WHAT IS... Progressive Economy

Progressive Economy is an initiative launched in 2012 with a major objective: generate a truly public and informed debate on economic and social policy at national, European and global levels and actively promote progressive thinking at academic and at political levels. Progressive Economy is a long-term initiative with a strategic vision of its contribution to progressive thinking and action.

Without public debate, without clear policy choices, there can be no real democracy. Lack of choice breeds frustration, populism and the growth of anti-politics. Progressives have a duty to demonstrate to citizens that they do have a choice and to do what it takes to win the battle of ideas in these core areas for the future of our societies.

That is why the S&D Group has launched the ProgressiveEconomy initiative, which will create a new and open space for public and informed debate, and which will contribute to build a contemporary progressive economic and social vision for Europe.


The initiative started back in November 2012 with support given to the publication of the first Independent Annual Growth Survey (iAGS). The second iAGS was released in November 2013 and the third in December 2014. Each year, several economic institutes (OFCE, IMK, ECLM) publish an iAGS, providing detailed analysis, forecasts and recommendations for the European economy.  Progressive Economy is proud to support this work, which for the first time provides a solid alternative to the Commission's own Annual Growth Survey report that forms the basis for the annual definition of Europe's economic policy at European Council level, and of country-specific recommendations.

The initiative was then publicly launched at a first annual forum in Brussels on Thursday 7 March 2013, close to the Spring European Council, with high-level participants from politics, academia, media and civil society. The initiative retains the concept of one major annual gathering, within which the different parts of its activities and the many people involved can come together. The second annual forum took place in March 2014 in Brussels in the form of a "Progressive Economy Forum" under the theme "INEQUALITY". The aim of this annual Forum is to bring together an ever larger number of progressive individuals from academia, politics, trades unions and civil society actively engaged in, and committed to reinforcing and promoting progressive ideas in the economic and social fields across Europe and globally.  The third annual Forum is planned for 3-4 June 2015 on the theme of SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT.


PROGRESSIVE ECONOMY ACADEMIC NETWORK: This is aimed at fostering progressive academic research and networking on economic and social issues, and at facilitating the transmission of academic knowledge into political processes, notably through an annual "Call for Papers".

PROGRESSIVE ECONOMY PARLIAMENTARY NETWORK: The parliamentary network is aimed at deepening and broadening the democratic dimension of European economic and social governance at EU, Eurozone and Member States' levels, and at contributing to a fundamental and durable change of policy in the economic and social fields in line with commonly defined progressive policy concepts and values. It includes an Annual Assembly, of which a first meeting took place on 4-5 December 2013.

PROGRESSIVE ECONOMY EVENTS: In order to contribute to an open and inclusive exchange of ideas and experiences among progressives across Europe, Progressive Economy will run a rich programme of events in different parts of Europe. During 2013, events took place in Rome, Lisbon, Brighton, Bordeaux and Budapest. These are also connected to the Parliamentary Network.

POLICY ISSUES: Across its range of activities, the initiative addresses three policy issues: "Economic performance and investment", "Social issues, inequalities and quality work" and "Sustainability". Furthermore the initiative aims at strengthening both knowledge and policy responses in these areas through tailored studies and a series of workshops.

JOURNAL FOR A PROGRESSIVE ECONOMY: The initiative's activities feed into a regular publication of contributions from academics, policymakers and other key stakeholders, the aim of which is the circulation of progressive thinking and the transmission of knowledge and ideas between the academic and political spheres.

WEBSITE: The Progressive Economy website plays an active role in developing the Academic and Parliamentary Networks and, more generally, in providing an important source of information and exchange for progressives on economic and social challenges.