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S&Ds: Progressive family meets in Florence to debate the Future of Europe. This time is different


07 Dec 2021



The Conference on the Future of Europe is key to unlocking the way for a much needed reform of the European Union, starting from the very need to strengthen the quality and quantity of European democracy. A stronger EU is the solution. The Covid-19 crisis with the consequent Next Generation EU have only increased this awareness.

As progressives, we firmly believe we will be able to shape a stronger Europe, but only if our citizens’ movement drives the future of the EU with a project based on participation and enthusiasm.

Hence, in partnership with #Progressives4Europe, we decided to host a public debate in Florence: ‘The Future is Democracy: Progressive Europe at crossroads’.

Together with civic networks, movements, youth organisations, representatives of the progressive family, and with keynote speakers such as David Sassoli, President of the European Parliament, Enrico Letta, National Secretary of the Italian Democratic Party, Andrea Orlando, Italian Minister of Labour and Social Policies, Paolo Gentiloni, European Commissioner for Economy (remotely),  Helena Dalli, European Commissioner for Equality, Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Social Rights (remotely), Jens Geier, Head of the German delegation to the S&D Group, and many others, we will discuss about democracy, European citizenship, social rights, regional and local levels, youth and institutional reforms: our vision of Europe.

Save the date for ‘The Future is Democracy: Progressive Europe at crossroads’, on Saturday 11th December from 09:45 to 18:00, at the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino - Piazzale Vittorio Gui 1, Florence.  

Registration is required here to either:

Please find the full programme here

Iratxe García Pérez, S&D leader, said:

“Already before the Covid-19 pandemic, the Union was facing big challenges, such as the climate emergency, the growth of inequality, and digital transformation.

“The pandemic has revealed flaws in the architecture of the Union. We have realised that the gap between citizens’ expectations and what we can deliver is still too wide. Complex decision-making hinders us from acting on many important issues, such as violations of the rule of law, tax evasion, or even on public health.

“Once more, the pandemic also made it clear that the market will not solve everything. It does not reward critical sectors for the well-being of our society. Many things can be achieved by maximising existing tools in the current Treaty, but for the future, we need more.

Brando Benifei MEP, S&D member and head of the Italian delegation, stressed:

“We are deeply convinced that the CoFE must deliver concrete results for European citizens, and for this to happen, we need clear and ambitious conclusions, I’d say also binding ones. Our political family has decided to believe in this process and to invest political resources to get the best out of our dialogue with citizens, social partners and civil society. We must do our part to push the debate in all corners of the Union, presenting our priorities and enriching them with the inputs resulting from these discussions. We approach our Florence Conference with determination: a better, stronger, fairer and more social European Union is not only possible, but necessary. Let’s go for it!”

Simona Bonafé MEP, S&D vice-president and Secretary of the Democratic Party Tuscany, added:

“I’m proud that Florence in Tuscany will host this important event which confirms our pro-European sentiment and the awareness for a profound change in the functioning of the EU. We need more democracy in Europe to face huge challenges such as climate change and the migration crisis. We need a better Europe overcoming unanimity in the Council, extending co-decision and guaranteeing the Parliament full right of initiative. We need a stronger Europe to ensure a just transition and a real social and economic recovery post-Covid-19. Together we can make it. This time is different.”