On the 15th of October, the German Foreign Minister, Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, spoke about the state of European politics at an evening reception organised by Das Progressive Zentrum and the Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung. Social Democrat parliamentarians from across the EU were invited to the conference, entitled “Towards a Progressive Europe” and focusing on financial and economic policy.
The reception was a side-event of the first inter-parliamentary conference, initiated by the parliamentary group of the SPD. Das Progressive Zentrum organised the conference on behalf of the Group.
At the evening reception, opening words of welcome were spoken by Dr. Roland Schmidt, Director of the Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung, and by Dominic Schwickert, Director of Das Progressive Zentrum. In his keynote address, Steinmeier outlined that Europe is faced with monumental challenges.
Euro-crisis and refugee crisis – both lead to the same conclusion: Europe is at a crossroads. It can choose between becoming a continent on which border controls, walls and national egotism are erected once more. Or becoming a continent which sticks together and acts together; one which works to further develop the single currency, has a truly European asylum policy, and which fights the causes of mass migration in Europe’s neighbouring countries. Either we progress towards more Europe, or we risk dismantling the house we have built together. German Federal Foreign Minister, Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier
Some 200 invited guests attended the event, amongst them parliamentarians from 21 EU countries, members of the Bundestag and of the European Parliament, as well as civil society representatives. That in stormy times such as these a strong, transnational exchange is needed was outlined by Dominic Schwickert:
If a positive public dynamic is to flourish once again in the EU, then it is necessary that government negotiations are, in future, supported more strongly by processes of understanding and exchange with parliamentarians and with civil society. Dominic Schwickert, Director of Das Progressive Zentrum
Carsten Schneider MP, Deputy Chairman of the SPD parliamentary group, underlined in his speech the importance of a continuous exchange among parliamentarians. He thanked his colleagues from the national parliaments as well as the European Parliament for the fruitful discussions especially about European financial and budgetary coordination.
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