Public Lecture


Politics in Europe is changing profoundly under the influence of populism and technological change. Together these factors are influencing how voters engage in politics and what subjects are debated – the terrain of political contestation. This lecture will consider both aspects and their implications for the future of the European Union.

Heather Grabbe is director of EU Affairs and director of the Open Society European Policy Institute in Brussels. From 2004–2009, she was senior advisor to then European Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn, responsible in his cabinet for the Balkans and Turkey. Prior to joining the Commission, she was deputy director of the Centre for European Reform, the London-based think-tank, where she published widely on EU enlargement and other European issues. Her writing has appeared in the Financial TimesNew York TimesWall Street Journal, and The Guardian, among others. Her academic career includes teaching at the London School of Economics, and research at Oxford and Birmingham universities, the Royal Institute for International Affairs (Chatham House, London) and the European University Institute (Florence). She has a PhD from Birmingham University. Among her books are The Constellations of Europe (CER, 2004) and The EU’s Transformative Power: Europeanization through Conditionality in Central and Eastern Europe 1989-2004 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006). In 2017, she was ranked by Politico as the fifth most influential woman shaping Brussels.

The lecture is organized in the framework of the projects UPTAKE and FATIGUE, both funded from the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

More information: Piret Ehin, Senior Researcher at the University of Tartu,