FEPS Newsletter 19 April 2024 – Enlargement, Social Europe and more

Important days for Social Europe!

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Check out FEPS work on Enlargement

On 1 May, the EU will celebrate the 20th anniversary of its largest enlargement, when ten countries joined the Union. 20 years later, ten more countries aspire to become EU member states. However, their path to accession is much more troubled. Despite the boost given to the process by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, their prospects of becoming members in the short to medium term are still precarious. 

Yet, not only will their inclusion benefit the candidate countries, but it is also in the interests of the EU, as it represents a geopolitical necessity to ensure the continent’s stability and define the EU’s role in the world. It is time to go beyond empty commitments and offer the candidate states a concrete plan.

Progressive visions for the future of EU enlargement


Progressive visions for the future of EU enlargement 

16-18 April – FEPS HQ 

With ten potential new members, the question of fundamental EU reform to integrate more countries is becoming increasingly urgent.


Together with progressive partners from all of the ten candidate countries, the meeting triggered the discussion on the future of EU enlargement policy between experts, MEPs, national decision-makers and politicians.


Labour migration in the Western Balkans

Balkan Focus policy brief series

By Sabina de Silva – In collaboration with Centro Studi di Politica Internazionale and Karl-Renner-Institut

Policy Brief
Read 'Labour migration in the Western Balkans'

The structural problem of labour migration has severe repercussions in the  Western Balkans, not only on societal issues but also on democratic stability.


Dive into the causes and consequences of the phenomena and discover key recommendations for the governments in the region and European institutions on how to tackle this issue together.

Read 'Bosnia-Herzegovina. How to build a viable road to EU membership'


Bosnia-Herzegovina: How to build a viable road to EU membership

Balkan Focus policy brief series

By Dario D’Urso and Lada Vetrini – In collaboration with Centro Studi di Politica Internazionale and Karl-Renner-Institut

Policy Brief

Since it began with the Stabilisation and Association Agreement in 2005, BiH’s EU path has been marred by its incapability to gather the necessary political consensus to adopt the reforms needed. However, the new geopolitical circumstances in Europe have altered this dynamic.


This policy brief of the Balkan Focus series analyses the journey of BiH’s EU membership and the necessary reforms to make it happen.


📰 This policy brief was featured in the Financial Times.


The European Political Community

Informality as a key to success

By Dario D’Urso, Lada Vetrini and Sabina de Silva – In collaboration with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Centro Studi di Politica Internazionale and Fondation Jean-Jaurès 

Policy Brief
Read 'The European Political Community'

The European Political Community (EPC) has been established to create ‘strategic intimacy’ among European countries, at a time when Russian aggression against Ukraine demanded a show of unity and geopolitical resolve.


Its lack of standing structures, institutions, budget and even final declarations should be taken as added value, not as a liability. Indeed, the EPC should not be considered as a loose replica of the EU or a waiting room for EU aspiring members.


European leaders should resist the calls to institutionalise the EPC and instead spend their political capital to keep the EPC a valid geopolitical institution with its distinctive features.

Call to Social Europe


Call to Europe

The future is social

30 April – Brussels – In collaboration with Eyes on Europe and the Brussels chapters of the socialist and social democratic parties

Join FEPS’ annual flagship conference, Call to Europe: The Future is Social, on 30 April! High-level representatives from policy-making, academia and civil society, will discuss the path that should be taken to guarantee a Social Europe in the next EU legislature. Among the confirmed speakers:

  • Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights
  • Kate Pickett, Professor at the University of York
  • Pedro Marques, MEP and S&D Group Vice-President
  • Claes-Mikael Stahl, ETUC Deputy Secretary General

  • Maria João Rodrigues, FEPS President and Chair of PES Financial and Economic Network

  • Heather Roy, President of Social Platform and Secretary General of Eurodiaconia

  • Vivien A. Schmidt, Jean Monnet Professor of European Integration, Boston University

  • Bruno Tobback, Member of the Flemish Parliament
  • Enrico Letta, Former Prime Minister of Italy


Have you ever dreamed of a future where EU policy-making prioritises well-being and quality of life? Join our Call to Europe to reignite the transformative power of social-democratic values in shaping tomorrow’s Europe for inclusivity, sustainability and collective prosperity.


The transformation of the mainstream right and its impact on (social) democracy

18 April – FEPS HQ Written by Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser, Diana Lucia Hofmann, Martin Dolezal and many more –  In collaboration with Karl-Renner-Institut and Fondation Jean-Jaurès 

The transformation of the mainstream right in Western Europe

The challenge to democracy is not just the far-right but some centre-right parties allying with them, letting them inside governments and normalising their exclusionary discourse. 


During this event, we unveiled the findings and policy recommendations of our new  policy study ‘The transformation of the European mainstream right and its impact on (social) democracy‘, together with co-authors, policymakers and academics. 


Drawing on extensive data and research across six case study countries (Austria, France, Germany, Poland, Spain and Sweden), the study scrutinises the (alleged) radicalisation of European centre-right parties. It also investigates the risks posed to liberal democracy by this transformation and explores methods to safeguard democracy. 


We’ll also launch the policy study in Vienna on 22 April! 

Bulgarian Social Democracy on the path to renewal


Bulgarian Social Democracy on the path to renewal

24 April – Sofia, Bulgaria – In collaboration with Institute for Social Integration

Join us in Sofia for a pivotal research discussion event to uncover the preliminary findings of the upcoming policy study ‘Bulgarian social democracy on the path to renewal’.


Delve into the nuances of social democracy’s resurgence in Eastern Europe, with Bulgaria as the case study. Explore the journey of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and engage in insightful deliberations on the centre-left’s renewal across the region. Then, together with authors and peer reviewers, dissect the future of social democracy.



La Hulpe Declaration, an important step towards Social Europe

15-16 April – La Hulpe, Belgium – Organised by the Belgium Presidency of the council of the European Union

Read the news
FEPS was at La Hulpe High-Level conference

We welcome the signing of the La Hulpe Declaration, an important commitment to continue implementing the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights. Congratulations to the Belgium Presidency of the Council of the EU, Commissioner Nicolas Schmit and all those who made it possible!


“We strongly believe the Social Pillar should remain the compass that ensures no one is left behind when we navigate all the current challenges” explained Frank Vandenbroucke, Belgian Minister of Social Affairs. “The BE Presidency comes at a strategic moment, a moment to look back and think ahead of the next EU agenda”. 


Following La Hulpe High-Level conference, in which FEPS Secretary General László Andor moderated two ministerial political debates, the next occasion to discuss Social Europe agenda with Commissioner Nicolas Schmit will be at FEPS HQ for the Call to Europe conference. Register now!


📰 Read the Progressive Post’s articles ‘A Belgian presidency focused on social anchoring and strategic investments’ and ‘Emboldening the EU’s social dimension‘ on the opportunity the Belgian presidency represents to put Social Europe at the top of the agenda.


📕 Why is the implementation of the Social Pillar so pivotal? Find out in our policy study ‘The Social Pillar and the future of the EU Social Agenda.

Visions for Europe


FEPS President at the conference Visions for Europe

15 April – Brussels – Organised by Bruegel

More info

“It is a total illusion that we Europeans can manage the Green and Digital Transitions by acting only locally or nationally. We believe NextGenerationEU should be made permanent”. 


FEPS President Maria João Rodrigues took part in Bruegel’s Visions for Europe debate, a economic expert debate featuring representatives from EU political parties on EU economic issues.

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