Changing Europe – Changing the world
After the electoral victory of the socialist and social democrats in France, Denmark, Croatia and Belgium and upcoming elections in Germany, Italy, Nethlerands a new future is appearing for Europe. We need to put an end to neoliberal politics which led us into the current crisis. Cutting down the welfare state and strict austerity measures are not the solution. Young people are often the first victims of wrong policies that only increase the precariousness of life. Neither Conservatives and Liberals nor populists and technocrats are able to formulate an answer to the crisis. It is up to the socialist, social democratic and progressive movement to give the right answers for a social Europe. We need to empower people to fight for their rights.
We need more solidarity and justice
Fighting the Financial crisis – reject austerity
We need to have equal social standards for every person in each and every member state, as we do believe independent from nationality, people have a right to the same social security. That means we need to agree to minimum standards at a European level. It is urgent that European countries develop a common defintion of what unemployment aid, pension level and minimum income˙they want.
The European youth guarantee needs to be implemented as soon as possible. The investments the member states make to ensure the youth guarantee should be excluded from the austerity goals the Troika applies to the crisis states. The programs of the youth guarantee need to be evaluated in their sucess to bring people into jobs.
Solidarity is the only way to ensure the existence of a social Europe. This improvement can only be achieved by the democratisation of the economy. A reinforcement of the peoples’ economic rights is needed to counter financial power and its neo-liberal allies. Privatisation of common goods is contrary to this goal. The construction of the euro is missing complementary policies to handle a common currency. We desperatly need to develop the social, fiscal and political union to heal the birth mistakes of our common currency. This union must be a contrary project to the neoliberal fiscal compact which destroys the social welfare state.
One of the main actors of this crisis is the ECB. Its mandate should be altered to take into account employment and a qualitative growth. A change should be made at the level of European treaties and we have to discuss the possibility of the ECB to directly lending money to the members states and the EU and having ecological transition in its obligations
Strong and effective Public Services
Public Services are jeopardized by the growing number of austerity plans, budget cuts and privatisation in Europe, although water, food, knowledge, education, culture, energy, transportation, the Internet, social housing and health are considered as a common goods of humanity. Public services allow the access to common goods of humanity in order to fight inequalities. Universality, proximity, responsiveness and quality must be the pillars of public services. A real European welfare state is the only way to combat injustice between countries, residents and to put an end to the social dumping and the European internal brain drain. We have to go from customers to users, to get and ensure users’ rights.
A free society with free citizens can only be achieved through free public education from primary schools to university. In times of crisis there is a danger that education is only understood as preparation of a profession. We believe that education needs to have an emancipative character. Therefore we need easily accessible education throughout life. In the recent years following the austerity measures in a lot of countries tuition fees have been raised. We are calling for free education which is publically funded. There should be no additional financial barriers regardless of functionality and migration background.
We need more Freedom and Equality
We demand a right to express the cultural identity chosen by a person. Freedom of religion means peaceful coexistence. We are worried by the rising stigmatization of Muslim communities and some ethnic minorities such as Sinti and Roma. Asylum seekers also face discrimination by institutions and society. The EU has to establish a common asylum policy based on human rights and an equal high protection for asylum seekers in every member state.
Personal freedom includes the right to be queer. Our political goal is to make marriage and registered partnership with equal rights, having children and blood donations possible for everyone.
We demand an equal access to work for all that not only includes having any job, but also a satisfying profession. This includes the freedom from fear of social and financial insecurity as well as an effective fight against discriminations. No job should prevent private life and social engagement. We condemn the indeterminate extension of actual working time by the conservatives and liberals. Work is not the sole purpose of live.
Women are still not treated equally in Europe. Civil and social rights are not fully equal in all countries. And we do face huge inequalities in the workplace where women are still paid significantly less than men. We must implement binding measures regarding equality of wages between genders. We demand the European Union continues its fight for women’s rights and makes their harmonization between member states a priority.
Discussing equality, freedom, democracy and solidarity we cannot ignore the discrimination of women in our society. This is not only a political but also a structural problem. To achieve equality from a socialist point of view, we need a strong feminist fight. There is no socialism without feminism!
A sustainable development model
We live in a resource limited world. The overexploitation of raw materials to the benefit of capitalist systems has led to global climate change. Therefore a new model of development has to be implemented. It is too late to be only whistle blowers. We need strong political action. A deregulated market system will never be the solution to achieve a sustainable society. We need to strongly oppose earth merchandising and secure the common goods of humanity. Nature is the new privileged playground of transnational firms, they use the concept of green capitalism to privatise pieces of nature. An energetic transition including renewable energy through a European ecological plan has to be implemented for our continent. Globalization through a full free trade system has become a danger for our environment. We should build a fair trade system based on social and environmental criteria.
We need more Democracy and Participation
Power to the people
Europe is still lacking real democracy. We still have to strengthen the power of the European parliament, so that it gets its full rights. This is urgent because in this time of crisis the lack of democracy became even worse. The parliament had been excluded from decision making by international agreements like the fiscal compact and many council meetings.
Many citizens in Europe lost the trust in the ability of politicians to solve this crisis. Especially the right wingers used this lack of trust to get support for their own agenda. This is why we as socialists need to have general strategies to tackle the crisis and give the people an alternative.
We are missing a true European debate. The political actors at the European level, like our mother party PES are not visible enough. This is why we need a common visible election campaign and we should move European elections so that they take place on the same day in every member state.
Young people are often excluded from political decision and exclude themselves because they distrust the system. As a youth organization it is our task to put the problems of young people on the political agenda so that they feel that they have been heard and get them involved in decision making.
Our fight for more democracy also includes a strong fight against any anti-democratic movements.
The global crisis requires a new world balance. International organisations, like the IMF or the WTO have their own agenda and push neoliberal policies. Democracy within international organisations must be reinforced. The general assembly must be the effective place for decision making and not the G20 or G8. We need a fair relationship without the pressure of lobbies. We call for the abolition of the condoning and unequal relationship between developed and developing countries. The emerging countries have to be our allies, not our competitors. They have been double hit by the crisis, they lost the markets for their products and many developed countries cut development aid. We need to ensure that there is no possibility to speculate on food and clean water. In times of crisis they need our solidarity, so we should not only focus on Europe. We support our western Saharawi comrades in their struggle against the occupation of their land. We together with our partners in both Israel and Palestine condemn the settlement policy of Israel which is not helping in the two-state solution and finding a way towards sustainable peace.
ECOSY Summercamp 2012 in Savudrija, Croatia