European Spring: How to put our economies and politics right?

With European economies failing to deliver higher standards of living, and growing public disillusionment with apparently self-serving politicians, Philippe Legrain discusses where things have gone wrong in Europe and how to put them right, and explores the need for a European Spring in order to rejuvenate the continent. 


Philippe Legrain, Author and former economic Adviser to President Barroso

Chaired by

Mark Leonard, Director, ECFR

After the longest and deepest recession since the Great Depression, signs of recovery in Europe are not encouraging, with the Eurozone sinking into deflation, and Britain busy inflating another housing bubble. Populations are ageing, immigration remains a highly divisive issue, and most depressingly, an overwhelming majority of Europeans think their children will have a worse life than they do. Without any compelling solutions in sight, people have lost faith in politicians, and growing social tensions have resulted in increasing support for radical parties like UKIP and Front National. Are stagnation, decline and disillusionment inevitable? And do people have to turn to fringe parties, or can we find alternatives within mainstream politics?

Philippe Legrain is an independent writer. From 2011 to February 2014 he served as economic adviser to the President of the European Commission and head of the team that provides President Barroso with strategic policy advice. Previously a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics' European Institute, his latest book, European Spring: Why Our Economies and Politics are in a Mess – and How to Put Them Right(2014), has been described as 'essential reading' by the Financial Times and 'splendid' by Martin Wolf. 

Mark Leonard is co-Founder and Director of ECFR. Mark was a transatlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. He writes a fortnightly column on European and Global issues for He is the author (with José-Ignacio Torreblanca) of The Eurosceptic Surge and How to Respond to it(2014)