Neue Ideen für Europa
In mehreren Runden debattierten die Teilnehmenden des diesjährigen European Forum progressiver Kräfte ihre Vorstellungen für ein Europa nach Corona. Ein Weiter-so nach Corona soll es nicht geben
Mit dem Aufruf, ein solidarisches und demokratisches Europa zu schaffen (Dokument mit Aktionsplan unten), ging am Wochenende das diesjährige Europäische Forum linker und progressiver Kräfte in Europa zu Ende. »Wir wollen ein Europa, das sich den Themen Steuergerechtigkeit, öffentliche Dienstleistungen, Sicherung der öffentlichen Daseinsvorsorge, Harmonisierung der sozialen Sicherungssysteme sowie der Herausforderungen des Klimawandels annimmt«, heißt es in der Schlusserklärung des Forums. Das European Forum versteht sich als Treffen, um Kräfte zusammenzuführen, die kritisch zur gesellschaftspolitischen und ökonomischen Entwicklung in Europa stehen. Dazu gehören unter anderem Parteien der Linken und der Grünen, die Partei der Europäischen Linken und die Denkfabrik Transform!, die Fraktion The Left im EU-Parlament, Nichtregierungsorganisationen und Gewerkschaften.
Die Breite der Teilnehmenden spiegelte sich auch in der Vielfalt der Themen wider. So ging es um den Aufschwung rechter Kräfte und Ideen in Europa, um Migration und Asylrecht, um die Rolle der Gewerkschaften und die Gleichstellung der Geschlechter. Zentraler Diskussionspunkte waren jedoch die Corona-Pandemie und deren Folgen. Zahlreiche Redner*innen betonten, dass sich in der Pandemie letztlich alle Krisen der EU und insbesondere die Austeritätspolitik mit ihren tiefen Einschnitten insbesondere in den sozialen Bereich und mit den Spar- und Privatisierungsmaßnahmen im Gesundheitswesen bündelten. Dabei richteten die Teilnehmenden ihren Blick auch über die EU und Europa hinaus, insbesondere, was die Versorgung mit Impfstoffen. So wies der Co-Vorsitzende von The Left im Europaparlament, Martin Schirdewan, darauf hin, dass sich gerade die Linksfraktion nachdrücklich für die zeitweilige Freigabe der Impfstoffpatente ausgesprochen und im Europaparlament dafür gekämpft habe. In der vergangenen Woche hatte eine deutliche der Abgeordneten diese Freigabe in einer Resolution gefordert. Das geschah mit Blick auf die für die diese Woche geplante Ministerialtagung der dafür zuständigen Welthandelsorganisation WTO, die jedoch kurzfristig vor dem Hintergrund der Pandemie-Entwicklung erschoben wurde.
Die französische Linkspolitikerin Manon Aubry, die mit Schirdewan die Spitze der Linksfraktion bildet, schlug den Bogen zur nahezu zeitgleich mit dem European Forum tagenden EU-Zukunftskonferenz, in der unter Beteiligung der Bürger*innen Visionen für ein anderes Europa entwickelt werden. Die Fragen des Wie-weiter nach der Pandemie gehörten auch dort auf den Tisch.
Höhepunkt des European Forum 2021 waren die Debatten von Freitag und Sonnabend, die sich dem Kampf gegen Rechts, gegen die Militarisierung der EU und für eine sozial gerechte Bewältigung der Pandemiefolgen widmeten und sowohl online als auch in Präsenz in Brüssel stattfanden. Heinz Bierbaum, Vorsitzender der Partei der Europäischen Linken (EL), des »Dachverbands« von Linksparteien in Europa, verwies darauf, dass sich die EL mit eigenen Vorschlägen in diese Richtung engagiert habe, unter anderem mit Vorschlägen zur Ablösung der europäischen Stabilitätsmechanismen durch Programme zum Wiederaufbaupakt. Es gehe jedoch nicht mehr allein um die Minderung der wirtschaftlichen Folgen von Corona. Im Mittelpunkt müsse die Verknüpfung mit den anderen Herausforderungen der Gegenwart stehen, insbesondere mit dem Stopp des Klimawandels. Praktisch gehe es um einen »Links-grünen New Deal«, so Bierbaum.
FINAL DECLARATION PROPOSAL
5TH EUROPEAN FORUM OF LEFT, GREEN AND PROGRESSIVE FORCES
We are holding this 5th Forum at a time when cooperation and collaboration between Green, Progressive and European Left forces is more necessary than ever. The crisis caused by the spread of COVID-19 across the planet, in fact, has revealed all the contradictions, limitations and distinctions of a neoliberal, predatory and unsupportive model of society, which is unable to cope with such a profound challenge as the consequences of a Pandemic, which has ravaged the world for almost two years.
