S&Ds - Weekly Update. This week's highlights and what's coming up

Weekly Update - 14 to 18 March 2016

Quote of the week by S&D Group president: Gianni Pittella on the situation in Catalonia

"To Rajoy and the Catalan authoritiies, I say invest every effort in dialogue. You can be Catalan, Spanish and European at the same time. The last thing we need is new borders. Europe was born to reconcile people and bring peace."

Last Week's Highlights

Our long week in Strasbourg began early with the high-profile referendum in Catalonia, a slate of new cancellations by Ryanair and more uncertainty over the UK government's position on Brexit. In the plenary we were updated on the Brexit divorce negotiations by the EU's chief negotiator Mr Michel Barnier, before moving on to secure a vital deal on trade defence against Chinese dumping, a successful outcome on endocrine disruptors, and approve a new Public Prosecutor for the EU. In the debate on Wednesday the S&Ds joined many expressing sadness at the situation in Spain, and urged all parties to begin a dialogue as soon as possible.





On Thursday 12 October our group will be holding a seminar on Education of Refugee Children in the Middle East at the European Parliament, Brussels. It will be a valuable opportunity to hear and evaluate experiences on the matter. Our president Gianni Pittella will join speakers with vast expertise, such as Yayoi Segi-Vltchek, programme specialist at UNESCO; Caroline Pontefract and Oroba Labadi at UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East); as well as Petra Kammerevert MEP, chair of the European Parliament's Culture and Education committee, EU Commissioner Christos Stylianides and more. This seminar is a great opportunity for all to ask what it means for Europe to be a good neighbour and partner, and look at the linkages between development, education and migration policy in the Middle East. 

A week later on 18 October we kick off our biggest Europe Together event so far, at 17:00 in the Golden Hall at The Square in Brussels. This will be the first of a two-day event where our whole progressive family will come together to listen, learn, and look together on the future of Europe. 

It has been nearly one year since our journey with Europe Together began in Brussels. In an ambitious project to unite and move forward toward a better future after the shock of the UK's Brexit vote, we have travelled around Europe, listening to concerns and bringing together a vision of a Europe worth fighting for. Last month's theme in Valencia was Social Cohesion, and next Thursday we will begin with a conference on the theme of Building the Progressive Future Together. 

Prominent speakers, including our Group president Gianni Pittella; our S&D Group vice-presidents; Jeremy Corbyn UK Labour leader; Pedro Sanchez, Secretary General of the PSOE (Spain); and Paul Magnette; the Mayor of Charleroi (Belgium) will join the discussion; along with Paul Mason, Award Winning British Journalist, Broadcaster and Author; Dr. Naika Foroutan, Professor of Social Sciences at Humboldt-University Berlin and Sir Paul Collier, Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Oxford University. Everyone is welcome to register and join us in the room, but also follow us online and on Facebook.

You can get involved straight away at www.europe-together.eu on our ongoing discussion forum for a chance to be selected to join us as one of seven Together Ambassadors in Brussels on the second day (19 October), where you will be engaged in workshops with senior European politicians, activists and leaders from civil society.

You can also watch the full video of our last #EuropeTogether event in Valencia.

Earlier that day (18 October) we have our conference on confronting the populist right modern European politics. S&D vice-president Tanja Fajon will lead an important discussion on the rise of reactionary and divisive politics, and how Socialists and Democrats should react to stop the spread of impossible solutions, scapegoating and extremism in political debate today. 

Following on the same afternoon, S&D Group vice-president Udo Bullmann will be leading a workshop with representatives from civil society on the Coordination of Social Security Systems in Europe, taking contributions on how to promote jobs and push for an economic recovery, after years of dragging austerity throughout Europe.