“Towards a Progressive Europe” – this remains the objective of the conference, especially in currently tumultuous times in Europe and the world. After successfully strengthening ties at the conferences in Rome and Paris, the chairmen and chairwomen of the social democratic and socialist parliamentary groups of the national parliaments come together in Berlin for this year’s first gathering.
The growing nationalism and populism in virtually all member states, the stagnation in the refugee debate as well as the aftermath of the financial and economic crisis are only a few of the challenges Europe has to face. Progressive forces in Europe have a duty to come up with viable solutions and regain people’s trust in politics, especially during a year with general elections in the Netherlands, France and Germany.
Following the introductory address by the host and chairman of the SPD parliamentary group Thomas Oppermann, the first work session on “Progressive Parties in Times of the Populist Uprising” will commence. Katarina Barley, secretary general of the SPD, Andreas Schieder, chairman of the Austrian SPÖ parliamentary club as well as Olivier Faure, chairman of the Socialist, Ecologist and Republican group in the French parliament will give keynote speeches on this topic. In addition, each delegation will present an assessment of the current situation in its respective country.
The following day will include the second work session “Tackling Inequalities and Creating More Just Societies: The Future of EMU”. Input will be provided by Marcel Fratzscher, president of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) and Alex Bodry, chairman of the LSAP group in the Luxembourg parliament.
Subsequently, the focus will shift towards security policies. Keynotes and commentaries for the third work session “Towards a New European Security Architecture” will be provided by Raphael Bossong, Expert on EU counterterrorism policy, German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), Meryame Kitir, chairwoman of the Belgian sp.a parliamentary group as well as Stavros Theodorakis, founder of To Potami and the chairman in the Greek parliament.