Centre of International Relations Hosted the First International Academic Debate on Brexit
As part of the CEEISA-ISA joint conference on politics of international relations, co-organised by the Centre of International Relations (CIR), Central and East European International Studies Association (CEEISA) and International Studies Association (ISA), the first international academic debate on Brexit took place at the Faculty of Social Sciences on Friday, 24 June 2016, immediately after the first results of the referendum in Great Britain were announced.
The discussants at the ad hoc roundtable were established academics in the field of international relations:
- Kai Oppermann, PhD, University of Sussex, Great Britain
- Maria Mälksoo, PhD, University of Tartu, Estonia
- James Morrow, PhD, University of Michigan, USA
- Viatcheslav Morozov, PhD, University of Tartu, Estonia
The debate was moderated by Ana Bojinović Fenko, PhD, from the Centre of International Relations, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana. In the light of the results of the referendum on the Withdrawal of UK from the EU, the round table addressed pertinent issues in national, regional and world politics.
Discussants together with audience members participating in the debate particularly emphasized that the referendum results in Great Britain indicated systemic deficiencies of democracy as practiced at domestic, European Union and global levels. The key instrument of democracy (i.e. referendum) proved to be inadequate for informed and responsible decision making. Namely, the result of the British vote mostly reflected the citizens’ discontent with domestic politics in Great Britain rather than their opposition to the complex and all-present dimensions of British society’s engagement in the European Union. In addition, according to the panel, the vote was also a reflection of an individual’s rebellion against the more general marginalisation and disengagement in political processes.
The academics stressed the urgency of action at three levels:
- At the country level causes for the referendum results on Brexit (e.g. the rise of nationalism and populism) need to be addressed, since these are also widely present in other European countries and globally.
- At the EU level legitimacy of the European project needs to be restored, which could be achieved through strengthening the supranational institutions and the much needed re-establishment of tangible positive effects of the European integration – especially solidification of the welfare state and diminishing of social and economic inequalities.
- At the global level deeper and stronger engagement of scholars in proposing improved mechanisms of policy-making is needed for assuring that democracy will also functions in the context of globalisation – not only allowing more adequate engagement of citizens in the political process, but also assuring stability of the international system as a whole.
The decision on Brexit thus only accelerates the much needed considerations on the nature of political organisation and country governance in a globalised (i.e. extremely connected) world.
Photos: Nika Ilić