And if a major, symbolical election was needed? An election that brings the Socialist and Social Democrat parties back to historical left-wing values: social justice, solidarity, internationalism and sustainable development. Those centre-left parties, which, from one Member State to another, have been greatly dispersed during these last years in the meandering of power and coalitions, to the extent of sometimes losing their identity and sometimes even their followers.
And if a major, symbolical election was needed? An election that brings the Socialist and Social Democrat parties back to historical left-wing values: social justice, solidarity, internationalism and a sustainable development. Those centre-left parties, which, from one Member State to another, have been greatly dispersed during these last years in the meandering of power and coalitions, to the extent of sometimes los- ing their identity and sometimes even their followers.
At the risk of going against the flow, this European election could, for three reasons, become the moment when Social Democracy and its electorate meet, but also its rivals who would be all too happy to bury a contender in a weak position.
First and foremost, there must be a starting point and a point of convergence in this large, and sometimes complex, progressive family: Europe. There isn’t a single national Social Democrat leader who would dare to question that the challenges of climate change, terrorism, taxation, security, migration, could be solved at a national level. This is what should give the European election the most exceptional nature every five years. However, 40 years after its first vote in 1979, it remains an unjustly downgraded election, downgraded by this decryed elites, still reluctant towards the idea of transferring a part of their power from a national to a supranational level.
Then there is the context. This election will take place against the background of the resurgence of populist movements, which we thought to be confined to the history books, in various elections in Europe. And of course, that all the candidates of the European Socialist Party, all over Europe, should be inspired by their Spitzenkandidat, Frans Timmermans, and address these dis- illusioned, lost people! They need to speak to the millennials, this disabused or cynical generation – even both at times! – that desperately seeks leaders they can talk to! They need to defend women, whose aspiration to be equal to men isn’t still but a promise, but worse, could become a regression with leaders such as Viktor Orbán, determined to send them back to the household to repopulate the old European civilization! And what can we say about the culture and the artistic environment which no longer dare to join together when they were just as boisterous before.
There is finally an opportunity, because as we divide ourselves in backward rhetorics, the populists of all sorts, allied to right-wing parties that are as conservative as ever, provide the Progressives with an enormous space to offer a new vision of European society, adapted to the 21st century. It is up to them to seize this opportunity and to have an influence on the debates.