During the crisis, inequalities between social classes have continued to grow, poverty has continued to increase, workers‘ incomes have fallen, unemployment and precariousness have increased. At the same time, wealth is becoming increasingly concentrated in the hands of multinationals and a small number of billionaires.
The response from the right, keep being the privatization and dismantling of public services, with a weak care system that falls on women’s shoulders and at the cost of their lives, bringing the planet to a situation of climate emergency, destroying natural habitats and endangering the biodiversity.
In our defence of a Europe of progress, we reject privatisation as a mechanism to „strengthen“ the financial and economic system; on the contrary, we believe that it is time for state regulation in certain socio-economic spheres, while pointing out that the climate transition can only achieve its objectives if it is committed to rebuilding the food and industrial sovereignty of Europeans, breaking with the model of ultra-liberal free competition and maximisation of financial profitability. It will only be possible if it puts social development and the creation of decent jobs for all, back at the heart of the objectives of European integration, as opposed to the current logic of precariousness.
The current tax rules must be replaced by new ones that guarantee social and ecological developments and the reorientation of all funding, in particular that of the ECB, towards these objectives, is therefore an imperative for which we intend to campaign.
In particular, we emphasise the role that the social economy must play in European reconstruction because of what it represents in terms of solidarity economy, democratic management, territorial articulation and involvement with the environment in which the people who form cooperative enterprises or other legal forms such as worker-owned companies or companies in which employees have shareholder control of the company and decisions on its actions.
While we are facing the social and economic consequences of the crisis, we also assist to an increasement of international tensions which are triggering an arms race that could result in states splitting into military and economic blocs, with unforeseeable consequences for the future of life on Earth. We therefore call on the peoples of Europe to show solidarity and fight for peace, for a fair system of international relations, in which the European Union and the other powerful states stop exploiting the weaknesses of the economies of developing countries.
From this perspective, we advocate for a disarmament policy that would allow a shift from military to social expenditure, through a genuine and mutually beneficial cooperation in the commercial and economic fields. We also claim for an increasing of Europe’s aid to developing countries, thus making it possible to implement an international cooperation initiative aimed at ensuring that everyone enjoys the whole spectrum of human rights, supporting people forced to leave their place of birth and deceived by trafficking networks and guaranteeing their right to asylum, in the framework of an international order that complies with the Charter of the United Nations and which is based on freedom, justice, solidarity, human needs related to the information age and the fourth industrial revolution.
In full compliance with international relations based on the UN Founding Charter, we join the international agreements that demand the immediate lifting of the blockade that the USA maintains against Cuba and other countries, in order to put an end to interference policies that contravene international law. In this sense, we salute how Bolivia managed to regain democracy after a coup d’état that unleashed hatred, persecution and racism, and we strongly reject the rearticulation of fascism, which aims to destroy democracy, and thus support the rule of law.
Likewise, we express our concern about the situation of curtailment of freedoms and systematic repression against the Opposition in Turkey.
At a time when pure survival is at stake, the peoples of Europe must mobilise by highlighting the contradiction capital/life and the fight against inequality and the climate emergency must be the priority for left, green and progressive forces in Europe because we are now entering the final decade in which we will have a chance to avert disaster and we must therefore demonstrate a sense of urgency in the face of the real and increasingly imminent threat posed by climate change and the lack of co-responsibility for care.
An important element of such measures will be a tightening of controls on large companies and the financial sector, which remains exposed to unchecked climate risk. At the same time, however, we must take joint responsibility for the fact that many of the changes needed will involve unprecedented shifts in patterns of production, consumption and mobility, which will inevitably impact upon and transform our daily lives. We must above all defend a just transition the costs of which do not fall solely on those with the lowest incomes and in which policies and sufficient resources are guaranteed to ensure that climate policies do not increase social inequality.
Alongside this, those of us participating in this 5th Forum are aware that in these circumstances the future of the world is uncertain, and we wish to convey to the peoples of Europe our great concern at the global dynamic of national and identitary withdrawal that is emerging in some European countries with authoritarian governments (Poland, Hungary, Slovenia…), a withdrawal that highlights a lack of solidarity and exposes racist, misogynist and xenophobic tendencies. All this is seriously endangering fundamental rights and freedoms such as gender equality, the rights of LGBTQI+ groups, freedom of the press and academic freedom. There is a danger that these dynamics may spread to other European countries where the far right is advancing.
The fight for tax justice has proved itself to be more transnational than ever. In a global and increasingly digitised economy, in which there is yet more concentration of wealth in the hands of the few, we must articulate a joint response at both global and European levels in order to ensure that large corporations pay their fair share of taxes and that the wealthiest individuals are unable to hide their assets. This is essential to ensure redistribution, welfare and sufficient social services.
