The new political conditions in the aftermath of the European elections. Which is the new balance of political forces that is being shaped? Which political divisions and conflicts became visible? What are the consequences for the radical left?
We are observing significant transformations of the challenges the left in Europe has been facing since the last EU elections in 2014. Ten years after the crisis’s outbreak, the European policies do remain the same and the there is no political reflection on the parameters that caused the crisis. The welfare state is still being shrunk, the banks have not really become more secure and though unemployment has been slightly decreased, precarious employment and flexibility in the labor market is increasing. The neoliberal laws for the labor market continuously attack the workers’ rights and the privatization of public services, especially of the health sector deepens. The social and economical inequalities within the European Union -among regions and countries are still growing and the social peace is already for years at stake. A new social contract does not seem to be part of the short-term strategy of the European institutions.
The war is on the table, therefore all the rearmament in Europe. We see the disarmament contracts terminated while the escalation of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia is preparing the ground for new war conflicts. The slipping into a new global war seems more and more possible. There are only a few and phobic answers to big global problems such as the climate change and the growing number of refugees as a result of war, hunger and worsening climate conditions. Such developments combined with and the fear of their tremendous consequences led to the emergence of the new phase of an authoritarian and repressive neo-liberalism that is being shaped by right-wing governments with the participation of the Far right, as in Austria, Italy and Hungary. These political forces, even when they are not in government, they do define the political agenda.
As mentioned above, the political landscape for the European left is quite different in comparison with 2014. New formations of both the political and the social left have been born that wish to keep a distance from the political parties as we knew them. The social protests have a strongly non-partisan characteristic, such as the women’s protests in Poland or the protests of the Yellow Vests in France. The radical left is not the big winner of the social discontent, in contrast with the new far and populist right. We are at the same time quite divided both at the national and the European level.
Goal of the Seminar
The goal of the Seminar is to analyze the new balance of forces in Europe and draw conclusions for the Party of the European Left concerning particular countries and regions (characterized by common tendencies). We wish to be honest with ourselves and present the strengths and the weaknesses of the European left parties, discuss their strategic options for future struggles and trace the possibility of an actual European political strategy.
· How has the balance of forces in Europe, and in particular in the European Union, changed since 2014? How should we evaluate the results of the left-wing parties within the whole political framework?
· Which political divisions and questions shaped the electoral campaign?
· How could we consider the results for the other party families? Specifically, which are our conclusions for the performance of the Right and the Far Right?
· Where were the left parties successful and what were the concrete reasons for that success? Which new forms of struggles, electoral alliances and/or socio-political alliances have proven fruitful?
· Given the fact that the differences and divisions as well do exist inside the European left, which commonalities can be found? Are there possibilities for cooperation and alliances?
· Which options do exist for the organization and implementation of left-wing policies in the European level considering the results of the EU elections?
In a first level: The new political conditions in the aftermath of the European elections will be discussed. Which is the new balance of political forces that is being shaped? Which political divisions and conflicts became visible? What are the consequences for the radical left?
In a second level: The concrete options and challenges of the left, as well as the results of the left-wing parties in the EU elections will be presented and discussed. The focus will be in particular country cases and regions.
In a third level: Ways for a new Europeanization of the struggles will be debated. Which election campaigns were successful and why? Under which conditions is the radical left successful?
· What is the strategic answer of the radical Left vis-à-vis the new configuration of the power in Europe?
· In comparison with 2014, what victories do we find for the Left and why? Which could we describe as our comparative advantages against the social democrats, the green and the conservatives?
· What do the results produce for the composition and the very entity of the Party of the European Left?
Wednesday 12 June
14.00-14.30 • Introduction by Angelina Giannopoulou, Facilitator of transform!
• Presentation of our Yearbook (2019 publication) by Haris Golemis, Scientific & Strategic Advisor of transform!
14.30-16.30 Overview of the European Elections’s results
• Cornelia Hildebrandt, Institute of Social Analysis – Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, “The overview of the electoral numbers”: 20’
• Gerassimos Moschonas, Associate Professor of Comparative Politics, Panteion University, Athens: “The EU and party politics: mainstream parties, populisms, and the Radical Left”: 30’
Moderation: Angelina Giannopoulou
16.30-17.00 Coffee Break
17.00-19.00 Country Reports:
Greece → Danae Koltsida, Director of Nicos Poulantzas Institute
Spain → Javier Moreno, Project Manager at Fundación por la Europa de los Ciudadanos
Portugal → Tatiana Moutinho, Facilitator of transform!
Belgium→ Francine Mestrum, Global Social Justice network & transform’s w.g. “Commons”
UK → Joseph Healy, transform UK journal
Moderation: Roberto Morea, Facilitator of transform!
Thursday 13 June
09:00-13.00 (coffee break* 11.20-11.45) Country Reports:
Czechia → Jiri Malek, Member of the Board of transform!
Slovenia → Nika Kovač, Inštitut 8. marec, Slovenia
Poland → Gavin Rae, Founding member of the think-tank Naprzód, Poland
The strategy of transform in the CEE region → Dagmar Svendova, Facilitator of transform!, EP Candidate with KSČM
Denmark → Inger V. Johansen, Board member of Transform!Danmark
Germany → Eva Detscher, Die Linke
Italy → Paolo Chiocchetti, Dr of Political Science
Finland → Jukka Pietiläinen, Director of the “Left Forum”, Finland
Moderation: Roland Kulke, Facilitator of transform!
13.00-14.00 Lunch Break
14.00-17.00 The Far Right in Europe: A great challenge for the Left:
• Yann Le Lann, Director of Espaces Marx & Espaces Marx’s team, France
• Transform’s proposals for European projects on antifascism and environmental protests, by Giuseppe Cugnata, Facilitator of transform!
Moderation: Tatiana Moutinho, Facilitator of transform!
17.00 -17.15 Coffee Break
• “The institutional strength of the Far Right through its national representations”, Giuseppe Cugnata, Facilitator of transform! on the “Analysis of the Radical, Far and Populist Right” Project
• “The European politics of the Far Right”, a transform! study by Dr. Nicolas Bechter
Moderation: Barbara Steiner, Director of transform!
Friday 14 June
10.00-13.00 Future perspectives of the European family of the political left. The cornerstones of a common strategy.
Angelina Giannopoulou (on European parties’ structures-study), Facilitator of transform!
Eleftheria Angeli, Coordinator of the Youth Network of the Party of the European Left, EP Candidate with SYRIZA, Greece
Marga Ferre, President of Fundación por la Europa de los Ciudadanos, Spain
André Crespin, Member of the International Department of PTB
Heinz Bierbaum, Member of the Political Secretariat of the EL/DIE LINKE
Gabi Zimmer, MEP Die Linke, President of GUE/NGL
David Adler, Policy Coordinator of Diem25
Moderation: Cornelia Hildebrandt, Rosa Luxemburg Foundation
13.00-13.30 Lunch Break
13.30-14.30 Conclusions and Future Perspectives (the role of transform!/our next steps),
Presentation by Walter Baier, Political Coordinator of transform!