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

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:

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Programme - School of Democracy March 2019

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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