The European Left in the 20s. Is there a strategy?


This eDossier provides the contributions of the speakers and the participants of the latest Strategic Seminar. Hosted by transform! europe together with the Rosa-Luxemburg-Foundation, the annual event aims to serve as a space of timely debates for the left in Europe. In Addition, find here the sessions’ recordings.


Please find the eDossier with selected contributions of the speakers of the Strategic Seminar on the left/below (mobile version) in ‘Documents’ (English, PDF).

The Strategic Seminar brings together academics, politicians, social movements activists and civil society actors. The latest seminar was held on 25-26 October 2021, combining physical and online participation.

At the opening of the event, we presented an overview of the current political landscape in Europe summarised as The ruins of the pandemic and a European Union without a compass.

Walter Baier, member of the Board of transform! europe unpacked a critical assessment of the current state of affairs in the EU based on strategic questions. He tackled topics such as the economic architecture of the EU and its compliance or lack thereof with the legal framework and the political institutions of the union. The question of nationalisms and their rapid growth, as well as the political battle over the self-determination and democratic integration that could help prevent social contradictions were also some of the axes of this introduction.

Danae Koltsida, Director of the Nicos Poulantzas Institute, together with Cornelia Hildebrandt, transform!’s Co-President, presented the freshly released publication Radical in Diversity: Europe’s Left (2010-2020), as the editors of the volume. Their presentation was followed by a critical commentary byLuís Ramiro, a political scientist who specialises in researching the radical left parties in Europe.

The Meeting the Left series of online interviews by transform! europe bore fruit in the form of one study conducted and presented by Angelina Giannopoulou. The study, entitled Do we speak the same language? An overview of the discourse of left-wing leaders and personalities in Europe, explores the views, positions, strategic proposals and concerns of left-wing politicians from a critical and comparative angle, and tries to designate convergences, divergences, common language and/or differential discourses upon the same topics. The Meeting the Left short film was screened by Roberto Morea who facilitated the whole process of its production and release.

The first day of the event closed with the study of Espaces Marx, a member organisation of transform! europe in Paris. The study The question of ecology and the climate for the left was analysed by Paul Elek, researcher at Espaces Marx and PhD candidate, and three commentators reflected upon its findings, as well as the strategic questions arising from it.Eva Mildstred Enoksen, member of the leadership of the Red-Green Alliance in Copenhagen, Steffen Lehndorff, a research fellow at the institute of ‘Arbeit und Qualifikation’ [‘Work and Qualification’] at the University of Duisburg-Essen, and Pawel Jaworski, collaborator of the think-tank Naprzód in Poland, opened the debate on the relation between the political left and the contemporary environmental movements.

The second day hosted our two big panels with a variety of speakers who came from different regions and fields of political interest and expertise. The session Democracy, democratic rights, and the rule of law: Authoritarian phases in European countries welcomed contributions by Eszter Barthafrom Hungary, a Marie Curie research fellow at the Hannah Arendt Institute for Totalitarianism Studies, Tina Tomšič, member of the programme committee of the Inštitut 8. marec in Slovenia, René Jokisch, advisor on European affairs in the parliamentary group of DIE LINKE in Germany, and Ugo Palheta, sociologist and associate professor at the University of Lille, and co-director of the Contretemps review in France. Gavin Rae, a sociologist and founding member of the Naprzód think-tank in Poland, moderated a discussion that covered topics from institutionalised islamophobia and the process of fascisation in liberal democracies to the role of the German Court of Justice and the European architecture, and from the debate on the Orbán/Janša governance to the need for a contemporary antifascist workers’ movement in Europe.

The panel Labour: The Great Transformation presented three speakers who spoke about all the critical questions regarding labour transformations today. Uberisation, industry 4.0 and new models of workers cooperatives were themes brought up by Sarah de Heusch, a Public Affairs Officer at the Smart Cooperative in Belgium, Leila Chaibi, member of the European Parliament for La France Insoumise, and Matteo Gaddi, member of the board of Punto Rosso Cultural Association and of the scientific committee of the Claudio Sabattini Foundation (Italy). They all shed light on different aspects of the organisation of labour nowadays, both from an analytical and a strategic point of view.

Our seminar concluded after a session dedicated to strategic questions for the radical left in Europe, with input from Heinz Bierbaum, President of the Party of the European Left, and Vincenzo Colaprice, the spokesperson of the European Left Youth Network and Head of the International department at Giovani Comunisti in Italy. This session was followed by insights on the experiences of radical left parties in government, namely in Finland and in Spain. Dan Koivulaakso, State Secretary at the Ministry of Education in Finland, and Marga Ferré, Co-President of transform! europe, presented the programmatic agreements their parties have entered into, as well as the challenges that a left-wing party in government faces.

Angelina Giannopoulou

Table of contents

Introduction, by Angelina Giannopoulou
Europe, the EU, and the European Left, by Walter Baier
France: The authoritarian turn and the antifascism we need, by Ugo Palheta
Hungarian autocracy from a historical perspective, by Eszter Bartha
Democracy, democratic rights, and the rule of law – Authoritarian phases in European countries, by René Jokisch
The question of ecology and the climate, by Steffen Lehndorff
Industry 4.0: Transformation of industrial structure and working conditions, by Matteo Gaddi
How can the European Left become more visible?, by Heinz Bierbaum


«Meeting the Left» study presentation by Angelina Giannopoulou

Angelina Giannopoulou, transform! europe facilitator in the programme «European Integration and Left Strategy»

Labour: The Great Transformation by Matteo Gaddi

Matteo Gaddi, member of the Board of Punto Rosso Association and of the Scientific Committee of Claudio Sabbattini Foundation (Italy)

The Question of Ecology and the Climate for the Left


Democracy, Democratic Rights and the Rule of Law by Ugo Palheta

Ugo Palheta, sociologist, Associated Professor at University of Lille and co-director of the review «contretemps»

Labour: The Great Transformation by Sarah de Heusch

Sarah de Heusch, Public Affairs Office for the General Management and Development Unit of Smart Cooperative (Belgium)