In May 2019, Hungary celebrated 15 years of EU membership. However, the European Parliament believes that Hungary is in breach of EU values, thereby posing a threat to the existence of the union. The fundamental restructuring of the political system initiated by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his Fidesz party has had a tangible impact on the functioning of Hungarian democracy, raising concerns and criticism. How will this conflict develop – both with regard to Hungary as an EU member state and with regard to the future of the EU?
The Visegrad Four has aroused the minds and hearts of political spectators and actors alike lately: From a rather innocent and inconspicuous platform for informal regional cooperation, the V4 has evolved into a perceived antithesis of the European political mainstream in recent years. Yet, is this a mere snapshot of the current state of the V4 or a lasting development? What does the future hold for the V4? And, more importantly, how can progressive forces actively shape this future? Responses of our experts at the second international roundtable on ‘Future Scenarios for the Visegrad Group’ were mixed. Yet, on one aspect there was broad agreement: It is about high time to reinvent progressive politics – both spatially and thematically.
Has the Visegrad Group turned into a unified alliance of enemies to EU integration and refugees? Not according to the experts at our roundtable. Some of them even fear a potential implosion of the group.
On the 15th of October 2015, the German Foreign Minister, Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, spoke about the state of European politics at an evening reception organised by Das Progressive Zentrum and the Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung. Opening words of welcome were spoken by Dr. Roland Schmidt, Director of the Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung, and by Dominic Schwickert, Director of Das Progressive Zentrum. In his keynote address, Steinmeier outlined that Europe is faced with monumental challenges.
The Euro-zone crisis and the protracted, month-long negotiations about a new Greek bailout have brought to the fore deep cracks in the European integration project. It also bought to light difference between Europe’s progressive parties. Now Europe seems to be faced with a choice: more Europe and closer integration, or a reversion to nation states and national interests? Faced with this choice, the parliamentary group of the SPD invited Social Democrat parliamentarians from across the EU to Berlin for the first inter-parliamentary conference, entitled “Towards a Progressive Europe”. Das Progressive Zentrum organised the conference on behalf of the group.
Coal is Poland’s „black gold,” this is a common belief in the country. From the Polish perspective, coal as a source of energy has two major advantages: it is cheap and it is located within country borders, which crucially connects to national security. After all, coal seemed to be gold in the past, but there is reasonable doubt about its status in the future. Can green energy become the new Polish „green gold”?
The relationship between Greece and Germany has often been described as a game of chicken. Two teenagers in a car are heading towards each other. In a head on confrontation, the first to swerve would lose. If neither of them swerves, they both die. The only way to win is to tie yourself to an immovable position. That is why the newly elected Syriza government hammers on about its political mandate, on which it has to deliver.
On March 3, Anke Hassel and Henrik Enderlein – both professors at the Hertie School of Governance and members of our Circle of Friends – together with Hermann E. Ott – Senior Advisor at the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, and former Green member of the German Bundestag – discussed the possible consequences of low or even no growth to the national economies of the industrialized world. László Andor, Mercator Senior Fellow at the Hertie School and former EU Commissioner, provided the keynote for the panel debate.
Poland appears to be a model pupil for CEE countries when it comes to going through the worldwide economic crisis. But one should interpret the overall admiration with caution, because a deeper look into the statistics reveals that the social situation in the country is not always as comfortable as the economic development might indicate. Especially the social dialogue is under pressure and faces several threats, also by the Polish government.
On 26 November 2014, a group of young professionals from Eastern and Central Europe discussed their ideas – gathered in the Future Lab on “Energy Policy” – with Prof. Dr. Gesine Schwan (former social democratic candidate for the federal presidency) and Marek Siwiec (former Vice-President of the European Parliament).
Germany has recently been criticised for its current account surplus, urged to spend on investment to reflate Europe’s markets. However, domestic demand has been growing lately and additional investments would only have a marginal impact on export growth in countries where this is needed most. Europe must face the truth: it seems unlikely that Germany will back a ‘large pan-Eurozone fiscal stimulus’.
Buzz word “euroscepticism” – what does it actually mean in the different national contexts and how is it linked to the management of the economic crisis? Jozsef Peter Martin takes a look at these complex issues and how Europe can be promoted in our current difficult times.
Can the EU become a superpower without a vision for the future? Peter Weisenbacher argues that global Human Rights provide the answer.
Solidarity is not charity. Solidarity is help offered to an equal with the expectation of reciprocity. – In the aftermath of the European elections, EU Commissioner László Andor outlined future steps of integration that will give the EU more capacity to prevent economic recessions.
Never waste a crisis – but progressive forces failed to develop an agenda and a vision despite the highly popular support for alternative solutions of the financial crisis in Europe. This paralysis facilitates the rise of extremist parties.
Before debating technical solutions to the current economic and monetary crisis of the European Union, taking a look at the psychology of the underlying narratives shows us that having the right solutions might not suffice to tackle this crisis.
Central and Eastern European Countries are the first ones to lose out from a low ambition energy efficiency proposal. The European Commission’s proposal for an energy efficiency target for 2030 do not only fail to use the current momentum as a motor for change. They risk perpetuating Europe’s energy dependency well beyond the year 2030.
Young professionals and high-level speakers from politics, academia, and civil society discussed with EU commissioner László Andor at the kick-off event of the joint project “A Future Agenda for Eastern and Central Europe. Input for a New European Economic and Social Model” of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and Das Progressive Zentrum in Vilnius, Lithuania, about the renewal of Europe and the key questions for the region of Eastern and Central Europe.