In the name of a democratic and social Europe
On the same day that the European Council concluded the Reform Treaty, 200 thousand Portuguese workers met on a demonstration in Lisbon and 300 thousand others in various French towns. In both cases, as in Rome on the 20 October, the Work world raises his voice demanding for full employment policies and a Europe that safeguards the social rights. The treaty is closed; more than ever the question of alternative solutions for Europe remains open.
The Treaty that the governments signed today doesn’t correspond to this huge appeal. We, the parties of the European Left, have actively lobbied with all our powers to prevent the EU Reform Treaty from becoming the guiding treaty of European Union politics, on the grounds of its basic neo-liberalist and militaristic agenda. We had hoped that the responsible politicians of the EU and its member states had learned from the open debate surrounding the Reform Treaty, and from the votes of the peoples of France and the Netherlands. However, the form and manner of the new draft treaty’s composition, and above all its content, show that they clearly have a low capacity for learning. By now, after six years of fretting over internal issues, the union should have turned to its real duties. However, the agreed changes to the treaty, tackle current issues only in a few respects, and future challenges hardly at all. Further, the future capabilities of the European Union are still uncertain — the most blatant deficiencies in current European politics, and the related causes of the growing chasm between policy and the acceptance of the EU by its people, remain intact. For these reasons we say: Treaty of Lisbon — no way!
Even more, it confirms the authoritarian power of the European Central Bank and its only goal - price stability; it consecrates the Stability Pact policies, which affect social expenses and public investment, impinging specially on the poor the consequences of these budgetary restrictive policies; it insists on the principle of “free and undistorted competition”, which was the umbrella for the eruption of the precariousness in labor relations, the erosion of rights, the attacks against Public Services and Social welfare, and the wages decrease.
On the same day of this extraordinary demonstration in Lisbon, the Council and the European Commission shared with the European Trade Union Confederation a diagnosis about the work market in Europe. The document subsequently produced was erroneously announced as an agreement. But, regardless of this fact, it is true that it opens the way to the concept of flexicurity to the whole of the Union.
The European Left considers that such a concept cannot be made universal in the European space. Under the slogan “flexicurity”, the employers and the European Commission have the goals of ending the collective recruitment agreements, the liberalization of layoff and individual dismissal, and the precariousness of labor relations. What concerns them is not security but flexibility. On the contrary, the European Left stands for the fundamental significance of Work in the construction of the European project and calls for the determination of the trade unions facing this new attack against social rights.
The main issue here is a regression of civilization character. Europe doesn’t need more flexibility because it already has too much precariousness. The European workers need the reinforcement of all that guarantees the assurance of labor and labor relations, social welfare, pension rights, protection on health, unemployment. What Europe needs is a new Solidarity Contract, enlarging to the immigrants, women and youth, the social rights and benefits in which was built the difference of our continent. That is the precondition on how to reach the gap between rich and poor, people and regions, as well as the openness in the EU.
The new Treaty gives the Charter of Fundamental Rights legal basis but it is known that the European Left considers this document limited in scope. It didn’t align with the highest level of national legislations. And that’s why it should be renegotiated and its value reassessed.
This wasn’t the option of the governments. The new Treaty begins to depreciate the Charter by not including it in the main text; it carries forward accepting its non universality in Europe, by giving Poland and the United Kingdom the option of opt out; and finally it forbids any implications that the Charter might have in any new goals and policies of the Union.
The new Treaty reaffirms all the objectives and procedures that prevent the European Union from having, at the global level, its own policy in regard to the United States. The Treaty subordinates the European defense to NATO, an offensive military organization, instead of supporting its dissolution under the auspice of the United Nations. It recommends an increase of the military expenses instead of doing exactly the opposite; and it accepts the involvement of European multinational forces in the “more demanding” military missions, in the name of the defense of the “values” and “interests” of the Union.
The European Left refuses the participation of the European military forces in military interventions.
We believe that the EU is able and should disarmament, reducing the military budgets of its member countries and to stop thinking in military terms. The EL also believes that the so called war on terrorism cannot serve as an excuse to reduce and undermine fundamental rights, civil liberties, transmission of personal data to third countries and the abuse of power by the security forces. On at least three aspects the new treaty opens a Pandora box on the violation of fundamental rights: death penalty, the use of disproportionate force by the security forces of each country, the transmission of personal data of the EU citizens without parliamentarian control.
The European Left denounces the militarist dimension of the new Treaty and its subordination to the imperialistic logic and to the aggressive policy of the USA, in a moment of exponential raise in the risk of new wars.
Should these possibilities within the treaty with regard to the Security and Defence Policy become reality, as is already happening through cooperation between member states and therefore bypassing control from the European Parliament and largely from the national parliaments, then our world will not be safer, but even more dangerous. Europe will then not be equal to its responsibility to contribute to world peace.
Even in the field of Justice and internal affairs, now becoming a subject of the European policies the agreed items do not correspond to increase transparency of the European policies.
The notion of “terrorism” is introduced without any interpretation of the term. This is dangerous, because it can lead to military interventions “against terrorism” outside the EU borders.
For all these reasons, the European Left opposes to the Treaty that the governments have closed today. In different countries their militants and activists will argue for a great popular debate with the active participation of the Trade Unions, workers, NGOs and social movements about the future of the European project, and stand for referenda as a condition for parliamentary ratification.
This Treaty represents also a trick, because it resuscitates the deceased Constitutional Treaty, rejected by the French and the Dutch in referenda largely participated. Even more now than in the past, the ratification of this governments’ Treaty absolutely depends on the exclusion of the peoples and citizens from the decision making process. It worsens the democratic deficits and the popular suspicion on the political leadership. This is a Treaty that endangers the idea of openness and perspective of all people living in the EU and therefore disestablishing the idea of EU itself.
The EU is living a political crisis due to among other reasons the lack of direct participation of the European citizens in the democratic building process. The European Left notes that to solve this political crisis it is needed to widen democraticy and the direct participation of the European citizens.
Czech transtation can be found HERE.