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 third interviewee will be Heinz Bierbaum – European Left, the President of the Party of the European Left on the 19th of May, 18.00 CET. The interview will be conducted in English.
The events will be interactive – after an initial interview the audience will have an opportunity to ask questions of our guest.
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.
Heinz Bierbaum is the current President of the European Left Party (EL). He is former deputy Chairman of the German left party Die LINKE. Born in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bierbaum studied in Freiburg and Berlin and graduated as a sociologist. In 1977, he received his doctorate in economics and social sciences. From 1996 to 2009, he taught business administration at the Saarland University of Applied Sciences. The Party of the European Left was formed in January 2004. It currently consist of 41 member-, observer- and partner parties. Its elected members of the European Parliament are part of the European United Left–Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) faction. In December 2019, on the 6th Congress of the EL in Málaga, Heinz Bierbaum was elected as its president.
Walter Baier,economist in Vienna, he was 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.
Marga Ferre, the Secretary for Political Elaboration of Izquierda Unida, Spain, and member of the transform! europe Board.