Social Democrats: Solidarity is the alternative to fear
The current crisis in Europe brings fear in the everyday life of the Europeans, and the way to overcome this fear is with more solidarity and more Europe. That was the main message from the international conference “Shaping Change in Turbulent times”, held by the Party of European Socialists (PES) and its German member party the SPD in Berlin on Wednesday.
PES President Sergei Stanishev said in his official speech at the conference: “Many Europeans feel frightened today. They feel a threat to their normal way of life, even to their everyday routine. Driven by fear, many are seeking comfort in nationalist parties. Social democracy provides an alternative to this fear. Social Democracy can and has to bring new hope for these Europeans”, said Stanishev. 300 international guests from more than 30 countries attended the event in the symbolic Willy-Brandt-Haus, home of the SPD, on the eve of their Party Congress.
“The current refugee problem is a global phenomenon and cannot be solved nationally. We do not need less but rather more European solutions," EU Parliament President Martin Schulz said at his opening speech at the conference.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier added that there will not be a quick and easy solution for Europe and that EU states should tackle the problem together. Social Democrats are putting in every effort for a peaceful resolution of the current crisis. Together we must try and convince those who are not doing so. In an effort to find political solutions for peace", Steinmayer said. He expressed his concerns that the crisis will affect the continent for years to come and that peace has never been so fragile.
Frank-Walter Steinmeier introduced a panel at the conference, entitled “For peace and cooperation in Europe” on which PES President Stanishev, former Italian prime minister Massimo D’Alema, former prime minister of France Jean-Marc Ayrault and the spokesman of the SPD parliamentary group foreign affairs committee Neils Annen expanded further on the crisis in the EU. The panelists agreed “Turning to nationalists is not a solution to the crisis – it is a part of it.”.
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, former president of Brazil from the Brazilian Labor Party was also a speaker at the conference. To many he is symbol of social democracy in South America. He gave a deeply emotional speech, which was warmly welcomed by the audience. Prior to the event Lula and the Brazilian delegation had an official meeting with PES President Stanishev, PES Secretary General Achim Post, and Deputy Secretary Generals Giacomo Filibeck and Marije Laffeber .