The transformative power of economic democracy

Towards democratic practices in public spending, the workplace, and public services

09:00 - 16:00
Brussels, Belgium
Rue Van Maerlant 2, 1040 Brussels
The transformative power of economic democracy

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The current economic system has resulted in a significant concentration of power in the hands of a few and created record inequality. There is a need for a new paradigm — one that provides both a fair outcome and secures a democratic process. Economic democracy offers a solution by giving people agency over their economic activities, both at the individual and collective levels. If implemented successfully, it can not only bring positive economic results but also strengthen the societal fabric and individual well-being. 

In collaboration with the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the Open Society Foundations (OSF), FEPS organised a conference to discuss approaches and practices that help build and scale up economic democracy. Hosted at the EESC, this event brought together researchers, practitioners, policymakers and activists in the field. 

The conference started with a keynote presentation by Dr. Andrew Cumbers, Dr. Karen Bilsland and Dr. Robert McMaster, the research team from the University of Glasgow, on the results of the policy studyBuilding Economic Democracy in Europe‘ within the ongoing FEPS – Open Society Foundations (OSF) project. This was followed by several panel discussions among practitioners and policymakers on diverse aspects of economic democracy including:

  • Democracy in public spending: Spending for people’s well-being
  • Democracy at the workplace: Sharing power through employee participation and ownership
  • Democratising public services: How to make public ownership democratic

Among our speakers were:

  • Oliver Röpke, President of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)
  • László Andor, Secretary General, Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS)
  • Idoia Mendia, S&D MEP 
  • Graça Fonseca, former Minister of Culture and former State Secretary for Administrative Modernization of Portugal, Co-founder and CEO of Because Impact
  • Ruth Paserman, Director for Funds: Programming and Implementation at DG EMPL, European Commission
  • Giuseppe Guerini, Member of the EESC, President of CECOP-CICOPA Europe, the European confederation of industrial and social cooperatives
  • Matthew Brown, Senior Fellow at the Democracy Collaborative, Preston (UK) City Council Leader, former advisor to the Labour Party’s Community Wealth Building Unit 
  • Anne Le Strat, Consultant and Lecturer, former Deputy Mayor of Paris in charge of the water policy
  • Stefan Gran, Senior Advisor, European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC)
  • Kosta Marco Juri, Head of Research and Policy at the Institute for Economic Democracy

For more information, please do not hesitate to contact Anna Kolesnichenko, FEPS Policy Analyst on Economy (, and Vanessa Zwisele, FEPS Project Officer (

European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)
Open Society Foundations
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