“ECE2030” is the label under which the members of the project “A Future Agenda for Eastern and Central Europe”, initiated by the Progressives Zentrum and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung , blog at European Circle. The Future Labs – small expert groups dealing with the three topics “State of Democracy”, “Social & Fiscal Policy” and “Energy Policy” – allow for intensive exchange of ideas and a creative working atmosphere in the course of 2014.

ECE2030 Future Lab State of Democracy: “Democratic deficit in times of austerity policy? Finding new ways to strengthen political participation and civil society”
artikelbild-demokratie In times of the Euro crisis and harsh austerity measures presented as TINA-policies (“There is no alternative”), disillusionment with the European Union as well as with the political elites at the national level is aggravating. While a greater afflux for anti-democratic or anti-European movements is observable as one reaction and poses a serious challenge for the democratic culture, it is also the apolitical attitude of people that needs attention. How could new ways look like to strengthen civil society and the participation of citizens in political processes in the 21st century? And is this the way to go to finally re-establish trust in the ideas of democracy and the promise of Europe?
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ECE2030 Future Lab Social and Fiscal Policy: “Two sides of the same coin: Why fiscal and social policy belong together”
Foto: Images Money, CC BY 20 Often treated as being mutually exclusive, especially in times of budgetary consolidation, society does need both – a sound social as well as a sound fiscal policy. How do we get there – not leaving social inequality off the agenda and achieving more with less to account for both, responsible public finances and a functioning, modern welfare state? Where do the answers lie to invigorate positive interdependencies between a strong market and a strong state (with strong institutions of good governance)? And how can we go one big step further and create a social model for Europe?
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ECE2030 Future Lab Energy Policy: “Sustainable Energy Policy for ECE: A Vision for 2030”
Foto: Steffen Ramsaier CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Our way of thinking about energy is changing. Geopolitical instability, as well as other factors like rising prices for fossil fuels and the risk of runaway climate change all suggest that we need to design new energy politics and policies in Europe. After all, the envisaged new form of industrialization in the European Union can only happen if energy is affordable, sustainable and if energy supplies are secure. The diversification of energy sources, the promotion of renewable energy, and investments in energy efficiency and energy infrastructure all contribute to a sustainable way of achieving energy security in Eastern and Central Europe. Implementing such changes, however, requires both financial resources and political buy-in, which are both not readily available. How can both be secured for progressive energy policies in the region? Many Eastern and Central European EU member states are concerned about losing out. They frequently see ambitious energy policies, in particular in the context of the EU’s 2030 energy and climate goals, as pure luxury, which they cannot afford. How can the current moment be used to shape an ambitious EU 2030 Energy and Climate package?
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About ECE2030
“ECE2030” is the label under which the members of the project “A Future Agenda for Eastern and Central Europe” blog at European Circle. While the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and Das Progressive Zentrum are the initiators of the project, the overall process is governed by a Steering Committee comprised of 10 to 15 progressive actors of the ECE-states. A conference at the end of 2013 in Vilnius (Lithuania) opened by the EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, László Andor, served as first project’s milestones and provided the general framework. The Future Labs – small expert groups dealing with the three topics “State of Democracy”, “Social & Fiscal Policy” and “Energy Policy” – allow for intensive exchange of ideas and a creative working atmosphere in the course of 2014. Follow us on Twitter: #ECE2030
Why we need a “Future Agenda for Eastern and Central Europe”
The European economic and financial crisis caused substantial political, economic and social distortions within a large number of EU Member States. Also Eastern and Central European countries (ECE-countries) had – and still have – to cope with deteriorating socio-economic perspectives and at some places even threats to their democratic constitution. In this context, progressive discourses considering the renewal of the European Economic and Social Model are necessary to gain orientation for the future of Europe. Further, such discourses can help to trigger structural reforms fostering the transformation of the ECE-states from being ‘Europe’s workbenches’ to competitive knowledge-based societies.
However, public debate in the region still seems to be dominated by short-term crisis management and quantitative growth indicators – to the disadvantage of future-orientated approaches of economic, ecological and social sustainability. In order to deal with the challenges of a globalized world and to identify new approaches for shared prosperity in the region, initiating a regional dialogue process appears to be very promising. Such a dialogue offers the potential for launching sustainable processes of change and innovation as well as interlinking the regional progressive forces and enhancing their assertiveness.
What are the objectives of the project “A Future Agenda for Eastern and Central Europe”?
  • outlining the predominant national debates in the ECE-countries – particularly with 
regard to social, fiscal, industrial, energy, and location policy – as well as identifying 
thematic priorities and regional intersections;
  • providing a discourse platform for progressive forces in the region and discussing the 
relationship between economic and social policy deficits and crises of democracy;
  • enriching the economic and social policy debates within and especially between ECE-
countries with progressive perspectives as well as input such as Green Growth;
  • asking for alternatives to the current politics of austerity and addressing economic and social potential for innovation such as Green Growth and finally
  • defining together with regional actors a “Future Agenda for Eastern and Central Europe”, which includes key areas and recommendations for policy makers.

Fotocredits: Rechner: Dennis Skley, CC BY-ND 2.0; Geld auf Wäscheleine: Images Money, CC BY 2.0; Strommast: Steffen Ramsaier, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0