Participation is free of charge.
28.3.: Valkoinen sali, Aleksanterinkatu 16-18
29.3.: Vanha ylioppilastalo, Mannerheimintie 3
On 2 October 2013, the Commission published a paper setting out rough contours for deeper integration and for strengthening the EMU by creating a “social dimension”. The idea has been discussed in the past. This time it is also about responding to the Euro crisis and rising forces of nationalism. As the Union is threatened by fragmentation, integration needs to be given a “human face”.
While it may be possible to patch up the anti-social effects of austerity and competitiveness in terms of a separate “social dimension”, the effects will be fairly minimal if the key politico-economic institutions and policies of the Union remain intact. In addition, the Union is only a part of the global political economy. The same discrepancies, imbalances and contradictions are repeated there on a larger scale. The starting point of the Helsinki conference is that far-reaching changes are needed.
Thus far the Commission-induced discussions have focussed on various indicators and possible automatic stabilizers and, most ambitiously, unemployment benefit scheme with genuine fiscal consequences. The Commission’s report shows that any far-reaching proposals cannot be implemented without revising the basic EU Treaty. Let us open the Pandora’s Box: as in Greek mythology, at the bottom lies the spirit of hope! The progressive forces in Europe require, however, an ambitious, appealing and widely shared vision about the required novel institutional design for the Union. There is no politics without the will and ability to imagine alternative institutions and communicate such concrete utopias.
What is more, we need to go beyond all forms of Eurocentrism. The Euro crisis is, in essence, a second phase of the epic recession that began in 2008-9. Moreover, the ideological underpinnings or inherent contradictions of the EMU are not specific to the EMU only. As similar ambiguities and imbalances characterize also the dynamics of global political economy as a whole, any reasonable response to the Euro crisis implies reforms of the systems of global governance. And yet, we can no longer assume that cosmopolis must mean a particular European or Western order writ global.
Topics to be discussed in the Helsinki Conference include:
· Social solidarity in Europe and globally, for instance through minimum wages, unemployment benefit, basic income, free education and other forms of social security
· European fiscal policy, involving central bank funding, taxes, union budget, public investments, countercyclical stabilisers and other mechanisms
· Democracy in Europe and globally: as there is no model that would exhaust democratic possibilities, new practical and institutional possibilities must be explored to make any future political community legitimate, bearing in mind that human possibilities may be different from the ones imagined in the West.
· Global Keynesianism: how to shape the supply of money in the global system, balance surpluses and deficits on an equitable basis, and direct the formation, composition, and distribution of global economic growth?
· Green ethico-political responsibility: how to make the Earth sustainable for long periods of time through human reflexive self-regulation aiming at maintaining life-friendly climatic and biogeochemical conditions?
· New forms of political agency: how to respond to the criticism of existing parties and cultivate the critical-pluralist ethos of global civil society in terms of global-democratic alliance- and party-formation, also, and especially, for alter-hegemonic purposes?
The conference will be organized by Left Forum Finland, Party of the European Left and Attac Finland, in cooperation with transform! europe.
Friday, 28 March
10:00 Welcome and introduction
10:30 Plenary 1: Beyond the Social Dimension of the EMU
13:30 Plenary 2: A big debate about the future of the Union
15:45 Plenary 3: Developing a non-Eurocentric progressive agenda
17:30–18:00 Concluding remarks
Saturday, 29 March
10:00–12:15 Democracy in the European Union
10:00–12:15 European and global political economy institutions: growth, full employment, fiscal policy, taxes, and social welfare
13:00–15:15 Economic Democracy
13:00–15:15 Programmatic aims of the trade unions: minimum wage, unemployment benefit scheme and others
13:00–15:15 Avoin ja kestävä talousjärjestelmä
15:45–18:00 Concluding Plenary
Keynote speakers include: Fernando Iglesias, Trevor Evans, Laura Horn, John Weeks, Stanislas Jourdan, Heikki Patomäki, and Erkki Laukkanen.
Further details to be announced at: http://altereu.wordpress.com