At the beginning of the century, centre-left was the dominant force in the Central and Eastern European region. It was at the helm of the accession negotiations of many of the states that would join the EU in 2004 and after. Less than two decades later, the picture couldn’t be more different. Elections are bringing new lows, resulting in some countries in a shift of the political demarcation line from left/right to right/more-right. When looking at the region, progressives from the North, West and South of Europe – where Social Democrats have been or are entering into government – wonder about the reasons for such developments and the chances for the situation to change.
This dossier focuses on some of these developments – the erosion of the social contracts, the impact of globalisation and the neo-liberal approach on public policies – with the aim of searching for the fundaments on which to restore sense of community, social justice and welfare. It also examines the political circumstances and – though the honest record of electoral defeats may look gloomy at first – it points out to new opportunities for progressives.