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Book Launch & Panel Discussion with Author Luuk van Middelaar

Luuk van Middelaar © Sake Elzinga

Wed, May 8 - Wed, May 8  2019

Albertine Books - New York Consulate Region

_F_ollowing the publication of his book Alarums & Excursions: Improvising Politics on the European Stage (translated in English by Liz Waters), author Luuk van Middelaar will present his book to the public with a presentation and panel discussion at Albertine Books in New York. The author is joined by panelists Sheri Berman, Jean-Marie Guéhenno, and Christoph Heusgen.


May 8, 6.30 pm

The event will be in English.
Free and open to the public (no RSVP necessary).

The book is available via Columbia University and Agenda Publishing.

About the Book

Crisis after crisis has beset the European Union: the financial chaos of the euro and Greek sovereign debt; the conflicts with Russia over Crimea and Ukraine; a tsunami of refugees and migrants from across the Mediterranean; not to mention the turmoil created by Brexit and the threat of a trade war with Trump’s America. A Europe originally designed to regulate and enforce rules about fishing, wheat quotas, or product standards has found itself flung onto the global stage to grapple with problems of identity, sovereignty, and solidarity without a script or prompt. From Paris to Berlin and London to Athens, European leaders have had to improvise on issues threatening to engulf their unique political entity. They have had to speak and act in full view of an increasingly disenchanted and dissonant public audience.

In a revealing and candid portrayal of a Europe improvising its way through a politics of events and not rules, Luuk van Middelaar gives us the insider’s view of the EU’s political metamorphosis. Forced into action by a tidal wave of emergencies, Europe has had to reinvent itself. It has had to cast off its legal straitjacket and to confront hard issues of power, territorial borders, and public authority. Van Middelaar contends that this reinvention will succeed only if the EU becomes a truly representative body that allows people’s opposition to share the stage.

Luuk van Middelaar © Sake Elzinga

About Luuk van Middelaar

Luuk van Middelaar (1973) is a political theorist and historian. He is a professor of EU law at Leiden University and a political commentator for NRC Handelsblad and De Standaard. The author of the prizewinning The Passage to Europe, he was the chief speechwriter and a close advisor to European Council President Herman Van Rompuy (2010-2014). Van Middelaar published his first book, Politicide, in 1999. His most recent book is Alarums & Excursions: Improvising Politics on the European Stage, also out in French and Dutch. Since 2018, he is a member of the Dutch Advisory Council on International Affairs, the Chair of its Commission on European Integration (CEI). Read his full bio on his website.

Sheri Berman is a professor of Political Science at Barnard College, Columbia University.

Jean-Marie Guéhenno is a distinguished fellow at the Brookings Institution and a former Under-Secretary-General at the United Nations.

Christoph Heusgen is the Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations and served as Foreign Policy and Security Advisor to Chancellor Merkel from  2005 to 2017.


This event is co-presented by Albertine Books and the European Institute at Columbia University. It is made possible thanks to the support of the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union. 

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