Former Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb Gives Lecture in Maastricht
On Thursday, 23 November, CERiM had the honour of welcoming Dr. Alexander Stubb, the former Finnish Prime Minister and current Vice-President of the European Investment Bank, for our second Jean Monnet Lecture of the academic year. In his lecture entitled “The EU and the New World Order”, Stubb reflected on the development of international relations and global politics, highlighting three key dates that have changed international relations: 1945, 1989, and 2016.
Zooming in on 2016, which saw the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union and the election of Donald Trump, Stubb was concerned with the question: who will fill the power vacuum after the “fall of the Anglo-Saxon world”? Was it time for Europe to step in and if so, how?
In addition to the power vacuum, the world is facing a number of challenges. At the crux of his talk, Stubb identified three mega-trends that will shape and challenge Europe’s capacity to respond. The three mega-trends he focused on were, first, the rise of the aging population, second, increasing digitalisation and the growing role of technology, and lastly, climate change and its impact. Each mega-trend presents Europe with a unique set of challenges and opportunities.
By way of conclusion, Stubb outlined several ways in which Europe can take the lead in filling the power vacuum as well as taking on these mega-trends. He emphasised in particular the need to strengthen European and international institutions, a better engagement with evolving technology to effectively utilise its power, and continued support for international trade.
Despite these new set of challenges, Stubb is positive that things have changed for the better since the start of the European integration process. “Jean Monnet would be amazed at how far European integration has gone” and remains optimistic about the EU despite the ongoing crises affecting Europe, assuring the audience that “It will sort itself out”.
The next speaker CERiM looks forward to welcoming for a Jean Monnet lecture is the former German finance minister and 2013 candidate for Chancellor, Dr Peer Steinbrueck who will join us on 8 March 2018.