Symbiosis-School of Political Studies in Greece, affiliated to the Council of Europe Network of Schools, organised the “Greece, after the January 2015 elections, governance and Europe, popular national isolationism or democracy of rights: Prospects, assessment, rights and development in Europe” seminar in Xanthi from 24 to 26 March, 2015, in line with Symbiosis commitment to decentralization.
The seminar’s aim was to discuss developments and dynamics in Greece and Europe after the election of SYRIZA as Greece’s ruling party. The speakers and participants came from a wide range of fields aiming to cover different perspectives and elaborate a variety of views. They were academics, researchers, journalists, politicians, lawyers, political scientists, public sector executives, and civil society professionals. The seminar consisted of an opening Roundtable discussion on “Europe and its Frontiers: Cosmopolitanism and beyond”, during which a special tribute was paid to the recently deceased Ulrich Beck, father of the idea of cosmopolitanism, three sessions and a closing Roundtable discussion on “the Law for Decentralisation and proposals for reform”.
During the sessions, the speakers were concerned with dynamics observed in different parts of Europe after the election victory of SYRIZA on January 25, 2015. What did the victory of a left party in Greece mean for the European south, Turkey and the Balkans? What reactions occurred and what prospects emerged? Did the victory of SYRIZA show the signs of a reversal of the scene in other countries of the south and in the region of the Balkans and did it seem to trigger developments in other countries, or are the reactions more than any prospects? Further, they critically reflected on the first months of governance of the new ruling party, elaborating points regarding the character and dynamics observed and the measures taken so far. In addition, the seminar paid special attention to social alliances aiming to demonstrate the structures and processes needed to facilitate the achievement of such alliances. The speakers focused both on the compulsory changes needed on a state level in the fields of justice, education, health, police and public administration, but also on the civil society level, focusing on the areas of intervention, the immediate claims that should be made and the wider planning process that should be adopted.