Maria Joao Rodrigues elected new FEPS President



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Maria Joao Rodrigues elected new FEPS President Maria Joao Rodrigues was elected President of the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) on Wednesday 28th June. She succeeds Massimo D'Alema who chaired the think tank of the Progressives at European level over the last seven years. Her election, the first time for a woman at such a position, happened on the same day of the FEPS annual flagship conference Call to Europe and Maria Joao Rodrigues underlined that it is the time for the EU to become a political entity with strong cohesion and democracy, and not just a single market.

"I am very honoured as I've been working with FEPS since the beginning, both as an academic, policy maker or member of the European Parliament" said Maria Joao Rodrigues right after the vote by the FEPS General Assembly. She also expressed her gratitude to her predecessor for his commitment for FEPS and the work achieved so far: "We will continue the current research and we move to a new phase in order to address the major challenges ahead."

In order to succeed, Maria Joao Rodrigues already implemented some changes to the FEPS structure. Among the most relevant changes, the former European Parliament president with a long career as a professor, Josep Borrell, was nominated as the new president of the FEPS Scientific Council. This will help to continue and improve the work of FEPS, established now for almost 10 years, with an impressive network of thousands of academics and politicians such as Pascal Lamy, Joseph Stiglitz, hundreds of research programmes such as the Millennial Dialogue and Next Left, and regular publications in the format of policy briefs, opinion and magazines like The Progressive Post.

European and Progressive Profile

Thanks to the election of Maria Joao Rodrigues, FEPS will benefit from one of the most prominent intellectual, political and European personalities with a triple background as academic, policy maker and elected member. Indeed, Maria Joao Rodrigues is a full professor of European economic politics in the European Studies Institute - Université Libre de Bruxelles and in the Lisbon University Institute. She also chaired the Scientific Board, in charge of preparing the EU framework programme for social economic research, working with the European research community.

Former Minister of Portugal for Employment in the first government of prime minister and now currently UN Secretary general, Antonio Guterres, Maria Joao Rodrigues is known as an expert on EU political economy and has notably served for all the EU institutions (Council, Commission, Presidency). She is now vice-president for economic and social affairs of the S&D Group, currently the second most important EP Group, with 190 members from the 28 Member States.

Known as the mother of the "Lisbon Strategy", Maria Joao Rodrigues is author of more than one hundred publications. Her main outcomes in European policy making also concern the Lisbon Treaty, strategic partnership with Africa, China and Brazil, reform of the Eurozone and the European social pillar.

Call for a more social and democratic

Europe Maria Joao Rodrigues is today chairing the annual FEPS flagship conference Call to Europe, this year entitled "Democracy First". She introduced the second session, addressing the need for a progressive alternative, which will go beyond the five scenarios proposed by the European Commission. "A 6th scenario should be implemented as soon as possible, delivering better European solutions to address citizens concerns: ensuring decent job and social protection, investing for a sustainable development, increasing convergence in the Eurozone, providing security but also protecting refugees, making a fairer multilateral system in cooperation with the rest of the world."

Background about FEPS

The FEPS headquarters is based in the European area in Brussels and counts on a permanent team of 13 people lead by Secretary General, Ernst Stetter.

FEPS is an umbrella organisation of a large network of national political foundations and think tanks, including 47 full members and 16 observers.

New members

"We are happy to welcome three new full members and three new observers as of yesterday", said Maria Joao Rodrigues after the General Assembly.

The three new full members are:

o Das Progressive Zentrum – Germany

o DIKTIO – Greece

o Centrum im. Ignacego Daszyńskiego - Poland

The three new observers are:

o Broadbent Institute – Canada

o Fundación Salvador Allende - Chili

o Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI) – United Kingdom