Vienna, 16-18 September 2011
The Annual Conference of the EuroMemo Group (17th Workshop on Alternative Economic Policy in Europe) took place this year in Vienna on 16-18 September. This conference, organised by the EuroMemo Group since 1995, has evolved throughout the years into one of the most important meetings of heterodox and progressive economists and social scientists, concerning the debate about alternative paths towards a more just European integration. The Memoranda published every year, emanating from an open and democratic process of discussions in these workshops, constitute one of the most well-documented and articulated contributions in the “struggle of ideas” against the mainstream neoliberal perceptions of the European Union.
The conference opened up with two presentations, one by Brigit Mahnkopf (Berlin School of Economics and Law) on the Political State of the Union and one by Ozlem Onaran (University of Westminster) on the Economic State of the Union and was divided into five thematic workshops, where more than 40 papers were presented and discussed.
The first workshop elaborated on issues concerning the “Austerity Policies” in the European Union (the coordinator was Marica Frangakis from Nicos Poulantzas Institute).
The second workshop (coordinated by Trevor Evans from Berlin School of Economics and Law) discussed contributions concerning “The Future of the Eurozone”.
The topic of the third workshop (coordinated by Werner Raza from Austrian Research Foundation for International Development) was the “EU and the World”, exploring the issues of migration, trade flows, tax compliance between the EU and the countries outside it.
The fourth workshop, entitled “Energy, Climate Change and Sustainability, after Fukushima” (coordinated by Frieder Otto Wolff from Freie Universitaet in Berlin) investigated the new challenges for a sustainable growth, aspects of green economy, and issues on energy and agricultural policy.
Finally, the fifth workshop (coordinated by Catherine Sifakis from Université Pierre Mendès) entitled the “Roots of the Crisis of European Integration” discussed issues regarding the causes that have led the EU project into a crisis. Reforms are needed in order to ensure a viable, alternative future for the EU.
The publication of this year’s EuroMemo is expected with much interest since it will occur at a time that austerity policies are perceived as the only way out of the crisis. The EuroMemo 2011/ 12 is expected to be circulated for signatures in the second half of November 2011 and it seems that this time it is more necessary than ever!