Wassily Kandinsky, Vier Flecken (Four Splashes) 1929
  • 16 October 2017 - 17 October 2017
  • Vienna
  • Venue
    transform! europe
    Gusshausstrasse 14/3
    1040 Vienna

    On invitation only!

  • Seminar by transform!, Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, and SPED
  • Navigating the Left’s Strategies vis-à-vis Europe in Times of Multiple Crises

  • The economic crisis’ outbreak in 2007-2008 stipulated the EU’s strategy for the forthcoming years in political, economic, ideological and social terms. Although the neoliberal policies were already delineated by the Lisbon treaty, the rigid implementation of austerity in the course of the crisis drove the process of integration rapidly to an impasse. Clearly the EU leaders used crisis as an opportunity for the development of the Union towards austerity and authoritarianism. The imbalances between the member- states are increasing. Objectively the crisis has divided the European Union into a hard core of leading countries with export orientated economies and a periphery where unemployment rates remain high and precarious labour conditions prevail. Concepts of reforming the European Union recently tabled by the commission although presented in the form of different scenarios (the so called “White Book”) aim at further strengthening the authoritarian governance of the European Union.

    The crisis of political representation in the member-states as well as the increasingly authoritarian character that are being materialised in the European Union has provoked a nationalist wave all across Europe which questions European integration as such.

    Since the 90s the radical Left has established itself as a real force on the European scene. However, despite the electoral progress radical Left parties have made in some countries, particularly in the European South the balance of forces remains unfavourable.

    This situation poses three fundamental questions to the European Left:

    1. How can the European Left overcome the far right reinvigorated by the political crisis in several countries and in the Europe?

    2. What are the possible strategies of changing Europe? Can the European Union be transformed on the basis of the existing treaties? And if not what follows from this strategically?

    3. Which would be the criteria for a Left alternative plan for Europe and do these criteria contribute also to the discussion regarding the unity of the progressive forces?

    In parallel, the concept of national sovereignty and self-determination of the member states within the strategic goal of a transnational democracy remains untouched by the radical left forces. Most of the times, the political actors try to answer to this question in a distorted way by placing themselves to the false dilemma of a “Yes” or “No” to the EU. Such a dilemma is based on the idea that sovereignty and democracy are reciprocally excluded. A couple of questions that must be tackled: What does sovereignty really mean in an economically and politically globalized world? Can the return to national sovereignty be a key element of the Left’s strategic project?

    Organisers of the seminar: transform! europe, Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, Society for European dialogue – SPED (Czech Republic)


Day 1- The current political juncture

09.00 - 09.30 Welcome by Angelina Giannopoulou, Facilitator of transform! Europe

09.30 - 11.00 The Electoral cycle in 2017: Netherlands, France, UK, Germany

Moderator: Barbara Steiner, Co-director of transform! Europe

Amieke Bouma, Lecturer at the University of Amsterdam

Yann Le Lann, President of Espaces Marx, member of transform’s Board , France

Emma Rees, Co-founder and National Co-ordinator of Momentum , UK

Uta Wegner, DIE LINKE, Department of International Policy in the Party Central Office, Germany


11.00-11.15 Coffee break


11.15-12.35 The economic landscape in Europe, keynote speech by Steffen Lehndorff, Economist University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany

Introduction: Roberto Morea, transform! Italia

12.35-13.30 Lunch break


13.30-14.50 The political mosaic in the European South

Moderator: Marga Ferré, President of La FEC

Greece: Haris Golemis, Scientific and Strategic advisor of transform!

Spain: Raul Gomez, Assistant Professor at the University of Liverpool

Portugal: Maria Manuel Rola, MP of Bloco de Esquerda, Portugal


14.50-16.20 An alternative plan for Europe: Tracing the criteria, designing the conditions, finding the allies for a radical left strategy. A dialogue among the Party of the European Left, the GUE/NGL, Plan B platform, “Building bridges” initiative, actors from the movements

Moderator: Haris Golemis, Scientific and Strategic advisor of transform! Europe

Helmut Scholz, MEP of Die Linke

Federico Severino, Director of Instituto 25M

Sophie Rauszer, assistant in GUE/NGL, France Insoumise

Waltraud Fritz-Klackl, Political Secretariat of the Party of the European Left - KPÖ, Austria

Tatiana Moutinho, Activist in the movement against austerity in Portugal (que se lixe a troika!/hell with troika!)


16.20-16.35 Coffee Break


16.35-17.20 Turkish politics and the EU-Turkey relation, keynote speech by Cihan Erdal,  HDP Party Council Member, Turkey

Introduction: Angelina Giannopoulou, Facilitator of transform! Europe


17.20-18.40 Political processes in the Central-Eastern European region, introductory speech by Joachim Becker, Vienna University of Economics and Business

Moderator: Dagmar Svendova, Facilitator of transform! Europe

Poland: Gavin Rae, Foundation Naprzod

Czech Republic: Martina Poliaková, historian and political scientist, researcher in Czech Radio

Serbia: Darko Vesic, researcher, member of Centre for the Politics of Emancipation

Slovenia: Nika Kovač, Director of the Research Institute ‘8March’


Day 2 - European Integration between sovereignty and transnational democracy: a strategic challenge


09.00-09.55 The fate of the far right and the right - populist parties in Europe

Moderator: Katerina Anastasiou

PhD researcher at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Antoine de Cabanes, Researcher at Espaces Marx, France


09.55-10.10 Coffee Break


10.10-10.50 Does the EU a priori destabilise the Left?, keynote speech by Walter Baier,  Political Coordinator of transform! Europe


10.50-12.20 Transforming the European Union: A discussion on the refoundation of the treaties and the institutions

Moderator: Angelina Giannopoulou, Facilitator of transform! Europe

John Weeks, Professor emeritus at SOAS University of London and coordinator of the Progressive Economics Group

Lukas Oberndorfer, Scientific staff member of the Austrian Chamber of Labour

Marga Ferré, President of the Foundation of European Citizens, Spain

12.20-12.35 Coffee Break

12.35-14.00 Theoretical approaches on transnational experiences of integration

Moderator: Walter Baier, Political Coordinator of transform! Europe

Latin America: Javier Moreno, Project Manager at the Foundation of European Citizens, Spain

Former Yugoslavia: Toni Prug, Independent researcher, Croatia

Council for Mutual Economic Assistance: Veronika Sušová-Salminen, Editor, co-founder, analyst at the Czech web magazine !Argument

14.00-14.45 Lunch Break

14.45-16.15 A Europe of different speeds: Concepts of regional cooperation

Moderator: Javier Moreno, Project Manager at La FEC

Theodora Stathoulia, Political Scientist, former Scientific adviser to the Alternate Foreign Ministers for EU Affairs of Greece

Jukka Pietiläinen, Director of Left Forum in Finland

Tom Kucharz, Secretariat for Europe of PODEMOS

Heinz Bierbaum, Die Linke, Executive Board of the Party of the European Left, Germany


16.15-17.15 Conclusions, follow up, discussion: A roadmap for the future towards the ‘Marseille’ Forum and the 2019 European Elections

Roberto Morea, transform! commons working group facilitator

Walter Baier, Political Coordinator of transform!

Angelina Giannopoulou, transform! Europe - Left strategy and European integration facilitator

Lutz Brangsch, Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Berlin