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Event Report - Euroscepticism and the battle for the next European Parliament

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Alliance 4 Europe held on 31 January 2019 its first event of the year in Brussels, at the Press Club, to discuss the roots and responses to euroscepticism, with a particular focus on the European Parliament elections in May 2019.

Ms Danuta Hübner, MEP from Poland, Mr. Peter Müller, journalist from Der Spiegel, and Mr. Peter Willish, co-founder of Alliance 4 Europe, presented their views in front of more than 100 people, in a discussion moderated by Mr. Yannis Karamitsios, member of Alliance 4 Europe.

Mrs Hübner analysed the evolution of euroscepticism, which switched from a more balanced and “benign” scepticism against the EU institutions, in the 2000s, to a more ideological and virulant one in the 2010s. She stressed that civil society should develop its own narrative against that phenomenon and not only wait for the political leaderships to do that. She is hopeful thanks to the active civil movement in Poland, which is different to the situation in Hungary where the regime has suppressed any opposition movements and press.

Mr. Müller described the situation in Germany. He explained that phenomena, like AfD, are not yet well researched and it would be an oversimplification to claim the losers of globalisation could count among its supporters. He stressed that not only the European Parliament is at stake under those elections, but also the next Commission due to the appointment of Commissioners by illiberal and populist governments.

Mr. Willish presented the objectives of networks like Alliance 4 Europe, their strategic purposes, their funding challenges and their role in supporting the European civil society.  Alliance 4 Europe has been created in 2018 to join forces with existing pro-European organisations. It is an agile network that seeks to connect the pro-European political parties and movements that share a values-based progressive agenda, and find a common alternative voice.

All speakers expanded to many more issues in their speeches and in response to each others' and the audience's points. The full event is recorded by video in this link.