Three strategic priorities for the progressive political forces in the EU

By Dimitris Papadimoulis – Vice President of the European Parliament, head of Syriza party delegation

In the coming period the progressive forces in Europe will have to develop the major pillars of their political strategy.

The proposals that will be made should be feasible and give solution to ongoing challenges while bringing hope to the European citizens. They also need to respond convincingly to the divergent and failed neoliberal financial model that has been imposed by conservative political forces since the early 2000s.

The first goal is the development and implementation of growth-oriented policies that increase social cohesion. For decades, social peace, political and economic stability, and a strong welfare state have secured a prosperous EU. Although this model had to be significantly revised, we are witnessing an abrupt dismantling of the social state and the imposition of an austerity-driven model that increases inequality, violates human and labour rights, de-composes the productive forces of national economies.

The second goal is the establishment of a sustainable production model that will generate jobs, respect the environment, incorporate all all social forces and contribute to the redistribution of wealth. Strengthening and boosting investments in the field of social and solidarity economy is of vital importance towards creating conditions of social prosperity and development in the EU. Needless to say that such a model also implies the better allocation of EU funds in areas that lack in competitiveness and suffer from sky-rocketed unemployment and poverty.

The third goal is the institutional revision of the EU, in a way that deals with its deep-rooted, structural problems. Democratic legitimacy and transparency in ad hoc institutions (i.e. Eurogroup), the banking union and the deposit scheme, the fiscal harmonization, the respect of the acquis communautaire, and the creation of a powerful European Social Pillar are major challenges that demand concrete actions.

It goes without saying that for the progressive political forces to bring about such reforms and shift the political agenda in the EU, it takes to achieve political and electoral majority in the European Parliament and to the member-states. To that end, a constant dialogue and debate with the citizens and the civil society is of paramount importance.

Furthermore, trust between the citizens and the political forces has to be fully restored, and ideological lines between the progressive group and the neoliberal spectrum that has brought EU into deep social and economic division, have to be clearly marked.

After the successful event of the Progressive Caucus in Brussels, in June 21th, with the participation of leading political figures from different political families (i.e. Greens, Left, Socialists), it is time to intensify our efforts towards enhancement of electoral performance of all progressive forces in the European Union elections in 2019. This is our first milestone and we should work hard on that.