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A new life for the European left? | Opinion

A fresh wind favoring the European left is blowing. In Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Norway, Germany and, since the middle of October, in Italy with the municipal elections, the social democratic left, allied with the Greens or alternative progressive parties, retakes its power. This wave is explained both by the reaction against the austerity policies that the European right has imposed in the face of the Great Recession of 2011, and by the 2019 pandemic, which has dramatically exposed the serious deficiencies of the liberal cycle institutionalized by politics. stability of the EU; on the other hand, the fiscal incentives that the EU is providing for the economic relaunch in Europe legitimize the return of social welfare policies. It is, in fact, a new cycle that is emerging.

The question now is whether the left will know how to undertake policies capable of ruling in the long term or will it be reduced to mere electoral episodes. The German elections, for example, have created a space for the formation of an ecological social-liberal bloc, but, without knowing the program of the coalition or what force will be in charge of the Ministry of Finance, it cannot be predicted if Germany will continue, with nuances, in the path that Angela Merkel had designed since 2019, or if the new alliance will be able to impose on the liberals a more significant social reorientation towards a politics of the left. In the latter case, the repercussions will be inevitable and positive on the overall strategy of the European Commission. In Italy, a liberal social recomposition takes root with Mario Draghi and, in Portugal, the Socialist Party seems committed to a leftist policy, although more pragmatic. In Spain, the bet that Pedro Sánchez made in 2015, and the very complex battle, which he finally won both electorally in the country and within the PSOE, are articulated around a social democratic coalition with the alternative left. It is a unique format in Europe, which has allowed, after the management of the pandemic, to lay the foundations for an expansion of relations of equality and an original and advanced social-ecological program, which will contribute to transforming the global production model.

Generally speaking, the discourse of the European left focuses on the ecological challenge, the digital revolution and “equality”. However, except for the latter, they are not specifically left-wing issues, they belong today to the politics of Brussels. Furthermore, the right, even the extreme right, shuffles them in their own way. Regarding equality, the social democratic left vacillates between limiting itself only to healing the wounds caused by liberal policies (restructuring the laws of the labor market and enhancing purchasing power) or proposing a vision based on the need for deep structural reforms, which which would imply a coordination of progressive forces on a European scale. The possibility of a new life for the left, after decades of liberalism, depends, in the end, on the answer to this dilemma.

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