Progressives urge EU to seize the moment and draw the path to a better future for Europe

03/05/2021 - A conference live from Rome and online organised by PES, S&D and Partito Democratico gathered high-level speakers from across the EU

Speakers at the Our Europe, Our Future conference in Rome, Italy

Speakers at the Our Europe, Our Future conference in Rome, Italy

Launching the socialist and democrat push to shape the Conference on the Future of Europe, leading PES figures, citizens and civil society today urged the EU to take bold action for the climate, social rights, and democracy.

Prime ministers, ministers, European Commissioners, MEPs, mayors, trade unionists, civil society and citizens made the call at a hybrid event – Our Europe, Our Future – broadcast from Rome, and organised by the Party of European Socialist (PES), the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament (S&D) and Partito Democratico (PD).

The event – which featured S&D Group President Iratxe García, Partito Democratico Secretary Enrico Letta, Prime Minister António Costa, EU Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, German Vice-Chancellor and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, European Parliament President David Sassoli, and more - is available to view online in full.

PES President Sergei Stanishev said:

“For more than 70 years, the European project has been part of our daily lives and our identity. Europe is a symbol of peace, solidarity, and prosperity. This is something very precious that we must keep for the future.

“For more than a year now, we have been going through a crisis: COVID-19 and its impact on healthcare, its economic and social consequences. Too many people lost their lives. Many sectors in our economies have been swept away. We can see inequality and insecurity rising. This is a big challenge.

“Socialists stood firm. Without our pressure, we would not have today the recovery plan, which is big enough and ambitious enough to become a new foundation for our common European future. A future where our societies are built on the principle of sustainability and respect for the climate. A future which is more just, which creates new possibilities. A future which is social, where there is no discrimination. These ideas must be at the core of Europe’s recovery.

“The European project needs to reconnect, so people see that it is improves their lives. This process will require courage. It will require a lot of work. Now we have to deliver. As socialist, as progressives, let us draw a path to a better future. Let us state firmly that a brighter future for young people starts today.”

The live event was opened by Iratxe García, S&D Group President, and António Costa, Prime Minister of Portugal.

The first panel – Leading a green and just transition – was introduced by PES Deputy Secretary General Giacomo Filibeck and featured: EU Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans, Italian minister Roberto Cingolani, MEP Simona Bonafè, IUSY Vice-President Caterina Cerroni, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, Italian Senator Emma Bonino, and Gergely Karácsony, Mayor of Budapest.

Brando Benifei, Head of the Italian Delegation in the S&D Group, and Luigi Di Maio, Foreign Affairs Minister of Italy, then held a dialogue on progressive priorities.

The event’s second panel – A new social contract for Europe – featured EU Commissioners Paolo Gentiloni and Nicolas Schmit, author Virginia Volpi, PD vice-secretary Irene Tinagli, ETUC Secretary Luca Visentini, Former Commission President Romano Prodi, German Vice-Chancellor and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, former prime minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras, and Italian health minister Roberto Speranza.

The third and final panel, focused on the future of the EU, featured: International Secretary of PD, Lia Quartapelle, European Parliament President David Sassoli, Italian Secretary of State for European Affairs Enzo Amendola, Polish MP Joanna Scheuring-Wielgus, EU Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, Giorgia Miccoli from ID-Budapest European Agora, President of the Foundation for European Progressive Studies Maria João Rodrigues, MEP and Young European Socialists President Alícia Homs Ginel, French secretary of state Clément Beaune, MEPs Marek Belka and Gabi Bischoff, Leader SD Slovenia Tanja Fajon MEP, Vice-President PES Group in the CoR Enrico Rossi, President of the Foreign Affairs Committee Piero Fassino and Enzo Maraio, Secretary of PSI.

Closing remarks were delivered by PES President Sergei Stanishev and Partito Democratico Secretary Enrico Letta.