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Rethinking Europe: A New Social Democratic Narrative - FES Alumni Conference 2017

The Western world is facing the biggest challenges in its political landscape since the fall of the Berlin wall. 2016 was the year of the referendum on #Brexit and across the Atlantic, where ultra-conservatives and radical right groups in America are celebrating the election to the White House of the billionaire Donald Trump, the populist wave celebrated a victory never seen before. For the first time since the end of the Second World War fundamental elements of the European security architecture are put openly under question, whereas in America and Europe the political discourse is no longer about bringing down barriers of any kind, but about building walls and fences again.

Meanwhile, in spite of the revelations that culminated with the Panama Papers scandal, the politics of big business, of uncontrollable and uncontrolled financial flows, and of deregulation continues. This is effectively done to the detriment of those who work to earn their living by hiding profits from the fiscal authorities, by lowering work and living standards, by externalizing production costs, thus putting heavier burdens on the shoulders of the many. The austerity policies imposed inside EU with the help of liberal and conservative forces did not restore the welfare and wellbeing of European citizens, but determined a chronicization of poverty and created additional tensions inside a European union already in trouble.

The 2017 FES Alumni Conference, that took place on May 5-7, 2017, in Bucharest aimed to discuss about the way social democracy is responding to these tremendous challenges. What message sends the democratic left to its citizens and to the entire world? And what is needed to be done, not to surrender the world in the hands of the populists and neoliberals? 

Europe calling: Politik für Europa – Politics for Europe

Financial crisis, economic crisis, refugee crisis: They are serving as centrifugal forces, polarising Europe and driving it apart. Recently, trust in the European Union and finding joint solutions for such central challenges has really suffered. 
That makes it even more important to ask: What is keeping Europe together?  And what progressive European policies can counter pessimism and legitimate worries with a positive alternative that is fit for the future?
With Europe Calling (#ec17fes), the Friedrich Ebert Foundation will address these questions and discuss them in Rome (21st March), Belgrad (9th Mai), Brussels (tbc), Budapest (tbc) and Berlin (tbc).  Europe Calling is developing ideas for a social, fair and free Europe. Join the discussion! Follow the live stream and live bloging!

View from the other side - Partners' perspective on Ostpolitik

Germany has often been invited to engage stronger in foreign policy. Within the framework of the Ukraine crisis, Germany now played a central role within the EU. Through the partners' eyes we are looking in the new FES publication at the Ostpolitik. How is Germany's role assessed, what expectations and which criticisms do the partner countries have in this commitment? With a view from 12 countries, all the complexity that Germany needs considering from this central role becomes visible. What is especially clear, is that Germany's commitment is greatly appreciated by its partners and this mainly because it takes a coordinating and not a leading role. The Romanian perspective is offered by Stephan Meuser, country representative of the FES in Romania: http://library.fes.de/pdf-files/id-moe/13301.pdf

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