Neoliberal economics and politics have become main stream in Brussels institutions and this has often been pointed out as a major obstacle to defending our social democratic positions. That's why the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) and the Global Progressive Forum (GPF) launched the Next Left Economic Circle in September 2011, under the chairmanship of Liem Hoang Ngoc MEP and Stephany Griffith Jones (University of Columbia, NYC, US). This circle met every two months and consisted in roundtables, with one famous Heterodox or Post Keynesian economist as guest speaker for each meeting, to assess the theoretical bases underlying S&D economic policy proposals and political positions in the European Parliament. Taking place at lunch time in the European Parliament or at FEPS, it attracted 40 to 70 economists and citizens from the European institutions, NGOs and Trade Unions, as well as private businesses, students, think tank researchers and academics, thus contributing to spreading our progressive ideas.
These roundtables were launched with a double objective: to create and develop a network of progressive economists in Brussels and to show to which extent economic theory can enrich economic debates. Actually, people who were ardent advocates of the free-market ideology a few years ago now highlight the need of public intervention in these troubled times. It seems that we are listening to messages which date back to the 1930s which sustained that a theory that supported public intervention was finally to be understood as a 'Crisis theory' and not a 'General' one. Everything is happening as if the crisis was a particular moment of time, following external shocks i.e. of political nature, given the faith in the self-regulatory character of the economy which could not be questioned. Nonetheless, every economic policy proposal is based on a vision of the economy deciphered through a theoretical corpus which should be made explicit.
The Next Left Economic Circle is a good tool for economist MEPs that are involved in ECON and TAXE commissions and provides a platform for discussions at expert level in Brussels.
You can now apply to the Next Left Economic Circle and receive news and invitations to the NLEC roundtables, from September 2015.