Exactly one year after launching DIALOGUE ON EUROPE, a further bilateral half-day #TownHallMeeting was organized – this time in Warsaw. On December 7 th , representatives of academia, civil society and culture from Germany and Poland followed our invitation to discuss possible future scenarios for Europe. Open discussions fed directly into a live conversation about the challenges of European integration and Polish-German relations with Michael Roth, German Minister of State for Europe.
Representatives of civil society and academics from Poland, Germany and other European countries joined a Polish-German seminar in Wroclaw on 20-21 October in search for answers to the question of what role civil society plays at the political scene in Europe today. It seems that nowadays the notion of Europe has been undermined by an economic crisis, followed by a humanitarian one, resulting from inability to handle of the influx of refugees in Europe. Fundamental European values are questioned. European political culture is currently in need of a new approach and civil engagement. It seems, however, that the notion of “civil society” needs redefinition per se to support European democracies. Radical and populist movements win popularity in many European countries, posing a threat to democratic order. Is the democratic order in danger? Is the pluralist political culture of Europe sustainable?
Hungary is commonly portrayed as one of the most Eurosceptic countries in the European Union. Paradoxically, however, the Hungarian public has by and large a positive image of the EU. How can this be explained? And how is the current refugee crisis affecting the EU-Hungarian relations?
Similarly to trends across Europe, populism and radical right-wing politics have become an inextricable part of the political landscape in Bulgaria. Yet, some characteristics render the Bulgarian case unique and highlight the rather different underpinnings compared to, on the surface, similar political phenomena in the East and the West.
In the context of the current refugee crisis the relationship between the Eastern and Western EU member states has become strained. In her contribution, Maria Skóra analyzes Central and Eastern European reactions to the refugee crisis. As conservative nationalism spiced with right-wing populism is on the rise in Central-Eastern Europe, the prospects for coordinated European immigration policies look very grim, indeed.
The Central and Eastern European member states of the European Union (EU) predominantly reacted to the global financial crisis by implementing austerity policies and structural reforms, which have had negative repercussions for social justice. To counter this unfortunate development, this paper argues for a more European approach to both social and fiscal policy: in particular, a shift from passive social policy measures to a preventive approach based on social investment. Economic policy tools, such as a European minimum wage or a more universal approach to social benefits administration, could help prevent income poverty and social dumping, as well as foster regional investment. In order to cushion the regional consequences of asymmetrical monetary shocks, greater financial capabilities on the part of the EU are needed. This must be complemented by effective measures countering tax evasion practices and corruption. All of this demands a careful rethinking of the EU’s social and economic principles says Dr. Maria Skóra.
Die Begeisterung für die Energiewende scheint wenige Jahre nach ihrer Ausrufung abgeklungen. Was die Debatte dominiert, sind tatsächliche oder wahrgenommene Hindernisse für ihre Verwirklichung – allen voran die Kostenfrage. Der langfristige volkswirtschaftliche, industrielle und klimapolitische Nutzen einer vollständigen Transformation des Energiesektors wird dabei zumeist unterschlagen. Wir brauchen JETZT progressive Ansätze, um die Energiewende zum Erfolg zu führen. Nach der Verabschiedung der EEG-Novelle im Juli 2014 kommt es vor allem darauf an, den Fokus vom Stromsektor auf die Bereiche Wärme, Energieeffizienz und Verkehr auszudehnen sowie die energie- und klimapolitischen Rahmenbedingungen in Europa und der Welt konstruktiv mitzugestalten. Diesen Aufgaben sollte sich die Bundesregierung nun vordringlich zuwenden fordert Dr. Sabrina Schulz, Policy Fellow beim Progressiven Zentrum.
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”?
Die mittel- und osteuropäischen Staaten stehen vor gewaltigen Herausforderungen bei der Energiesicherheit. Doch die politischen Antworten in der Region verharren zumeist auf kurzfristigen Strategien zur Diversifizierung der Zulieferer und Nachschubrouten für Erdgas. Mit ihrem Policy Brief legt Policy Fellow Dr. Sabrina Schulz eine langfristige Vision für eine sichere und nachhaltige Energiepolitik in der MOE-Region vor – in Einklang mit den energiepolitischen Prioritäten der EU für 2030.
Breit angelegte Effizienzprogramme für den Wohnungssektor und die Industrie, die Entwicklung der erneuerbaren Energieträger sowie Reformen der Energiemärkte sollten in eine “Gerechte Transition” eingebettet werden, um die sozialen und ökonomischen Effekte des Umbaus hin zu einer niedrig-CO2-Ökonomie abzufedern.
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.
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.