The return of the nation state is said to be the foremost geopolitical phenomenon of our time. Gone is the commitment to globalisation and Europeanisation. National borders are being reinforced, and politicians promising to ‘protect’ citizens from migrants, external regulations, and ‘alien’ cultures are winning elections. The Council of the EU is already dominated by sovereigntist politi­cians, and the forthcoming elections to the European Parliament may well reinforce the renaissance of nations, states and walls in Europe.

In his Schuman Lecture, organised by Maastricht University, Jan Zielonka will ask whether the ongoing rebound is likely to live up to its promises in the era of intense connectivity and interdependence generated by digital technologies. His conclusions will suggest a Europe of networks emerging from the ashes of sovereigntist nostalgia.

Every year, Maastricht University and the City of Maastricht jointly organise this lecture in commemoration of Robert Schuman and the Treaties of Rome (1957) and Maastricht (1992). Robert Schuman (1886-1963) was the French Minister of Foreign Affairs and co-founder of the European Union.

Jan Zielonka is professor of politics and international relations at the University of Venice, Cá Foscari, and Emeritus Professorial Fellow at St Antony’s College, University of Oxford.