Mathieu Segers, professor of European Integration
Europe is very close, but at the same time very distant
On 9 December 2016, it will be exactly 25 years since the start of the European Summit in Maastricht, which would lead to the much-discussed Maastricht Treaty. On that day, a range of leading politicians and academics will take part in a special ‘EU Summit’ at the Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Centre (MECC). One of the participants is the young Maastricht professor Mathieu Segers, a specialist in European integration.
Professor Mathieu Segers (1976) is Maastricht born and bred. He grew up in the now vibrant neighbourhood of Wyck, where in Segers’s youth there was not a great deal going on. The young Mathieu became fascinated by Europe during the 1991 European Summit – he was then nearly 15 – when he wanted to go and see what was happening at the Hotel Maastricht (now the Crowne Plaza), which was just a few dozen metres from his home. It was a hive of activity there, because Helmut Kohl, one of the big players on the world’s political stage, was staying at the hotel with his entourage. Unfortunately, Segers was prevented from getting near and did not see much more than the black security barriers. “That was the moment when I first realised that Europe was very close, but at the same time very distant.”
Segers, who is originally a political scientist, but who has a PhD in history, has been the dean (head) of Maastricht’s University College since 1 June this year. Despite his youth, he has had an impressive academic career, having worked as a researcher at the universities of Oxford and Harvard, for example. Until the middle of this year, he was senior lecturer in European Integration at the department of history and art history at Utrecht University. In Maastricht, he is professor of Contemporary European History and European Integration in the Faculty of Humanities and Sciences.
Segers is a member of the Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR). He writes columns for the Financieele Dagblad newspaper and has a weekly European news spot on Radio 1Vandaag. He is frequently consulted by the media on issues of European integration and European policy,
In addition, he has written a number of books. In 2013 his Reis naar het continent. Nederland en de Europese integratie, 1950 tot heden (Journey to the continent. The Netherlands and European integration, from 1950 to the present) was published and it won the ‘Prinsjesboekenprijs’ prize as the best political book of 2013. This work (published by Prometheus), which also enjoyed good press reviews, was reprinted this year in a third, completely revised edition. According to his publisher, in Waagstuk Europa (Hazard Europe), published in 2014, Segers undertakes a quest for the present, past and future of Europe and attempts to find an answer to the prominent questions that many Europeans are currently struggling with.