The Leaders' Vision for Europe's Future
2009 was a turning point for social democracy across the continent. After numerous disappointing electoral results, in particular the European elections, it has become an imperative to discuss the reasons for the decline in support for leftwing parties. The aim of this difficult, yet essential debate was above all to draw constructive conclusions from the recent past and build a bridge towards a new phase of social democracy. In this new era it is to emerge as a modern and vibrant movement, with a credible and trustworthy agenda. It is to be a force for change, which is ready to cope, both ideologically and organizationally, with the challenges of the 21st century.
A process of renewal is surely gradual and multidimensional. Its complex nature is reflected in the words of the progressive European leaders, whose groundbreaking speeches in 2009 have been collated in this book.
The words contained in the speeches herein were expressed at diverse occasions and times throughout the year, in many languages, and in various locations across the continent and beyond. Despite these facts, they are united in the message that it is high Time for a new direction.
This path has to be decisively chosen, having regard for the values that have defined the movement for over 150 years. They have been the everlasting, universal principles that have designed a policy agenda for the people, bringing hope for a fairer future for all together with solidarity and mutual respect among peoples, societies and states. Cultivating these values is in fact the strategy that will surely empower the movement to break down neo-liberal myths and consolidate in order to make jobs, welfare and prosperity a reality for all. This surely cannot be achieved by single states acting alone, which is why the leaders of social democracy call for unity in the spirit of modern internationalism; beyond the nation state.
This vital book Next Left – The Leaders’ Visions for Europe’s Future is composed of 6 chapters and consists of 28 speeches. This unique collection was assembled thanks to the support of the respective Leaders for the ‘Next Left’ project, which is chaired by Dr. Alfred Gusenbauer, former Chancellor of Austria and implemented by FEPS – Foundation for European Progressive Studies with the support of Renner Institut.
Alfred GUSENBAUER / Sigmar GABRIEL / Martine AUBRY / Borut PAHOR / Wouter BOS / Gordon BROWN / Jutta URPILAINEN / Eamon GILMORE / Joseph MUSCAT / Mircea GEOANA / Caroline GENNEZ / Elio DI RUPO / Yiannakis OMIROU / Jüri PIHL / Janis DINEVICS / Grzegorz NAPIERALSKI / Jens STONENBERG / Zita GURMAI / Pier Luigi BERSANI / Riccardo NENCINI / Algirdas BUTKEVICIUS / Martin SCHULZ / Mona SAHLIN / Werner FAYMANN / Ildiko LENDVAI / George PAPANDREOU / Jiri PAROUBEK / Jose Luis RODRIGUEZ ZAPATERO / Poul Nyrup RASMUSSEN