The future of Europe’s economy

150 150 Time To Talk
This Red House Festival of Ideas on Europe discussion with Niccolò Milanese looks at how we can increase workers’ rights and democratise the European economy.
These are video highlights, a full-length recording of this event can be accessed by clicking here

About the debate:

This third Festival of Ideas on Europe session focused on changes in the European work place and the economy. Starting off with an English-language lecture by European Alternatives President Niccolò Milanese on work place politics and the possibilities for democratising European economies, the evening then proceeded into a Bulgarian-language panel discussion on the pros and cons of de/regulation and workers’ rights.

In his lecture, Niccolò Milanese began by painting a dark picture of the sort of working environment faced by employees of global megacorporations, describing a situation within which workers have effectively been mechanised by their employer’s efficiency drive and are isolated from each other and subjugated by a top-down regime, with little opportunity for self-determination, solidarity or providing their own input.

This nightmarish vision is then consolidated as Milanese moves on to discuss how these changes in the work place affect other areas of our lives and societies, highlighting the links which have been made between such working conditions and people’s political preferences and the emergence of authoritarian and so-called populist movements.

The lecture, however, concludes in a more positive respect, with Milanese turning his attention to new and emerging examples of cross-border citizen worker initiatives which look to fight back and democratise the work place. For Milanese, these represent a new anti-hierarchical example of horizontal European integration and show how we and the powers that be can both effectively combat political radicalisation and improve our own individual work places.

To find out more, watch the English-language highlights of the discussion at the top of this page. A short biography of Niccolò Milanese, information about the Bulgarian-language debate which followed this lecture and a link to that discussion can also been found further down this page.

Alternatively, if you want to find out more about the Festival of Ideas on Europe and its other discussions, click here to visit our festival page.

Schedule of events & speaker biographies:

Democratising Europe's economy

Opening lecture - in English


Niccolò Milanese - Poet & Philosopher, President of European Alternatives
Milanese was born in London, but now lives in Paris, from where, in addition to European Alternatives, he has been involved in the creation of numerous political and cultural organisations, magazines and initiatives, including the liberal magazine, YAANI, Mena Policy Hub, Bitmind, the Cultural Innovators Network, the ECIT Foundation for European Citizenship, the Europe + campaign for a democratic EU and Civil Society Europe, in which he currently chairs a working group on civilian and fundamental rights

What will make the EU stronger: more freedom for businesses or more social protection?

Follow-up discussion - in Bulgarian
(Bulgarian speakers can access the full-length discussion with Bulgarian interpretation on The Red House's YouTube channel by clicking here)


Irina Nedeva – Journalist, Bulgarian National Radio & Chair of the Association of European Journalists, Bulgaria


Teodor Dechev - Director of Industrial Policies at the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association (AICB)

Petar Ganev - Economist, Institute for Market Economics

Vanya Grigorova - Economic Counsellor at the Podkrepa Confederation of Labour and President of the Solidarna Bulgaria Association

Georgi Medarov – Sociologist & Member of the Collective for Public Interventions