The Center for European Studies at Rutgers is proud to launch Lessons from Europe, a two-year program of events exploring what US policy-makers and citizens can learn from the experiences of European democracies in addressing our common 21st century policy challenges.
Faced with an unaffordable health care system that leaves millions uninsured, a mounting climate crisis, failing schools, a fractured social safety net, high unemployment and growing deficits, many US citizens and policy makers are searching for new approaches to public policy. To understand which policies are likely to work and which are not, we can look to our own history and to the wealth of ideas circulating in our own public sphere – among political parties, think tanks, academics, state and local governments and everyday citizens. But we can – and we should – also look abroad. In particular, the varied experiences of European democracies can provide us with great insight. Like the US, the member states of the European Union (EU) are advanced, liberal democracies. Our European allies face many of the same 21st century policy challenges that we do. They too must address issues surrounding increasing international economic competition, rising economic inequality, rising health care and pension costs, school reform, climate change, large scale immigration, financial market regulation, and work-life balance, to name but a few common challenges. Do the economically advanced democracies of the European Union offer us viable models for reform?
To explore these questions, the Lessons from Europe program will host a series of visiting speakers and organize conferences and colloquia exploring particular political issues. Also, Professor R. Daniel Kelemen, Director of the Center for European Studies, is teaching an SAS Signature Course on Social Policy and Politics: Lessons from Europe. The Lessons from Europe website will gather a range of articles and materials on European models of public policy in areas ranging from health, to education, to environment, to financial market regulation.