Despite the return to modest economic growth in the EU and the Euro group the scars of the economic crisis persist. The European Union still operates in a crisis mode. Inside the Left a debate on how to cope with the crisis of European integration has begun.
transform! and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation co-organised a public discussion within the framework of the “European Forum of Progressive Forces” in Marseille in November 2017. Τhe European Forum of Progressive Forces is a new space for long-term political cooperation that aims to bring together a very broad panel of left, green and progressive parties, of platforms and political movements, trade unions and social organisations, NGOs, intellectuals and citizens' movements from all over Europe. While during 2017 the Forum took place in Marseille, in 2018 it is organised in Bilbao, Spain where the forces of the left are facing a reconfiguration due not only to the decision of the two left parties to walk the same path (Unidos Podemos), but also to the recent governmental change that brought PSOE under Pedro Sanchez’ leadership into power.
Under the title “Re-appropriating Europe as a Common” which indicates a common ground among the speakers, despite the different backgrounds they come from and the political perspectives they adopt, we held a debate guided by our strategic concern on the future of the European Union. A concern that is erupted from the disintegration processes that are occurring in Europe and benefit the most conservative and authoritarian elites of the capital. The integration, as well as the disintegration of the European Union are not neutral processes. They are defined by the political will of those in power and the balance of forces (social and political) throughout Europe. Therefore euroscepticism, but also pro-europeanism can both be class identified. What is necessary for the left forces is to work based on the concrete analysis of the concrete situation. The multiple levels of governance, the democratic deficit of various institutions, the contradictions among the elites, the asymmetrical development among the European economies and the lack of a coherent strategy of the left that listens for the European popular classes’ interests create a mosaic of power relations that is challenging and under continuous transformation.
Our invited speakers were:
Maria Karamessini, Professor for Social Policy at the Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Athens
Walter Baier, Political Coordinator of transform! europe
Marianne Dufour, Member of the Coordinating Collective of Diem25
Steffen Lehndorff, Research fellow at the Institut Arbeit und Qualifikation, University Duisburg-Essen
John Weeks, Professor emeritus for economics at SOAS, London
Moderator: Angelina Giannopoulou, transform! europe
The critical questions that all three speakers tried to address and present a convincing answer to were the following:
Despite the return to modest economic growth in the EU and the Euro group the scars of the economic crisis persist. The European Union still operates in a crisis mode. Inside the Left a debate on how to cope with the crisis of European integration has begun. What are the possible strategies for changing Europe? What is the latitude granted by the European treaties for progressive reforms and can the European Union altogether be transformed on the basis of the existing treaties? Which are the strategic implications either way? Does the Left have to choose between support of the neoliberal integration and retreat to national sovereignty? Is there a third option for an alternative plan for Europe? What might be its criteria?
Τhis e-Dossier is the collection of the contributions of the event transform! organised and we consider it not only as part of transform’s work on the “European Integration and the Left Strategy” Programme, but also as part of the materials of the European Forum of Progressive Forces. It is only a small piece of the debate among the actors of the left on the question of Europe. A debate that can only but be moved towards the European popular classes and the great questions of their lives.
Please find the eDossier on the right/below (mobile version) in 'Documents' (English, PDF).