ProLi-Kino, Unterer Sand 13, 94032 Passau

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Europe yes, but how? #2

Social Justice in Europe - Reality and Visions

A report by Bastian Kenn

On Thursday, 12.04. the second dialogue of the series Europe yes, but how? took place in the ProLi cinema in Passau. After the discussion in Aachen on the introduction of a European law governing associations, the European Democracy Lab in cooperation with the Jusos Passau and Gemeinsam leben und lernen in Europa e.V. put up models for a Europe-wide social system for discussion.

After a short film on the vision of a European Republic, explained by Ulrike Guérot, political scientist and founder of the European Democracy Lab, Thomas Eibl, political scientist at the University of Passau, explained different approaches for making welfare state mechanisms a reality at EU level. Particularly noteworthy is a European unemployment insurance system that would also have a stabilizing effect on the European economy as a whole. At the same time, Eibl warned against quick action: Social security is not only a question of feasibility, but also of (national) culture(s) and in Europe different approaches clearly prevail. Most Central and Western European countries such as Germany or the Netherlands, for example, count with insurance systems in which social benefits are assessed on the basis of the contributions previously made. In the Nordic countries, on the other hand, a generous welfare state model exists generously financed by taxes. In very liberal societies such as Great Britain, on the other hand, only a minimum social security is guaranteed and private provision is prioritised.

According to Eibl, the introduction of certain welfare state mechanisms is necessary for the further development and stabilisation of the EU: "The European Economic and Monetary Union is characterised by an incomplete level of economic integration. The resulting institutional deficits promote economic inequalities within and between member states. A more social and just Europe could be achieved by further integration efforts, especially in the fiscal and social policy fields."

The subsequent discussion focused on the upcoming European elections and the offers of the various parties with regard to a social Europe. The former member of the Landtag of the SPD, Bernhard Roos, promoted his party and criticised the conservative restraint in Brussels. The most important thing however is to go to the polls in May, said Roos. On this point, all the panelists agreed and expressed their hope for a high voter turnout on 26 May.

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