In this lecture, President D’Alema will discuss the implications of the adoption throughout the European continent of austerity on today’s economic policies. Austerity gained renewed momentum after the publication of Growth in a Time of Debt by Rogoff and Reinhart, which came at a moment of global economic recession following the 2007-8 crisis. German Chancellor Angela Merkel espoused Rogoff and Reinhart’s theories, which advocated the application of austerity economic policies in countries with high government debt. The Euro-Mediterranean area comprised many such countries, and governments have applied them for several years and up to the present moment.
However, the collateral effects of these policies of fiscal discipline widened the gap between the rich and the poor throughout the European Union. Many souverainist and populist parties have blamed the European Union itself for the sluggish recovery and electorates have turned to nationalism for protection from the forces of globalization. With the European elections fast approaching, the members of the Italian Society want to discuss together with President D’Alema the role of austerity in the current political situation. In brief, will the process of European integration be redefined or
stopped altogether by the souveranists? Will pro-European forces rethink their approach to austerity?
Italian researchers and academics will intervene and pose specific questions to President D’Alema, and the debate that will follow the lecture will be framed as a dialogue between practitioners and academia.