We are at a crucial turning point for the future of the European establishment and for the future of the European Union. The neoliberal policies that have been implemented during the last years at EU level have left behind a traumatic experience for the European people. These policies have also caused the surge of far-right and populist powers that call for the disintegration of the European Union.

The next European Elections in May 2019 can be, thus, considered as the most important ones of the last decades. We have an urgent situation we need to cope with and in this context, we have two interrelated goals: First, to change, advance and develop Greece within Europe, for the benefit of the Greek people and especially for the weaker parts of the society. Second, to advance the European integration process, emphasize on sustainable growth, social and regional cohesion and stronger democratic legitimacy in decision-making.

The architecture of the European establishment needs to be revamped, to push for robust institutional reforms, focusing on the social agenda. We need to step up tax harmonization, increase public investments, strengthen democratic accountability, and accelerate environmental protection policies

In order to achieve both goals, it is necessary to strengthen the social and progressive forces so that this can be reflected in the balance of power in the next composition of the European Parliament and the European Commission.

The architecture of the European establishment needs to be revamped, to push for robust institutional reforms, focusing on the social agenda. We need to step up tax harmonization, increase public investments, strengthen democratic accountability, and accelerate environmental protection policies.

In the coming European Elections, the European citizens have the option to choose between progress and stagnation, to choose whether they want to move forward and see EU focusing on deeper cohesion and effective social and job security, or instead to step back and resort to nationalism and those policies that have sharpened inequalities and intensified social division.

In the coming European Elections, the European citizens have the option to choose between progress and stagnation

We have made positive steps during the last three years with the Progressive Caucus in the European Parliament, the Forum in Marseilles in 2017, the Progressive Forum in Athens in March 2018, and the Bilbao Forum in November 2018. We need to keep working on that direction, increase cooperation between the left-wing, socialist and green political forces and stand firm against the rise of neo-nazism across Europe.

In this context, we also need to resort to self-criticism and avoid mistakes of the past. Broader democratic alliances can thrive only through dialogue and concrete, convincing proposals, but also through the constant interaction with the people and the civil society. There is much room for cooperation in the coming months, and we are certainly planning to work on that.

*Dimitris Papadimoulis is Vice-President of the European Parliament, head of SYRIZA party delegation.