Antonio Gambini, ECOSY bureau member, 1999-2003
I am grateful for this opportunity to contribute to ECOSY's debate by sharing a few reflections with the readers of this book commemorating the 15th anniversary of ECOSY.
What impressed me the most when I joined ECOSY bureau, with comrades such as Anders Lindberg, Luke Akehurst, Pierre-Antoine Molina, Alexandra Kramm, Federica Mogherini and Enzo Amendola, to name but a few, was the very high level of the political debate. In a later life, hearing debates in "higher" circles of the European socialist and social democratic family, such as the PES Group in the European Parliament, I have, quite frankly, never been that impressed.
At that time, the most lively debated issues were European federalism, European defence, "society issues" (drugs mainly) and of course enlargement.
But today another range of issues have emerged powerfully. Issues such as purchasing power, linked to stagnant wages and increase in prices of basic necessities (housing, energy, food, healthcare), or the organisation of the "labour market" (as they say), linked with flex-security. This should be a welcomed development for us, as these concerns are, historically, our "speciality". However, electoral campaign after electoral campaign, we seem to lose ground, not only to our traditional conservative and liberal opponents, but also, in a few cases, to political forces on our left.
The role of a socialist political youth movement, and its contribution to the overall family, should also be that of breaking new ground in terms of ideas. Other comrades have to run governments, ensure visibility of a message in the media, organise electoral machines.
Now more than ever, the European socialist and social democratic family needs the input of the young European socialist movement, able to overcome gridlock by majority voting, ambitious enough to tackle the challenges of the day and courageous enough to convince and campaign despite the scepticism of party leaderships.