The Corona-virus has hit the EU unprepared, but in different ways and with different effects depending on the countries. Most tragic were the effects on those countries whose healthcare and social systems have been emaciated by decades of austerity policies. Thus, the pandemic has increased inequalities not only inside the states but also between the Member States of the EU. This presents the parties of the radical left with a challenge and calls for a re-examination of their strategies.

Transform! europe is hosting a series of web interviews with leading personalities of parties of the European Left. The fourth interviewee will be Arnaldo Otegi Mondragon on Thursday 21st of May, at 18.00 CET. The interview will be conducted in Basque with simultaneous interpretation in English.

The event will be interactive – after an initial interview the audience will have an opportunity to ask questions of our guest.

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The main focus of all discussions will be the impact of the pandemic on the economic, social, political, and cultural life of particular countries. We have seen that the EU’s failure to address the health crisis and provide support to the most affected states has changed the way the Union is perceived in parts of Europe. To what extent and with what consequences does this apply to the countries whose parties our interviewees represent? How can the left cope with the economic and social crisis and the recession that is very likely to come in its wake? How do the left parties connect their national strategies to global problems, in particular the influx of refugees and the answers urgently required by the global environmental crisis.


Arnaldo Otegi Mondragon is the General Coordinator of the broad Basque pro-independence party EH Bildu which unites the pro-independence and pro-sovereignity Left in the Basque country. He holds a University degree in philosophy and literature. He got involved in the struggle for democratic rights and Basque independence already under Franco’s dictatorship. He was forced to exile in France, which handed him over to the authorities of the Spanish state who imprisoned and tortured him. Otegi who spent 11 years of his life in prison became the main negotiator for peaceful and democratic solution of the conflict.

Elena Beloki is an anthropologist, journalist and expert on International relations. She is the director of the International Department of the Iratzar Fundazioa and member of Sortu National Council (Sortu is one of the founding parties in EH Bildu).

Walter Baier is an economist in Vienna, he was the National Chairman of the Communist Party of Austria (KPÖ) from 1994 to 2006. He was an editor of the Austrian weekly Volksstimme and from 2007 has been Coordinator of the network transform! europe.

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