Home > Minimal Europe, NO! Social Europe, YES!

Minimal Europe, NO! Social Europe, YES!

by Open-Publishing - Thursday 2 August 2007

Edito Europe European Left

By European Left

1. The agreement on a mandate for a new IGC to work out a new EU Treaty decided by the Heads of State during the last European Council is a clear sign of the lack of added value of this governmental Europe for the improvement of citizens’ life.

The governments have decided to include in a new Treaty and through amendments of the previous ones the main part of the Constitutional Treaty – rejected by the French and Dutch peoples. The Party of the European Left criticises this decision for two reasons: its methods and its substance.

2. The essential content is the same – as everyone recognizes – meaning that the Council refuses to listen to the social and democratic reasons which based the NO in the French and Dutch referenda. The main concern of the Council was to save the rejected Treaty, trying to avoid the peoples’ vote. This decision will deepen the growing crisis of the democratic legitimacy of the European Institutions. As far as public opinion is concerned, the message of the Council is clear: it is useless to reject our proposals, we’ll impose them anyway.

The Party of the European Left demands a referendum in all EU countries as a necessary condition for a fair and democratic ratification process.

3. The Council has been insensitive to the reasons of the French and Dutch NO. Its main attention has been given to the voices claiming a Europe becoming even more minimal and depending only on the will of the governments.

4. In the name of its main goals – to save the neo-liberal agenda and to assure that the EU will remain under the command of the directory – the Council has abandoned the idea of a Constitution for Europe and blocked the path to popular participation. The EL insists that free market policy must not overrule democracy and popular participation.

5. European leaders used to consider urgent to gather in a single text the community’s main laws and political principles. They made it the worst way, “constitutionalizing” the Union jurisprudence. Now, they gave up their own goal. They propose a new Reform Treaty amending the previous ones and supplying them with all the necessary attachments and protocols. As a result, European legislation will become even more opaque and confusing.

6. During the so called “reflection period”, European leaderships have spoken about the need of giving the Europeans a “social signal”. But in fact, the two “signals” sent by the Council represent a real swindle. Free competition appears no longer in the list of the goals of the Union. Nevertheless, an additional protocol will guarantee that it will remain the main instrument of economic integration and the European Court of Justice will have absolute power in this matter.

The second signal concerns the Charter of Fundamental Rights. The EU Council has accepted for the IGC mandate that even this minimalist version of the fundamental rights is no longer considered to be universal within the EU. Furthermore “the Charter does not extend the field of application of Union law beyond the powers of the Union or establish any new power or task for the Union, or modify powers and tasks as defined by the Treaties."In other words, the EU will not be obliged to do anything new to make these rights come true. Concerning climate change and environmental policies, the decisions of the Council are too limited to cope with the magnitude of the present situation.

7. European leaders claim that the agreement provides an effective External and Security Policy. This is far from the truth. The IGC is mandated to keep the EU External and Security policy depending on governments unanimity, and the European Parliament is not allowed to act in co-decision. The European Left also criticises that the new legal personality of the Union will have no consequences in the presence of the EU in international institutions, in particular the United Nations. We also strongly oppose the military and defence strategy, namely the subordination of EU defence policy to NATO.

8. The European Left calls all its member parties, militants and social activists to mobilize on behalf of the peoples’ right to decide on the future of the European Union.

Therefore, the European Left decides to launch a large information campaign on the contents of the agreement reached the European Council in July.

The EL decides to promote meetings and debates in several countries, spreading its proposals for an alternative policy in the EU.

The EL calls for each member party to consider the launching of a convergence campaign across Europe, supported by national petitions in favour of referenda.

Finally, the European Left schedules a public act in Lisbon, in October, during the summit that will finalise the IGC and decide upon the new EU Treaty .