• School of Democracy, 20 to 22 March 2019 - Our 5th edition!

    Over the last four years, hundreds of young people from across Europe and beyond have taken part in the S&D Group’s School of Democracy. The idea was to bring together politicians, academics and civil society, to debate with the next generation of progressive leaders and develop new ideas for the future of Europe and the world.

    This year we are bringing together graduates from the previous four editions of the School of Democracy to meet and debate in Brussels from 20 to 22 March 2019. The conference is part of a larger European week for democracy, with events and debates taking place across Brussels and beyond. It is time for people who believe in Europe to stand up and push back against the nationalists and populists that have dominated the debate in recent years.

    School of Democracy, 20 to 22 March 2019 - Our 5th edition!

    You will have the chance to meet and discuss with political and intellectual leaders such as Frans Timmermans, the Hungarian philosopher Agnes Heller, French politician Pascal Lamy, Jan Zielonka from Oxford University, Former Danish PM Poul Nyrup  Rasmussen, Paul Magnette and many others. As with previous editions the focus is on interactive workshops designed to bring forward new approaches to the problems Europe faces.

    The event comes at a vital time for Europe, two months ahead of crucial European elections and ahead of a member state leaving for the first time (probably). For too long the narrative has been dominated by those who want to destroy Europe. The EU is certainly not perfect but it remains the best way we have found to work collectively as 28 different countries. We now need to come forward with the ideas and vision to improve Europe and make sure it is working for all its citizens.

    For more information, please contact: s-d.democracy-school@europarl.europa.eu


    BRUSSELS, 20-22 MARCH 2019

    Venue: European Parliament, Brussels

    Wednesday 20 March 2019

    14:30 - 16:00 Arrival / check in at Hotel(s)

    16:00 - 18:00 Arrival & registration of participants and options to visit the House of European History or the Parlamentarium

    Meeting point: Atrium Welcome Point, European Parliament

    18:00 - 19:00 Launch of the Fifth edition of the School of Democracy

    Welcome speech by

    • Kathleen Van Brempt, Vice President of the S&D Group in the European

    Address by

    • Paul Magnette, Mayor of Charleroi
    • Followed by Q&A session with the speakers

    Venue: Members Restaurant

    19:00 - 20:00 Welcome Drink (Members restaurant, European Parliament)

    (Evening free)

    Thursday 21 March 2019

    09:00 - 11:00 Workshops

    Workshop 1 - "Democracy at work"


    Lorenzo Repetti, ETUC Advisor

    Rebekah Smith, Deputy Director, Business Europe

    Moderator: Jean-Louis Verheyden

    Venue: Room A3G3, European Parliament

    Workshop 2 - "The rise of illiberal democracy"


    Carlo Invernizzi Accetti, City College of New York

    Ania Skrzypek, Senior Research Fellow, FEPS

    Laeticia Thissen, FEPS Advisor on Gender Equality

    Moderator: Barnabas Mester

    Venue: FEPS, Rue Montoyer 40, 1000 Brussels

    Workshop 3 - "Learning democracy locally"


    Arnold De Boer, non-Belgian candidate at the 2018 local elections in Brussels

    Emanuele Feduzi, Mayor of Fermignano

    Amy Longland, Chief Operating Officer, My Life, My Say

    Moderator: Kata Tűttö, member of the European Committee of the Regions

    Venue: European Committee of the Regions, Rue Belliard 101, 1040 Brussels

    Workshop 4 - "Progressive alliances in society"


    Alberto Isetta, ARCI Liguria

    Maja Pleić, Senior Researcher, Center for Peace Studies in Croatia

    Moderator: Seb Dance, MEP

    Venue: SOLIDAR, Rue de Pascale 4-6, 1040 Brussels

    Workshop 5 - "E-democracy & E-activism”


    Tim Allan, S&D Group

    Luis Arroyo Martinez, Asesores de Comunicación Pública

    Moderator: Brando Benifei, MEP

    Venue: Room A3G2, European Parliament

    11:00 - 11:30 Transfer to room JAN4Q2 for plenary session

    11:30 - 13:00 Plenary session on the future of democracy (liberal vs illiberal)

    Interpretation: EN/FR/DE/ES/IT

    General discussion and synthesis of the workshops moderated by Josef Weidenholzer, MEP

    Agnes Heller, Philosopher

    Jan Zielonka, University of Oxford

    Venue: Room JAN4Q2, European Parliament

    13:15 - 14:15 Lunch in Members’ salons

    14:30 - 16:30 Workshops

    Workshop 6 - "Can we beat inequalities?"


