Between hope and fear.

VS – 02/2024

The European elections are just around the corner. The tangible consequences of climate change, solutions to the migration issue, the long-term continuity and further development of the European social model and new foreign policy threats and conflicts pose major challenges for everyone in Europe. At the same time, the European Union (EU) and the Member States are confronted with a strong rise of populist and extreme movements within the EU. According to current polls, right-wing populist forces in particular will emerge stronger from the European elections in June. In Germany, too, many politicians from various political camps are therefore expressing concern. Why are anti-European and right-wing populist parties gaining strength across Europe? How do the established parties intend to counter this in order to win back the favour of the electorate? Will the shifting balance of power in the EU influence the European social policy of tomorrow? And at this point, does it mean: Hope or Fear?

We want to discuss these questions with members of the German Bundestag on 21 March in Berlin at a joint event organised by the GVG (Gesellschaft für Versicherungswissenschaft und -gestaltung) and the DSV (German Social Insurance).

Setting the course for the future

The past legislative term was characterised by the joint management of the COVID-19 pandemic and dealing with the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine and the resulting sharp rise in inflation. At the same time, the EU has set an important course for the future of Europe: The European social model with the European Pillar of Social Rights has continued to take shape. The European Green Deal and the Digital Decade have laid the foundations for a sustainable Europe. Will the EU be able to continue along this path and bring these three important policy areas together?

Trust in Europe

The experiences of recent years have shaken many supposed certainties. It seems that many citizens have lost confidence in Europe's future viability. One reaction to the increasingly complex challenges and the associated difficulties in decision-making at European level is the belief in supposedly simple solutions at national level.

According to current polls, populist, extreme and anti-European forces will see a significant increase in voters in the European Parliament, while the established parties will lose seats. The current polls for the upcoming national elections - for example in Belgium, Austria and Romania - also show a strengthening of anti-European forces. This hampers joint political solutions in the European Council and the Parliament.

How can the EU and its institutions (re)gain the trust of its citizens in a common European future?

Between hope and fear: the European elections, the shift to the right and the social policy of tomorrow

On 21 March, GVG and DSV are hosting a high-level event in Berlin with a view to the challenges ahead: "Between Hope and Fear: the European elections, the shift to the right and the social policy of tomorrow".

On the panel, Ralph Brinkhaus, member of the Bundestag and former chairman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group; Angelika Glöckner, deputy spokesperson of the SPD's Labour and Social Affairs working group; Dr Anton Hofreiter (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen), chairman of the Bundestag Committee on European Union Affairs; and Dr Ann-Veruschka Jurisch, chairwoman of the FDP parliamentary group in the Bundestag Committee on European Union Affairs, will discuss their ideas for a Europe fit for the future. Click here to register for the event.