Social Democracy and Europe's Crisis

Event Date: 16 February 2012
Room B33
Birkbeck, University of London
Malet Street
London WC1E 7HX

Social Democracy and Europe’s Crisis

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?

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Introduction by Dr Dionyssis G. Dimitrakopoulos (Birkbeck) .

 

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Dr Michael Dauderstädt (Director, Division for Economic and Social Policy, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung)

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Lord Wood of Anfield (Member of the Shadow Cabinet, Strategic Adviser to Ed Miliband, Tutorial Fellow in Politics, Magdalen College, Oxford)

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Mr Will Straw (Associate Director, Institute for Public Policy Research)

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Mr Richard Murphy (Director, Tax Research LLP and founder, Tax Justice Network)

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Audience Questions

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

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