    Louka T. Katseli, University of Athens, Co- Chair of the Independent Commission on
    Sustainable Equality 

    Kate Pickett, University of York

    Moderator: Pervenche Berès, MEP

    Venue: Room A3G3, European Parliament

    Workshop 7 - "An alternative approach to our future: from GDP to equitable and sustainable wellbeing"


    Tanya Cox, Director, CONCORD

    Enrico Giovannini, University of Rome

    Moderator: Anna Colombo

    Venue: Room A3H1, European Parliament

    Workshop 8 - "Who (finally) pays for the transformation?"


    François Gobbe, Réseau pour la Justice Fiscale

    David Rinaldi, FEPS

    Moderator: Jean-Louis Verheyden

    Venue: Room A5G315, European Parliament

    Workshop 9 - "A just transition for all"


    Georgios Altintzis, Economic & Social Policy Department, ITUC

    James Fontanella Khan, Financial Times New York

    Moderator: Giovanna Pareschi

    Venue: Room A5G305, European Parliament

    Workshop 10 - "Could free trade kill the planet?"


    Ilene Grabel, University of Denver

    Thierry Lucas, United Nations Environment Programme

    Moderator: Maria Arena, MEP

    Venue: Room A3G2, European Parliament

    16:30-17:00 Transfer to room JAN4Q2 for plenary session

    17:00 - 18:30 Plenary session on sustainable development

    Interpretation: EN/FR/DE/ES/IT

    Reports from workshops

    General discussion and synthesis of the workshops moderated by Kathleen Van Brempt, MEP

    Pascal Lamy, Institut Jacques Delors

    Claire Nouvian, Bloom Association

    Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, Former President of the Party of European Socialists, former Prime Minister of Denmark

    Venue: JAN4Q2, European Parliament

    19:00 Departure by bus to Brussels Town Hall

    20:00 - 22:00 Reception/walking dinner co-hosted with the PES Group in the European Committee of the Regions & Philippe Close, Mayor of Brussels at Brussels Town Hall

    Friday 22 March 2019

    Interpretation: EN/FR/DE/ES/IT

    09:00 - 11:30 ”Defending Democracy” - Interactive panel debate with representatives from our S&D strategic partners:

    Marije Laffeber, Deputy Secretary General, PES

    Esther Lynch - Confederal Secretary, ETUC

    Catiuscia Marini - President of the PES Group in the Committee of the Regions and President of the Umbria Region

    Tuulia Pitkänen - Secretary General, YES

    Conny Reuter - Secretary General, Solidar

    Maria João Rodrigues - President, FEPS

    Jose Santoro - Secretary General, Rainbow Rose

    Simone Susskind - Senator, Belgium

    Moderated by James Fontanella-Khan & Carlo Invernizzi Accetti

    Venue: Room JAN4Q2, European Parliament

    11:30 - 12:30 Closing session moderated by Javier Moreno Sánchez, Secretary General of the S&D Group in the European Parliament with Philippe Close, Mayor of Brussels and Udo Bullmann, President of the S&D Group in the European Parliament

    Venue: Room JAN4Q2, European Parliament

    12:30 - 13:30 Lunch in Members’ salons


    Are you eligible?

    To be eligible to apply you have to be between 18 and 25 and be passionate about progressive politics.

    Travel, hotel and meal expenses will be paid by S&D Group. 

    There will be interpretation in the main languages of the EU, but a good knowledge of English would be an advantage.

    School of Democracy: when young people build the European project

    When only 28% of young people participated in the last European elections, it is evident that Europe needs to inspire and reconnect with the generation that is its future and its present: YOUNG EUROPEANS.

    The School of Democracy is an initiative by the S&D Group that aims at bridging this gap and involving young Europeans in a discussion of what the EU is, and how they can meaningfully contribute to the democratic process.

    Over three days in Italy packed with activities, workshops and debates with MEPs, academics, policy-makers and renowned journalists we invite YOU to tell us what your vision is for Europe and help us draft new solutions! In the latest editions of School of Democracy, European youths debated about democracy, rule of law, circular economy, combatting populism and drafted a declaration for a more progressive and sustainable Europe which was adopted by our group.

    We call on Europeans aged between 18-25 who have not given up on our future and want to reform Europe to apply for the next edition of School of Democracy. Tell us what YOUR vision for Europe is and join us in Reggio-Emilia, 6 - 8 June 2018.


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