On May 25, four influential Europeans will debate whether the European experiment has failed. The sovereign debt crisis has shaken the European Union to its core. Can it stay united, or will one of humankind's most ambitious economic and political experiments implode under mounting social and political pressure?
These are the Munk Debates – an ongoing series of discussions tackling the most influential issues of our day. This month’s debate is the ninth event since it was founded in 2008. Since then, topics ranged from foreign aid to religion, with speakers including Henry Kissinger, Christopher Hitchens and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
This debate will feature four prominent experts on Europe debating the motion: "Be it resolved the European experiment has failed." Arguing for the motion are historian Niall Ferguson and journalist Josef Joffe. On the opposing side are European politicians Daniel Cohn-Bendit and Lord Peter Mandelson.
Like all Munk Debates, the participants will try to win over the crowd by debating either side of the motion. A poll is taken before and after each debate, with the shift in viewpoints determining the winner. In the last debate, Paul Krugman and other economists debated whether North America faces a Japan-style era of high unemployment and slow growth. The audience shifted heavily against the idea, favouring arguments by Lawrence Summers and Ian Bremmer.
The series borrows its name from founder Peter Munk, a Canadian businessman and owner of the world’s largest gold mining corporation. They continue now as an initiative of the Aurea Foundation, a charity founded by Mr. Munk and his wife Melanie.