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The Euro-Memo Group[1] has played an important positive role – and is continuing to do so – in the following contexts:

–          In the critical debate to be developed against the de facto monopoly of neoclassical economic theory on the institutional level,

–          In the struggles for achieving a democratic renewal of research and teaching in the field of the economic, political and social sciences,

–          In the critique of the neoliberal paradigm in contemporary politics,

–          In the public debate on economic and societal problems,

–          In the elaboration of democratic alternatives to the present development of the EU,

–          In the articulation of left wing European thinking and of a left wing EU policy.

This should certainly be preserved and further strengthened. And yet the question seems to be unavoidable, whether the present state of the comprehensive crisis constellation within and without the EU and its member states does not require more than the present EuroMemo activities, which can be characterized by

–          the formulation of alternatives to the economic policies of the EU institutions and the EU member states which at best help extra-parliamentary protest movements in formulation their demands and requests in a radical and yet realistic way, building pressure ‘from below’ in order to achieve real changes,

–          the reference to and the discussion of ecological and global problems, focusing especially on the more broadly accepted climate and energy problems and restricting effective debate on the most immediately feasible steps towards sustainable solutions,

–          the reduction of the (gendered) living conditions of people in the main to their working conditions and at best to their access to public services,

–          the acceptance of remaining within a conventional epistemological framework of specialized economic science and the given institutional framework of economic policy,

–          the concentration on using a – thoroughly modernized – Keynesian approach, in constructing economic policy alternatives.

This is not to say that the EuroMemo Group should abandon its successful paradigm, as it has grown since the 1990s under the leadership of Jörg Huffschmid. It is rather intended as raising the question of enlarging the group’s approach, making it possible to take new developments in critical practice on board in addition, while –of course – making the unavoidable changes to the aquis communautaire of the Group.

Or to put those very questions in a different vein, looking beyond the EuroMemo Group as such,

–          why and in which way can the EuroMemo approach be made more productive – in a situation, where left wing forces in Europe still do remain in a strategic situation of defensive character, unable to effectively pass over to an offensive strategy?;

–          how can the EuroMemo Group make better use of the elementary fact that the situations and conjunctures of human life generally tend to be far more complex than it appears in a reductionist perspective, always and simultaneously referring to self-determination, dignity, active democratic involvement and the quality of the natural processes and conditions underlying human livelihood, so that ‘the economy’ cannot be considered in separation from liberty, democracy, meaningful and dignified work, social security, availability of humane services, access to individual and collective mobility and the quality of available air, water, soils and eco-systems?;

–          how can the EuroMemo Group defy the ‘evidence’ that economic growth is the only rational option, in spite of the mounting problems of a growing world population, of  an increasing and deepening world poverty, of still deepening, though already enormous social divisions, a sharpening scarcity of natural resources and of global warming, and make it clear that other paths will be needed, in order to achieve sustainable development, to finance the welfare state, to attain full employment, to restrict or to avoid redistribution stuggles and to reduce public debt?;

–          how can the EuroMemo Group conceive of a kind of economic policy in the EU and its member states that is not only full aware of the complexities at stake, but actively addresses the challenges of sustainable development, and the tasks of overcoming the unsustainable structures of production and consumption as they a reigning today in a politically relevant way, seeking the needed confrontations with the dominant agencies of energy production and distribution, transport and agriculture, as well as the military-industrial complex, high tech companies and the enterprises of the sphere of finance?

This will possibly mean to address the following additional challenges:

–           that the EuroMemo Group should urgently extend its analytical scope beyond the construction of realistic policy alternatives open to the macro-economic agency of the EU Commission, the Council of Ministers, and member states’ governments (especially to adequate groupings of them), also looking at the kinds of analysis and theoretical construction underlying the activities of other subjects of economic policy in its broadest possible sense, looking for the feasibility of alternatives and for possibilities of common action;

–          that the memorandum produced by the EuroMemo group should be extended to be a memorandum on the sustainable development of the EU, in the undiluted sense laid out by the Brundtland Report, and  taking on board the scientific competences required for this task;

–          that the EuroMemo Group should include the reflection on the agencies needed for the implementation of its recommendations into the horizon of its research and debate, specifically looking at possibilities and strategies of implementation and the kinds of alliances and networks needed in order to build an ability for gaining political relevancy;

–          that the EuroMemo Group should at once look for new partners helping to prepare the next memoranda and for new groups of supporters signing the memorandum once it is produced.

If and in so far we should come to the conclusion – which may be reasonably well-founded – that we cannot deny these challenges and problems, but in fully accepting them we would disrupt a successfully on-going work and, eventually, even become unable to produce any further Euro-Memorandum, this should be accepted as a judgment on our present possibilities – yet these challenges should be taken on board at least by inciting us to draw the following consequences for our further work as the EuroMemo Group:

–          that we do make explicit our broader aims and objectives, though explicitly restricting ourselves to the more modest goals we set out to achieve,

–          that we change the ways in which we conceptualizes and articulate our discourse basing ourselves clearly on those branches of economic theory geared towards programming sustainable development with a long term perspective, and judging all short term measures on their foreseeable long-term effects,

–          that we open a window of dialogue with groups and movements addressing the issues of societal change lying behind many strictly economic issues (like gender or race discrimination, the limits to economic growth, the embedding of capital accumulation and the political regulation and limitation of financialization)

–          that we complement our production process of the Euro-Memorandum by an articulate offer of debating structural and long-term issues with other critical groups working in the fields of sustainable development and societal change, clearly stating what we are addressing specifically and how we hope to be completed and complemented by groups working on other aspects and dimensions.

[1] European Economists for an Alternative Economic Policy in Europe http://www.euromemo.eu/

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