European Social Democrats have struggled uphill in recent years. The traditional parties have come under pressure from different political sides. On the left new parties have emerged in the aftermath of the financial crisis. On the other side right-wing populists pretend to care about social cohesion. And in the centre a social-liberal option, President Macron’s ‘En Marche’ movement might turn into a European party.
At the same time a renewed Labour movement in the UK and courageous economic and social policies like in Portugal continue to mobilize voters. Apparently social democratic values still offer relevant guidance to tackle the challenges of the 21st century. Worker participation has proven to be an important safeguard to steer economies through crises without sacrificing too many jobs. Solidarity instead of austerity and democratic dialogue instead of populist slogans are answers guiding societies to more social cohesion.
The panel will bring together national and European perspectives concerning the options of Social Democracy in an increasingly diversified left in Europe. This discussion is organised at the occasion of the handover from Uwe Optenhögel to Renate Tenbusch, new director of the EU office of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.