The rise of populism and discontentment with globalisation has made the European Union seem steadily vulnerable, not only with extreme actions such as the Brexit vote but in more subtle ways, as individuals increasingly feel discontentment with how society is organised and run.
To help understand and also counter these ‘anti’ feelings, Jozef Ritzen—honourary professor at Maastricht University among many other distinguished titles—has edited a new book, ‘A Second Chance for Europe.’
‘It started five years ago as a project which seemed highly relevant during the crisis, when you saw things turning around in the wrong direction,’ Ritzen says, ‘and we find it even more relevant now.’
The book, Ritzen says, talks about Europe as the solution for people, for peace and especially for the Maastricht Generation—children born in the 90s. ‘It is meant to give evidence-based advice on how to proceed with Europe,’ he says. ‘Without a strong Europe, living conditions for the future generations will decline.’
The book is a collection of cohesive, focused chapters, all of which Ritzen either authored or co-authored, each of which offers explanations of and solutions to the major challenges facing the EU today: a European economic model to secure full employment; a stronger European Court of Human Rights to counter systemic violations; a points-based immigration policy; clear exit options for the Eurozone; and an Open Education Area with a common second language.
‘It is a translation of anti-feelings,’ Ritzen says. ‘Uncertainty is part of society. We cannot just deny populist thought. But we want to understand why people turn their back to society and the way in which society is organised.’
Above all, it is a an economic argument for the survivability of the European Union and a proposal for ‘thinking about European social and economic models to make people feel more secure.’
The book will be available later this month in hardback, and is already available as an e-book from springer.com/shop.
About Prof Ritzen
Jozef Ritzen, a Dutch national, trained as a physics engineer (Delft University of Technology) and an economist (Erasmus University Rotterdam, PhD, cum laude), held professorial appointments with Nijmegen University and Erasmus University in The Netherlands, the University of California-Berkeley and the Robert M. LaFollette Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US.
He was Minister of Education, Culture, and Science of The Netherlands from 1989 to 1998, one of the longest-serving Ministers of Education in the world. Subsequently he served as Vice President of the World Bank’s Human Development Network and as President of Maastricht University.
He has written or co-authored twelve books and many articles (often co-authored) in the fields of education, economics, public finance and development economics.