Ultra-conservative strategies to restore a “natural order”: the Agenda Europe networks

18.09.2021, 11:45

Keynote with Neil Datta (Secretary of the European Parliamentary Forum on Sexual and Reproductive Rights, EPF)

In Conversation with: Asia Leofreddi (Curator of the Forum, journalist, sociologist and PhD candidate of the program Human Rights, Society and Multi-level Governance at the University of Padua)

In 2018, ARTE television and the European Parliamentary Forum on Sexual and Reproductive Rights revealed the existence and inner working of a religiously inspired ultra-conservative network going by the name of Agenda Europe. “Restoring the natural order” was the title of their manifesto and their goal was to roll back advances in women’s and LGBTQI’s rights, at national and international level.

In the last years, Agenda Europe members have launched over 15 policy initiatives in Europe, recent examples of which are the near-total ban of abortion in Poland and the campaigns against the Istanbul Convention in various Eastern and Central European countries.

Who is part of these networks? How are they organising and fundraising? And, above all, why should be aware of their existence?

Neil Datta has been the Secretary of the European Parliamentary Forum on Sexual and Reproductive Rights (EPF) since 2004. EPF is a network of parliamentarians from across Europe who are committed to championing women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights. Neil founded the organisation with a select group of parliamentarians and with the support of IPPF in 2000, and has been responsible for its growth to its current membership of 30 all-party parliamentary groups on population and development issues.
Neil has over fifteen years experience in the field of political involvement in population and development. Throughout this period he has conducted in-depth research on anti-choice activity in Europe as The Tip of the Iceberg, 2021, Modern Day Crusaders, 2020, and Restoring the Natural Order, 2018. Before becoming EPF Secretary, Neil coordinated the Parliamentary Programme of the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network.

Asia Leofreddi is a PhD candidate at the Human Rights Center – University of Padua. Her main interests concern relations between religion and politics in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, the politicisation of human rights, and citizenship. In addition, Leofreddi is a researcher at the Centro Studi Confronti, Rome, Italy and a journalist for the homonymous monthly magazine.

The event will also be live-streamed on Youtube.