Social Democracy and Europe's Crisis

Written by Ashwin Rattan Thursday, 22 December 2011 10:14
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Thursday 16 February 2012, 6p.m.

Room B33, Birkbeck College, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX

The financial crisis, the subsequent economic crisis and the crisis in the Eurozone have multiple facets that highlight and, in some respects, exacerbate social democracy’s malaise. They are crises of values, programmatic beliefs, policies, leadership and institutions. They raise in the most pressing manner the issue of the real contemporary meaning of reformism, internationalism and solidarity, the relationship between the political sphere and the economic sphere, the boundary between the public and the private, the appropriate level(s) of action (national, European, global), and the search for leadership and effective institutions. However, the ongoing crisis is above all a crisis of neo-liberalism and not enough (as well as a particular kind) of Europe. Yet, it was the Centre-Right and its allies that won the 2009 European elections. Crucially, they did so on the basis of a theme and slogan with clear social democratic overtones: to help create “l’Europe qui protège”.

What lessons have Europe’s social democrats drawn from this ongoing crisis and, above all, how would they deal with it? What are their proposals and their strategies in that respect? How do they propose to meet the challenge of building the broad alliance that would enable them to return to power and what is to be done if they succeed? The purpose of this event is to bring together speakers from a range of spheres and offer them a chance to begin to sketch out current social democratic thinking at both the national and the European level on the crisis in the Eurozone and the associated ensemble of issues, including the regulation of financial services and the demand for the explicit politicization of the European Union. Is more integration the answer and if so, what kind of Europe should emerge from this crisis? How can democratic politics be brought to bear on unfettered markets and what is the appropriate level of action?

Chair:            Dr Dionyssis G. Dimitrakopoulos (Birkbeck)


The event is supported by the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, the London Office of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, and the Department of Politics at Birkbeck College, University of London.

Registration is free but required. You can register here.

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