“Europe's Zeitenwende in the face of the twin transition” was the headline under which we celebrated the official launch of our two Competence Centres FES Climate and Social Justice & FES Future of Work on 26 October. Europe’s Zeitenwende and the twin transition to a climate-neutral and digitised society are mutually influencing each other – with far-reaching effects on jobs and the economy. So how do we shape these developments? What political answers does Social Democracy offer?
With more than 100 guests, friends and partners, we discussed these questions as well as the major challenges the Russian attack on Ukraine poses for Europe; or which European solutions to implement without reinforcing social divisions. As host of our event, Martin Schulz, the President of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, stressed that the rise of the far right in Europe threatens Europe’s core values on which it is built: peace, respect, and dignity.
As our keynote speaker, we had the honour to welcome Nicolas Schmit, Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights. Schmit pointed to the fact that social democrats already led the first industrial revolution. Now, they will lead the climate transformation by bringing good jobs for everyone. “It's about linking climate change and digitalisation to bring justice”, he said. Schmit supported strongly the creation of our two Competence Centres, which act as think tanks on the “twin transition”, the ecological and digital transition: Within this twintransition, "social justice has to be at the core”, the Luxembourger told the audience.
The event was also the occasion to bid farewell to our Director Renate Tenbusch, who has been at the head of the EU Office for the last five years. She warmly welcomed her successor Christiane Kesper, who will take over as new Director at the end of November. Christiane Kesper has been the head of our Division for International Development Cooperation at the FES headquarters in Berlin for many years.