The European Integration and the Left – Between National Orientation and European Cooperation

Workshop of Rosa Luxemburg Foundation and transform!

Contact and further information:
Cornelia Hildebrandt
hildebrandt (at)

Rosa Luxemburg Foundation
Franz-Mehring-Platz 1
10243 Berlin

Due to the success of last year’s experience in terms of both content and participation, a second workshop will be held in Berlin shortly before the EL Summer University.


The year 2015 started with new social and political dynamics in Europe. They point towards changing power relations, new and difficult challenges, but indicate also new chances for the European left. This includes the escalating conflict in Ukraine. This refers to struggles concerning the openness of European societies, immigration and asylum policy. Finally yet importantly, this relates to the election victory of SYRIZA – with the essential question if the left in Europe will be able in supporting the new Greek government to fight effectively in each country the austerity policies and open a new window in the fight against the neoliberal vacuum in Europe. This is also important in view of the upcoming elections in Spain and other countries affected by the crisis.

The aim of the three-day seminar is to commonly analyse basic development tendencies in Europe and the deriving political challenges for the left-wing party family. The participants will discuss:

  • The shifting power relations and new social cleavages in Europe;
  • The national struggles of the left in the different European regions;
  • The potentials and chances of European struggles, new forms of cooperation, and the development of common European projects.



The second edition of the Berlin Seminar – which first took place in summer 2014 – will again gather left-wing representatives of political parties, activists, and academics from all over Europe. This approach guarantees critical and high quality political discussion and provides participants with the opportunity to learn about different methodologies in the study of left-wing politics in Europe.

Structure of the seminar

The seminar will start with a historical analysis of Rosa Luxemburg’s approach to the “national question”, building a bridge to the current revival of the difficult question of political sovereignty in Europe.

On the second day, a Member of European Parliament (MEP) will give insight into the challenges for the left in Europe one year after the European elections and the constitution of the new GUE/NGL group. With the GUE/NGL being the broadest coalition of left-wing parties in Europe this input will mark the starting point for the following discussions.

The following Part 1 will then focus on the power relations in Europe, analysed through the lens of the European party families.

Part 2 will focus on the regional development of left-wing parties, giving examples from Western Europe (Spain and Portugal before the Parliamentary elections), the Balkans (presenting a new left-wing project from Serbia), and Eastern Europe (giving a left-wing analysis presented by a Russian activist).

Part 3 will discuss the strategies of transnational cooperation on the left, from Blockupy and AlterSummit via the transatlantic mobilisation against TTIP, the fight against austerity in Europe together with the SYRIZA government in Greece to the future of European Left Party (EL). The seminar will end with a critical reflection and an outlook on upcoming challenges and problems.

Contact: Cornelia Hildebrandt,


Sunday, 5 July


17:00 – 18:00
Welcome and Introduction: European Integration and the left between national orientation and European cooperation: Cornelia Hildebrandt

18:00 – 19:00
Historical Frame: Rosa Luxemburg and the National Question: Holger Politt

19:00 – 20:00 Discussion


Monday, 6 July

09:00 – 9.45
Challenges: A perspective from the European Parliament – Challenges for the left one year after the European elections and the constitution of the new GUE/NGL: Helmut Scholz, MEP

9.45 – 10:45 Discussion

10.45 – 11:00 Coffee Break

Part 1: Political environment: Power relations in Europe

11.00 – 11:20
The change of the political power relations: What effect on the Left? Cornelia Hildebrandt

11.20 – 11.40
European People’s Party shaping the EU: Power consolidated?

11.40 – 12.00 Discussion

12.00 – 12.45
The European populist right as a challenge for the left: Elisabeth Gauthier/ Joachim Bischoff

12:45 – 13:30 Discussion

13:30 – 14:30 Lunch Break

14:30 – 15:15
European Socialists: Seismograph for the neo-liberal turn in Europe? Scientist from Italy

15:15 – 16:00
European Greens: European strategies between eco-social turn and issues of international conflicts: Jochen Weichold/ Janosch Steuwer

16:00 – 16:45 Discussion

16:45 – 17:00 Coffee Break

16:00 – 16:30
Radical Left versus the EU? The SYRIZA case: Gerassimos Moschonas

16:30 – 17:00 Discussion

17:00 – 17:30
Old New Questions: Populism, European Unity and the Radical Left: Walter Baier

17:30 – 18:30 Discussion

20:00 Dinner


Tuesday, 7 July

Part 2: Regional perspectives: Left-wing parties’ in Europe

09:00 – 09:45
Western Europe: “Can we”? The left in Spain and Portugal before the elections: Luis Ramiro
Comment: Armando Fernandez Steinko

09:45 – 10:45 Discussion

10:45 – 11:15
Balkans: The case of the Serbian left and European integration: Vlad Simovic

11:15 – 11:45 Discussion

11:45 – 12:00 Coffee Break

12:00 – 12:45
Eastern Europe: The Russian left and the conflict in Ukraine: Volodymyr Ishchenko

12:45 – 13:30 Discussion

13:30 – 14:15 Lunch Break

Part 3: Strategy: Left-wing transnational cooperation

14:15 – 15:00
The economic power-relations between US and EU – what does it mean for the Left?: Leo Panitch

15:00 – 16:00 Discussion

16:00 – 16:30 Coffee Break

16:30 – 18:00
The SYRIZA government and the left-wing mobilisations for another Europe
– The Situation of SYRIZA: Tassos Koronakis
– Comment from the EL: Anne Sabourin
– Comment from Blockupy: Corinna Genschel
– Comment from AlterSummit: Sebastian Franco
– Perspective of the European movements: Laura Horn
– Comment from trade unions

18:00 – 19.00 Discussion

19:30 Dinner


Wednesday, 8 July

09:00 – 09:45
Final discussion and outlook/open questions
– The left and the European question: How to deal with EU scepticism?
– How to deal with European institutions?
Input: Andreas Fischer-Leskano

09:45 – 12:30 Discussion

13:30 – 14:00 Lunch Break

14:00 – 16:00
Transfer by bus to the EL-Summer University

For programme updates click here.