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The future of European social democracy

  • Date(s)
    8 February 2008
  • Location

The centre-left must adapt to meet the challenges of the global age, said the British prime minister Gordon Brown at a major London symposium organised by Policy Network and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, with the support of Progress and the Fabian Society.

"You can never count on the status quo," he remarked responding to questions from an audience of senior European social democrats, in a session chaired by the British academic David Marquand. Read the coverage of the prime minister's comments in the Guardian, the Observer and the Times.

Entitled The future of European social democracy, the aim of the two day event was to outline a new progressive 21st century vision of social democracy capable of meeting the policy and political challenges of the new millennium. Following on from a series of recent national defeats for the centre-left in Europe, the event provided an invaluable opportunity for senior social democrats from across the EU to come together and learn the lessons from the recent electoral successes and failures of the centre-left. Sessions addressed Europe's changes political attitudes and perceptions and the social trends underlying the EU's shifting electoral landscape.

The speakers at the conference included: Patrick Diamond, director of strategy at the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission; Carlos Mulas Granados, director of the committee writing the PSOE’s electoral manifesto for 2008, former deputy head of the prime minister’s economic office and professor of economics at the Complutense University, Madrid; Edgar Grande, professor and chair in comparative politics at the University of Munich; Roger Liddle, vice chair, Policy Network; Matthias Machnig, minister of state at the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety; David Marquand, visiting fellow at the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford.Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP, British minister for the Cabinet Office; Gero Neugebauer, author of Politische Milieus in Deutschland - Die Studie der Friedrich Ebert Stiftung; Rt Hon James Purnell MP, British secretary of state for work and pensions; Lord Giles Radice, chair, Policy Network; Bernard Spitz, secretary general, En Temps Réel, France; Loukas Tsoukalis, president of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy; Kajo Wasserhövel, minister of state at the German Federal Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs; and Ricard Zapata-Barrero, associate professor of political science at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona.

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