On 16 February 2017, the SPD Bundestag will host the conference “60 Years in the Making: Europe as a Social Community.” The conference will provide a platform for an exchange on a stronger, fairer and more social Europe.
Not just since the Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom, more and more people are skeptical about European unification. National differences and egoisms have reawakened. In many countries, anti-European parties are achieving great success. They suggest that simple national responses can reverse time. We as Social Democrats throughout Europe are called upon to defend the cohesion of the European Union loudly and decisively.
Social Europe is our response to growing inequality and ever-increasing nationalism in the EU. There is an urgent need for social security standards and minimum wage corridors as well as investment in good work, vocational training, and education. The overall high youth unemployment has to be combated. In short, a change in social policy is needed to regain people’s trust in the European idea.
The SPD parliamentary group has substantiated its demands on social Europe with its position paper. We would like to discuss this paper with our European partners at our conference “60 Years in the Making: Europe as a Social community.” After the welcoming by Axel Schäfer (deputy chairman of the SPD parliamentary group) and an introduction by the chairman of the SPD parliamentary group, Thomas Oppermann, the German Federal Minister of Labor Andrea Nahles will hold a keynote. Subsequently, there will be a panel discussion with Alois Stöger (Federal Minister for Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection, Austria), Ylva Johansson (Minister for Labor Markets, Sweden), Prof. Dr. Björn Hacker (University of Technology and Economics Berlin), George Katrougalos (Deputy Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Greece) as well as Vladimír Špidla (Prime Minister and EU Commissioner for Social Affairs 2004-2010, Czech Republic). The discussion will be moderated by Karoline Münz (Deputy General Secretary, European Movement Germany). Norbert Spinrath (spokesman for European Affairs of the SPD parliamentary group) will conclude the conference with an outlook on the future of the European Union.
Find more information about the Conference as well as the full programme here. The Conference will be simultaneously translated into English and German.