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Event series: Making the progressive case for Britain in Europe

04 September 2015
Event series: Making the progressive case for Britain in Europe

As a contribution to the campaign on maintaining Britain’s membership to the EU, Policy Network will hold a series of seminars on the ‘progressive case for Europe’ this autumn. Each seminar will look at the strength and weaknesses of pro-EU arguments in areas which have a high potential resonance among social liberal and left-leaning voters. The events benefit from the partnership of the Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung, as well as Green Alliance and the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR).

Distinctively progressive pro-EU arguments are paramount to ensure that voters across the political spectrum are engaged in the referendum campaign. The pro-business and pro-growth arguments for Britain in Europe need to be complemented by convincing narratives on other progressive causes – from climate change to social rights and mobility, foreign policy, international development and trade.

Many think that the arguments are there, and that progressives should now spend time shouting them out: the EU has developed social and environmental norms in the single market; it has set up ambitious climate energy targets; it allows us to travel freely across Europe; it is a force for democracy, and it protects us from the hard edges of globalisation. These claims, nevertheless, face two risks. First, they may not be underpinned by rigorous analysis and sufficient evidence. Second, they may fall on deaf ears. As opinion research has shown, rational and general arguments about the EU cannot do much against entrenched perceptions and local/personal experiences.

Therefore, each of the four events will involve one policy or academic expert, one opinion expert and one politician. Speakers from abroad will provide a non-UK perspective in order to stress convergences on possible steps towards a more progressive EU. The seminars will target a large community of opinion-formers, as well as specialised organisations that will play a decisive role during the referendum campaign.

Calendar of seminars

8 October, 4.30-6pm: What's left from social Europe? The EU's social record and the way forward
– in partnership with the Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung
Confirmed speakers: Catherine Barnard (University of Cambridge), Luke Hildyard (High Pay Centre), Owen Tudor (TUC)

21 October, 8.30-10am: Fair mobility in Europe: How to make the case for EU free movement?
– in partnership with the Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung
Confirmed speaker: Martin Seeleib-Kaiser (University of Oxford), Sunder Katwala (British Future), Rosa Crawford (TUC)

4 November, 12am-2pm: What has Europe ever done for the environment? And could we manage without it? – in partnership with Green Alliance

2 December, 8.30-10am: The UK and the EU’s global role
– in partnership with the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) and the Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung

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