Improvising Politics on the European Stage

Lorcan Mullally26th March 20192min
Drawing on his latest book, described by Donald Tusk as “one of the most insightful on European politics today”, Luuk van Middelaar analyses how the EU has improvised its way through a politics of events, rather than rules.



Over the last decade, a series of crises have beset the European Union, from the financial crisis, to the conflict with Russia over Ukraine and Crimea, the refugee and migrant crisis, not to mention the turmoil created by Brexit and the threat of a trade war with President Trump’s United States. Drawing on his latest book, Alarums and Excursions: Improvising Politics on the European Stage, which has been described by Donald Tusk as “one of the most insightful on European politics today”, Luuk van Middelaar analyses how the EU has improvised its way through a politics of events, rather than rules.

This discussion was moderated by Professor Brigid Laffan, Director of the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies at the European University Institute in Florence.

About the Speaker:

Luuk van Middelaar is a historian and political theorist and is currently a Professor at the Europa Institute of Leiden University. From 2010 to 2014, he served as an advisor and speechwriter to Herman van Rompuy, the first permanent President of the European Council. He has written a number of books, including The Passage to Europe: How a Continent Became a Union, which won the European Book Prize in 2012. His latest book is Alarums and Excursions: Improvising Politics on the European Stage. He studied History and Philosophy at the Universities of Groningen and Paris-IV Sorbonne (1991-1999) and Political Theory at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris (1999-2000). He obtained his doctorate degree cum laude at the University of Amsterdam in 2009.