On the initiative of Transform! Europe, an interdisciplinary group of economists, trade unionists and historians met up at the Sapienza University of Rome on Thursday 25 September with the aim of launching a new working group dedicated to the reindustrialization of Europe. What are the crucial issues at stake when dealing with a European industrial policy? What factors explain the long decline of the European industry? What does the recent Juncker’s investment program mean in the current context? What should be done to counter the growing financialization of the economy? What role should the workers play? In other words, how can a progressive new development model meet the growing social and environmental needs while giving the impetus to exit the European crisis?
Ever since the outbreak of the crisis, the work on alternatives has been central for Transform! Europe. The contribution to the debate on Europe’s productive reconstruction goes back to the creation of its Economists’ Working Group (TEWG) last year in Paris. Shortly afterwards, the TEWG held two workshops on the issue at the 2013 annual conference of the European Association for Evolutionary Political Economy – an important European network of heterodox economists –, which resulted in the publication of a Discussion Papertypo3/#_ftn1.
By launching a smaller working group gathering industry specialist, Transform! wishes to intensify its work on one of the crucial challenges for the future of Europe, to capitalize on achievements and to raise the bar. The new working group on European Reindustrialization set up in Rome will not only provide a much needed in-depth analysis of the current European industrial policies and its ideological roots, but will also deliver concrete proposals for a new development model with the following principles at its core: de-financialization of the economy, new definition of the needs, enhancement of the workforce and its role within the firm, economic democracy at every level of production, massive investment plan depending on the degree of (high) social usefulness and (low) negative externalities.
The Working Group is currently working on a Policy Paper that will roughly present its views on policies being fostered by the EU – be it the competition policy or the Horizon 2020 strategy – and sketch out the guidelines of a progressive new development model. In addition to this, a Discussion Paper is also on the way. It will give more room to thorough analyses of key issues relating to concrete aspects of Europe’s productive reconstruction. Besides, some members of the Working Group will participate in a workshop dedicated to industrial issues that the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation will hold in Brussels on October 16th and 17th – notably in the presence of the Member of Bundestag Axel Troost (Vice-chairman of DIE LINKE), Dimitrios Papadimoulis, and other GUE/NGL Members of European Parliament. Last but not least, Transform! will organize a workshop in December to present the outcomes of the Discussion Paper to a larger audience.