Next Left and Amsterdam Process: think tanks, academia and political world

On behalf of FEPS, Policy Network and Wiardi Beckman Stichting cordially invite to an event on “Mobilising for social democracy in Europe: thinktanks, academia and political world”, which will take place on the fringe of the PES Progressive Convention held in Brussels on 25th and 26th November.

This fringe will be organized within the thematic block “Active Democracy” on Saturday, 26th November 2011 from 15.30 till 17.00. It will take place in meeting room 315, which is located on the 3rd Floor (”FEPS Sphere”) of the Square Conference Center (rue Mont des Arts, Brussels 1000). The following speakers will join the panel: Maria Badia I Cutchet (MEP and Vice-President of the S&D Group in the EP), Lilianne Ploumen (Chairwoman of PvdA), Stewart Wood (Member of House of Lords and Oxford University), Paul Magnette (Belgian Minister for Climate and Energy, PS and ULB), Oliver Ferrand (Chairman of Terra Nova), and Olaf Cramme (Director of Policy Network and Lecturer at LSE). The debate will be chaired by Ania Skrzypek (FEPS Policy Advisor).

The theme of the debate was chosen for two reasons: firstly, the weakness in social democratic pro-Europeanism demands ideological debate within the framework of ideas for a new socio-economic paradigm. Dialogue between the worlds of politics, think tanks and academia is indispensible for the innovation, contestation and experimentation that inspire political renewal. Secondly, disenchantment with what social democracy stands for is not only prevalent among “ordinary” citizens, but also among intellectuals. Academia increasingly charges centre-left politics with intellectual exhaustion, with no capacity to challenge, or constructively involve them: as long as progressives remain outcasts of universities and schools, no new school of thought and no new progressive majority will emerge.

It is expected that the fringe debate will be an occasion to explore and debate ideas put forward by think tanks and academics on the idea of Europe and the renewal of social democracy, asking how such institutions can mobilize more effectively at the European level. For Next Left and Amsterdam Processes the outcomes of the workshops will serve directly also as inputs to the common research programme in 2010, during which several prestigious events have been scheduled in cooperation with universities in Europe and overseas.