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Fide’s 2nd international congress at Jesus College Oxford will take place next April, on the 4th, 5th, and 6th.

The overarching topic of the congress is Nationalism, populism, and identities: contemporary challenges. In the global context, the growth of nationalism and populism is one of the greatest challenges facing not only Europe but also North and South America and the Asia Pacific. This can be a destructive force if it means that states retreat into an isolationist mindset and away from effective multilateral solutions to perceived cross-border problems.

The congress will analyse Nationalism and populism from a legal and economic perspective. We will cover aspects of the impact of nationalist/ populist policies on the funding of South American pension schemes where there have been unexpected calls on funds to deal with the effects of COVID-19

The Congress will also cover other cross-cutting issues, using free-standing panels on EU refugee externalisation policies, climate change issues (with specific reference to the outcome of the Conference of the Parties (COP) 26 in November 2021 in Glasgow), and misinformation and free speech in modern democratic societies.

Find here all the information on the Congress’ Working Group on CONSTITUTIONAL, LEGAL, OR GOVERNANCE QUESTIONS IN THE CONTEXT OF NATIONALISM

Summary

Populists are majoritarians. They are opposed to laws, values, and institutions which in their view prevent The development of effective policies in the field of health by the EU is not only a necessity derived from the pandemic we are experiencing. It is also a challenge that can greatly help the construction not only of a common space in health, but also to stop criticism from nationalist and populist movements against the EU project. The democratic crisis and the risks for the future EU project are directly related to its social agenda and health is, among them, one of the most relevant for citizens. It can be concluded that moving towards an EU with a common framework in health is moving towards an EU with “good health”.

  1. Nationalism and global access to Covid vaccines and, in general, to healthcare resources in the context of a pandemic (mechanical ventilators and other ICU resources).  
  2. Nationalism and priorization rules and values to access to health resources. 
  3.  Knowledge, science, and data in times of Coronavirus

Terms of Reference

  1. Nationalism and global access to Covid vaccines and, in general, to healthcare resources in the context of a pandemic (mechanical ventilators and other ICU resources).  

The richer economies of the World, including those in Europe, can afford to buy vaccine stocks and also ICU resources in order to benefit their own nationals. Politically, it is inevitable that self-interest will be an important factor especially where funding for the research and development of a vaccine has benefited from public investment. But the Covid 19 global pandemic does not respect borders. It is as much in the national interest that international action should be taken to ensure that poorer countries are also able to benefit. The Covax initiative [1] is a “ground-breaking global collaboration to accelerate the development, production and equitable access to Covid 19 tests, treatments and vaccines….to guarantee fair and equitable access for every country in the world…” The EU and the UK have signed up to support the Covax initiative. But, according to the BMJ Global Health journal, these goals are being “threatened as rich nations enter into bilateral purchase agreements with Covid 19 vaccine suppliers….” A similar reflection should be focused on ICU resources, considering the experience at the beginning of the Covid pandemic. 

The working group is invited to consider whether there is a vaccine nationalism threat to the equitable sharing of vaccine manufacture and stocks, taking account of the interests and arguments of those countries which have entered into bilateral purchase agreements, but which have not yet signed up to the Covax initiative. What mechanisms might be used to incentivise those nations which have not yet supported Covax, such as the USA? What active steps should FIDE Fundacion recommend? A similar reflection should be made in relation to the global access and allocation to ICU resources such as mechanical ventilators. 

  1. Nationalism and priorization rules and values to access to health resources. 

At the beginning of the Covid pandemic there was a real ethical crisis in the middle of such a health crisis. It was related to different proposal in different States (at the EU level, Italy, and Spain, and from a different Region, Mexico) mainly by medical associations and working teams about allocation of ICU resources, and among them, mechanical ventilators. So, there was not only a lack of EU common proposal, but also some national proposal based on utilitarian criterion, without considering the principles and values enshrined in the EU Charter of fundamental rights and the national constitutions. These utilitarian proposals didn´t considered vulnerable groups such as people with disabilities and elderly.

The working group is invited to consider how the allocation of healthcare resources during a situation of scarce such a pandemic should be based on. The analysis from an ethical, economic, social, and legal standpoint will take into account the principles and values enshrined in the Charter and Council of Europe regulation (Oviedo Convention). Is it possible to develop a European principles and criterions for the allocation and priorization of that health measures, such as vaccines and ventilators?

  1.  Knowledge, science, and data in times of Coronavirus

Knowledge and the technology that builds on it support our world. Never have they been so crucial in our lives and never have they had so much economic and social value. However, neither have certain scientific advances and technological developments ever been so mistrusted by so many people, even to the point of extreme negationism. While some believe that scientists and experts are essential to provide solutions to the major problems we face, for others they are responsible for all evils. While there are those who hope that knowledge will lead us beyond error and ignorance and that technology will solve almost all our problems and bring us a better life, there are also those who fear that they are leading us to the worst problems. The pandemic has only highlighted and even exacerbated this seemingly paradoxical situation. Just think of the large number of people who not only reject vaccines, but even deny the disease itself.

The ability of algorithms and computers to extract from huge amounts of data what is beyond the reach of human knowledge and its capacity to be analysed, leads us to think of the immense potential of data – which has come to be compared, in an inappropriate but very popular simile, to the new petroleum – and at the same time to the Big Brother that Orwell described to us decades ago. Technological autonomy, the availability, and re-use of data, its security, privacy, trust in data-based systems, are some of the issues on which there is no unanimity, neither on Earth nor even in the European Union.

This situation that we describe is influenced by political, cultural, historical, educational, geopolitical contexts. It is important to analyse them, as it is necessary to understand a phenomenon that not only cannot be ignored but must be explained and confronted. There is no alternative if we want Europe to move firmly towards a union around knowledge and technological development. A Europe that respects people and their individual and collective rights, where science and technology serve the common good and not as amplifiers of all kinds of inequalities.

In the course of this chapter, in addition to describing these apparent paradoxes, the working group will focus on analysing their causes and consequences, and the extent to which they are influenced by different national inter-and intra-regional contexts.

Federico de Montalvo for FIDE Foundation

WG Members:

Leader:

Federico de Montalvo

President of the Spanish Bioethics Committee, IBC UNESCO (Leader of the WG)

Constructive Friend:

Rosario Cospedal García

Director General of Genómica. Member of Fide’s International Academic Council. (Constructive friend of the WG).

Senén Barro

Scientific Director of the CiTIUS-Research Center in Intelligent Technologies of the University of Santiago de Compostela

Daniel Innerarity

Professor of political and social philosophy, IKERBASQUE researcher at the University of the Basque Country and director of the Institute for Democratic Governance. He is a part-time lecturer at the European University Institute in Florence.

Gabriel López Serrano

Director of Regulatory Affairs for Microsoft Ibérica

Concha Serrano

Director of Institutional Relations, Pfizer S.L.U.

Margarita del Val

Research Scientist at CSIC, Head of the Viral Immunology Group at the Severo Ochoa Molecular Biology Centre (CSIC-UAM), member of the Expert Advisory Committee on Vaccines of the Community of Madrid.

* Important note: All members of the Working Groups and panels participate in an individual, non-institutional capacity, although we reflect each participant with their current position in the different working documents to better identify them.

Oxford Congress /22:

Nationalism, populism and identities: contemporary challenges

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