What is the meaning of social democracy in the twenty-first century? What are its main values and objectives? What role do values play in politics? These are the key issues addressed in the seminars of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung’s Academy for Social Democracy in the Baltic States. The purpose of the seminars is to provide a fundamental orientation from the standpoint of social democracy: How might social democracy today be described? What are its main aims? What particular policies do these aims entail?
Europe faces enormous challenges; both society and politics are undergoing hectic change. The tone of political discourse is coarsening and crucial democratic principles and values are themselves increasingly coming under pressure. All too often, it is as much as progressive parties can do to make themselves heard at all, in a political arena dominated by the clamour of conservative and populist voices.
For that very reason the fundamental values of social democracy – freedom, justice and solidarity – are more important than ever. With the seminars of the Academy for Social Democracy in the Baltic states the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung seeks to help to set the agenda and reinforce the value orientation in politics.
The first weekend seminar was opened by the chairman of the Social Democratic Party in Lithuania, Gintautas Paluckas, and concerned the “Economy, Welfare State and Social Democracy”. Motivated experts and decision-makers from all three Baltic States came together in Vilnius and discussed central economic theories, different welfare state models and the interrelated issues of a sustainable and just economic growth with a pronounced Scandinavian-like welfare state.