality within inequality’ which is tearing Europe apart, affecting all Europeans while subjecting some to brutal conditions not so different from a ‘dog eat dog’ war.  We have tracked the causes and effects of this war through debates including German Europe, Reluctant Radicals, Populism and Golden Dawn, spotlights on Italy, Cyprus, Bulgaria as well as the post-mortem on Iceland’s constitutional experiment, and joining Europe’s dots on football and politics, and the media

But what I shall remember from 2013 is the gathering voices of Europeans, young and old, as they wrestle with their condition, voices we hope will gather in scope and acumen as we arrive at this year’s European elections: Kristinn Már Ársælsson,Manolis Mavozaharakis and colleagues, Nikolay Nikolov and colleagues, Mirosław Tryczyk and Monika Spławska-MurmyłoIgor Stiks and colleagues, Yudit KissSlawomir Sierakowski and Tristan Sechrest, and our own Francesca MontemaggiAlex Sakalis and David Krivanek

David Krivanek:

When we started the Can Europe make it? debate in 2012, prospects for any kind of union in Europe looked bleak. In 2013, things turned out to be slightly better – as most European economies (sort of) stabilised, we were able to envision a more just and efficient Eurozone and a more democratic European Union. So I look forward to 2014; perhaps it will be the year we finally find the "fraternal words" and the "actions and expressions of warmth" (in Jean-Luc Mélenchon's words) we need to tie solidary links with our fellow Europeans in Spain, Greece, Bulgaria, the Roma or those who come to Europe hoping for a better future – all too often losing their lives in the process.

Next year's European elections will certainly see an unprecedented amount of Europe-bashing spewed by those who don't believe a stronger and more democratic Europe is the best safeguard against increasingly harsh, undemocratic and controlling nation states. Perhaps they're right – but as the recent events in Ukraine or Bulgaria show, millions still look up to European values of freedom, human rights and social justice. Let's make sure Europe doesn't disappoint them – that's what I'll be wishing for in 2014!

Alex Sakalis:

In the short time I have worked on Can Europe Make it? I have seen it grow into a vibrant openDemocracy section. I am happy that a relatively small outfit based out of East London has managed to act as a platform for such diverse European luminaries as Ulrich BeckJean-Luc Melénchon, Etienne Balibar, Slawomir Sierakowski, Kostas Vaxevanis, Jean Lambert, Gerard Batten, Anna Grodzka, Mattias Gardell, Georg VobrubaUlrike Guérot, Catherine Fieschi and many more.


The year 2014 will bring great changes for Europe. The EU elections, previously ignored and ridiculed by many, have now taken on a powerful resonance in an increasingly fractious Europe. As a European, it is certainly an interesting, and unpredictable, time to be alive.

Can there be a green populist project on the Left?

Many on the Left want to return to a politics of class, not populism. They point to Left populist parties not reaching their goals. But Chantal Mouffe argues that as the COVID-19 pandemic has put protection from harm at the top of the agenda, a Left populist strategy is now more relevant than ever.

Is this a chance to realign around a green democratic transformation?

Join us for a free live discussion on Thursday 22 October, 5pm UK time/12pm EDT.

Hear from:

Paolo Gerbaudo Sociologist and political theorist, director of the Centre for Digital Culture at King’s College London and author of ‘The Mask and the Flag: Populism and Global Protest’ and ‘The Digital Party: Political Organisation and Online Democracy’, and of the forthcoming ‘The Great Recoil: Politics After Populism and Pandemic’.

Chantal Mouffe Emeritus Professor of Political Theory at the University of Westminster in London. Her most recent books are ‘Agonistics. Thinking the World Politically’, ‘Podemos. In the Name of the People’ and ‘For a Left Populism’.

Spyros A. Sofos Researcher and research coordinator at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Lund University and author of ‘Nation and Identity in Contemporary Europe’, ‘Tormented by History’ and ‘Islam in Europe: Public Spaces and Civic Networks'.

Chair: Walid el Houri Researcher, journalist and filmmaker based between Berlin and Beirut. He is partnerships editor at openDemocracy and lead editor of its North Africa, West Asia project.

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