Is a return to economic growth in Europe either possible, necessary or desirable?
Long-term trends inescapably suggest that growth in Europe is over, or at least unlikely ever to return to 20th-century levels. Whether this is because ecological limits to growth are beginning to bite or as a result of globalization and increasing competition, it is arguable that it would be far better for European politicians to plan for lower or no growth rather than blindly pursuing a return to a past that has gone forever. But what happens to jobs and the European social model?
A panel of experts from green think tanks across the EU considered these questions at an event held at Europe House in London on 20 March, 2015. The contributors discussed the different local dimensions and symptoms of the shared root problem – from the usurpation of local democracy by unelected external institutions, as in Greece, to the transition in eastern Europe from a planned economy to an unprotected exposure to the free market, or to an ideological fixation on growth at the cost of social cohesion, as in the UK.
Are variations on austerity really the only option?
The event was hosted by Jean Lambert, Green Party MEP for London. Speakers were introduced by Aurélie Maréchal (Director, Green European Foundation) and included:
Dirk Holemans (Director, Oikos Foundation)
Tomislav Tomasevic (Heinrich Boell Foundation, Zagreb)
Giorgos Kallis (ICREA, Barcelona
Jonathan Essex: Local Resilience or Global Connectivity (Green House, UK)
John Blewitt (Green House, UK)
The introductory speeches of all the participants plus and MEP Jean Lambert 's summing up can also be found on Green House's Vimeo channel