Inequalities, Neoliberalism and European Integration: Progressive Answers

European Conference

MEGARON, The Athens Concert Hall, Nikos Skalkotas Hall

Vass. Sophias & Kokkali

Inequalities are one of the most debated topics internationally in the last years, especially after the 2008 crisis which has made evident the deadlocks of unregulated neoliberal financialized capitalism.


The exacerbation of inequalities in the previous decades has been considered by many progressive economists as one of the main causes of the global financial crisis.           

All the international organizations (OECD, IMF, ILO etc.) have published studies on the trends in economic inequalities globally, with particular emphases on developed countries. In all the latter the labor share in total income has decreased and income inequalities have increased since the beginning of the 1980s. Because of the substantial increase in unemployment, inequalities have widened during the current economic crisis and, as a result, the percentage of the population which faces material deprivation and exclusion has expanded and eroded part of the middle classes, especially in the countries that have implemented harsh austerity policies.

For the European Left – including the Greek Left – unemployment, poverty and inequalities constitute interconnected priority areas for political debate and activity and policy intervention when in central or local government. The concept of inequality is very broad, as is its area of application: social and economic inequalities; inequalities within states on the basis of individual income or wealth, class, gender, race, nationality, region of residence; inequalities between states in unions of states – for instance, EMU, EU – or between the global North and the global South and so on.

By involving intellectuals with a critical stance towards mainstream approaches from many academic disciplines as well as progressive politicians, theconference on inequalities organized by Nicos Poulantzas Institute and transform! europe looks for concrete proposals to curb inequalities as a contribution to the creation of social and political alliances of the Left in Greece and Europe in these difficult times.

Conference languages: Greek, English – simultaneous translation

Contact: Aimilia Koukouma, Researcher Nicos Poulantzas Institute, email:


Thursday, 23.11.2017

18:00-19:00 Opening

Introduction: Maria Karamessini, Member of the Board of Nicos Poulantzas Institute, Professor of Labour Economics and Economics of the Welfare State at Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, President and Governor of the Greek Public Employment Agency-OAED

Keynote speech: Yannis Dragasakis, Deputy Prime Minister of Greece: “Fighting the beast of inequality from the position of a left-wing governmental responsibility”

19:00-20:30 Session 1:  Wealth – Income – Taxation

Moderator: Marica Frangakis, Independent researcher, member of the EuroMemo Group, member of the Board of Nicos Poulantzas Institute


Jeremy Leaman, Emeritus Fellow in European Political Economy, Loughborough University: “Re-defining Public Goods in a Fragmenting Europe: Inequality, power, distribution and the role taxation”

Theodoros Mitrakos, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Greece: “The impact of fiscal consolidation on the distribution of income and wealth in Greece during the crisis”

Weimer Salverda, Professor of Labour Market and Inequality at the Amsterdam Centre for Inequality Studies: “Income and Wealth Inequalities in the European Union: Households and their members”


Friday, 24.11.2017

18:00-19:30 Session 2: Industrial relations and labour market inequalities (I)

Moderator: Nasos Iliopoulos, Special Secretary of the Greek Labour Inspectorate, Member of the Political Secretariat of SYRIZA and member of the Board of Nicos Poulantzas Institute

Effie Achtsioglou, Greece’s Minister of Labor, Social Security and Social Solidarity

Gerhard Bosch, Professor emeritus at the University of Duisburg-Essen: “Reducing income inequality by collective bargaining”

Jill Rubery, Professor of Comparative Employment Systems, Manchester Business School, University of Manchester: “Inequality, labour market flexibility and European employment policy”

Session 3: Industrial relations and labour market inequalities (II)

Moderator: Natasa Theodorakopoulou, Member of the Political Secretariat of SYRIZA, member of the Secretariat of the Party of European Left (EL), member of the Board of Nicos Poulantzas Institute


Aristea Koukiadaki, Senior Lecturer, School of Law, University of Manchester: “Collective agreements, social dialogue and inequalities in the periphery of Europe”

Kostadinka Kuneva, MEP, GUE/NGL: “An alternative proposal by the European Left for industrial relations: Elements from my personal three-year experience”


Saturday, 25.11.2017

10:00-12:00 Session 4: Youth, gender, migration and inter/intra generational inequalities (I)

Moderator: Jason SchinasPapadopoulos, Secretary of SYRIZA Youth


Nikos Paizis, Senior Researcher at the Centre for the Development of Education Policy of the Greek Confederation of Labour, KANEP – GSEE: “Social and educational inequalities in Greece and the effectiveness of educational policy”

Dimitris Parsanoglou, Senior researcher at the Department of Social Policy, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences: “Employer hiring practices and youth strategies for labour market integration in Greece during the crisis”

Michel Vakaloulis, Associate Professor of Political Science, Univeristy of Paris VIII: “Social inequalities and forms of politicization of youth during the crisis: The case of France”

Paola Villa, Professor of Economics, University of Trento & Gabriella Berloffa, Associate Professor of Economics, University of Trento: “Gender inequalities in the early labour market experience of young Europeans”

12:00-13:00 Session 5: Youth, gender, migration and inter/intra generational inequalities (II)

Moderator: Panos Lambrou, Member of the Political Secretariat of SYRIZA, Head of Rights, Refugee and Justice


Anna Vouyioukas, Social Scientist – Independent gender expert, member of the Secretariat of the Feminist Policy Section of SYRIZA: “Gendered inequalities and the gender of the crisis”

Eleni Spathana, Lawyer, migration and asylum expert: “Migration, inequalities and migration policy in Greece and the EU”

13:00-14:30 Session 6: Neoliberalism, globalization, inequalities and European policy

Moderator: Yiannis Bournous, member of the Political Secretariat of SYRIZA, Head of European and International Affairs


Dionysis Gravaris, Professor of Political Science, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences: “The neo-liberal state as a mechanism of (re)production of inequalities”

Werner Raza, Coordinator of the EuroMemo Group, Director of ÖFSE – Austrian Foundation for Development Research: “Globalization, inequality and the future of democracy”

Dimitris Papadimoulis, MEP, head of the Eurogroup of SYRIZA, GUE/NGL, Vice President of the European Parliament, member of Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs: “Increase of inequalities during the years of crisis in Europe: Social and regional disparities, the European Social Agenda and the proposals of the Left”

Lunch break

15:30-17:30Session 7: Inequalities, welfare state and middle classes in Southern Europe

Moderator: Elena Papadopoulou, Secretary General for Economic Policy, Greek Ministry of Finance


Rafael Muñoz de Bustillo, Professor of Applied Economics, University of Salamanca: “Income distribution and the middle classes in Spain from boom to bust”

Anna Maria Simonazzi, Professor of Economics, Sapienza University of Rome: “Good jobs, bad jobs, no jobs. Southern European structural reforms and the withering middle class”

Christos Papatheodorou, Professor of Social Policy, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences: “Neoliberal policies as a magnifier of the impact of the crisis on inequality, poverty and social protection in Greece”

Theano Fotiou, Alternate Minister of Social Solidarity: “Inequalities and social state in Greece”

Coffee Break

18:00-19:30Session 8: European Integration, Intra-EU Inequalities, Sustainable and Equitable Growth (round table)

Moderator: Maria Karamessini


Walter Baier, political coordinator of transform! europe

Ska Keller, Co-Chair of the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance (video intervention)

Euclid Tsakalotos, Greek Finance Minister

Gabriele Zimmer, MEP, Die Linke, elected President of the GUE/NGL, substitute member in the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs

19:30-20:00 Alexis Tsipras, Prime Minister of Greece