Social democrats call for societal reset


Reset! conference

Only an economic and social reset will get Europe and the Netherlands out of this crisis, the social democratic family declared today at a Dutch Labour Party (PvdA) event.

Just months ahead of the general election in the Netherlands, PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher brought together experts, leading academics, progressive politicians and members of the public at a conference called Reset!, held simultaneously online and in Amsterdam.

On the agenda: resetting society to ensure fairness and sustainability.

Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, economist and author Ann Pettifor, PES President Sergei Stanishev, MEPs Paul Tang, Brando Benifei and Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, Secretary-General of the Young European Socialists Ana Pirtskhalava, and many other trade unionists, academics and progressives contributed to the wide-ranging debate.

The event involved over 100 people at the Amersterdome venue and almost 250 online participants from across Europe, and was followed live by thousands of others through a livestream published on social media.

Reset! mapped out progressive answers to the big challenges facing Europe and the Netherlands: achieving a fair digital society, support for the economically left behind, bridging regional divides, industrial policy, the future for young people, strategies for cities, tax justice and the green transition.

Sergei Stanishev

PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher addresses the Reset! conference live at the Amsterdome in Amsterdam

PES President Sergei Stanishev said:

“A reset is precisely what Europe and the Netherlands needs. We must relaunch our economies and have sustainable growth that supports our climate, digital, regional and social justice goals.

“The shortcomings of business as usual were exposed by COVID-19. The importance of quality public services, social protection and government support are even clearer today. These are also trademark policies of our political family – and they should inspire the path forward.

“Today the progressive family joined together to get behind this agenda. We are ready to push for this in the Netherlands and across Europe.”

The PES President also spoke about the importance of the European Green Deal, the progressive approach towards the just transition and the decisive role of Dutch European Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans.

Sergei Stanishev said:

“A Dutch progressive, Frans Timmermans, is leading the efforts to give our continent a sustainable future. Thanks to Frans, we have a strong European Green Deal which will fight climate change, protect nature, make our economy sustainable and leave nobody behind. Frans and the PvdA are driving forward a fairer and more sustainable Europe.”

The event was organised by the PvdA, in partnership with the Party of European Socialists (PES), Socialist and Democrat Group in the European Parliament (S&D), and the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS).

The joint online and in-person event was conceived to allow maximum participation whilst also ensuring the health and safety of all involved. Special COVID-19 safety measures were in place at the Amsterdome venue to ensure full compliance with government guidance.

A full programme, which details all speakers, is available here.