In these times of crisis, respecting the diversity and plurality that we represent, the political, social and trade union forces participating in this 5th Forum are calling on us all to join forces so that we can together address the challenge of involving the sovereign will of the peoples of Europe in a broad action to defend a socially advanced, ecologically sustainable, supportive and egalitarian Europe that combines economic and social security with food and environmental security in peace and solidarity. We are therefore calling once and for all for an end to austerity in Europe, that social aid and stimuli aimed at alleviating the effects of COVID-19 should not be withdrawn prematurely and that they must be concentrated on the most vulnerable sectors of our society, especially women, who are the most impoverished and hardest hit by the pandemic.
Those of us gathered at this 5th Forum of Left, Green, and Progressive Forces thus state our commitment to support a popular mobilisation in defence of an environmental, feminist, social and economic reconstruction of Europe, based on respect for popular sovereignty, pooling our resources to build a fully democratic, solidarity-based, egalitarian and socially advanced Europe. To this end, we make the following proposals:
1 – Develop a model of European construction, horizontal and solidarity-based. Pluralism and democracy are fundamental for the peoples and nations of Europe. The Europe we are calling for is one based on a conviction that political ideas, and thus the political organisation of the European public space, must be structured by political ideals and direction and not by geographical borders. In this way we will thus be able to effectively defend the strong ideas that are too often absent today: tax justice, public services, public care systems, harmonisation of social security systems etc., in addition to anticipating the challenges posed by climate change. We defend all the measures taken for a Europe of solidarity as part of the coordinated response to the pandemic and its social and economic effects.
2 – Eliminate the model of a neoliberal Europe that has brought ruin to millions with its austerity paradigm, one that has privatised public services, dismantled the social progress achieved through decades of trade union, social and political struggles, has trampled on the democratic sovereignty of the peoples of the world, restricted freedoms, widening the gender gap and the feminisation of poverty, and brought the planet to the brink of a climate emergency, destroying natural habitats and endangering biodiversity.
European integration needs to be horizontal and solidarity-based in nature, inclusive of the half of Europe’s population that is women, respecting popular sovereignty, with cooperation between peoples and nations and an integration of structural policies aimed at pooling resources and building a Europe that is fully democratic, supportive, egalitarian, socially advanced and independent in its international relations.
We are advocating for a more socially ambitious Europe. The social and ecological crises are inextricably linked and the European Union must therefore put forward a proactive and ambitious social plan if we are to avoid increasing the inequalities and injustices yet further.
This plan must be financed, in particular, out of the Union’s own resources and the fight against tax fraud, seeking to boost the economy through measures that prioritise the creation of stable and non-precarious jobs, income growth, and social protection policies, removing all the barriers to collective bargaining that have limited trade union and action and reorienting the ECB’s money creation, under democratic control, towards employment, public services and the ecological transition.
3- We consider it unacceptable that health care should be linked to the financial resources of the patient, so we advocate for affordable and free health care by strengthening essential public services, paying particular attention to those that guarantee universal health care and care.
4- Introduce a European Plan to defend gender equality, one that guarantees women’s human rights and ensure co-responsibility for care work and the equitable distribution of wealth. It is fundamental to achieve the full inclusion of women in all areas of society, for there can be no true democracy until women are able to live freely, without suffering machist violence, with equal rights, without violence and commodification of their bodies (surrogacy) and fully enjoying their rights and control of their bodies through access to abortion, which would create the tomb of patriarchy.
5- Implement a Green Action Plan to halt global warming and biodiversity loss by investing in the expansion of Nature Reserves, Parks and Green Spaces.
6- Boost the economy through measures that prioritise job creation, income growth and social protection policies, removing all the barriers to collective bargaining that have limited trade union action and putting an end to the gender salary gap. This implies following the IPCC recommendations to mobilise financial resources of up to 6% of GDP.
7- Strictly regulate the financial markets to prevent speculative attacks and eliminate tax havens and tax shelters.
8- We stand for peace, ready to counter the growing international tensions that are leading us into a new Cold War. We reject any increase in the military budget and we take distance from the militarist approach proposed by NATO, which represents a serious threat to peace as it will lead to an escalation of the arms race. We are convinced that that disarmament and diplomacy are the best tools to reduce threats to peace. EU countries must ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
It is from this perspective that we raise the need for a debate in society around a concept of collective security that rejects those who want to drag us into a new Cold War, one that argues that a more peaceful world is a safer world, with the implementation of fair and transparent trade rules that are essential for the well-being of all the world’s peoples.
Finally, based on our left, green, and progressive credentials, those of us who have participated in this Forum, we call on social, political and trade union forces to strengthen collaboration and coordination in order to fuel a popular mobilisation that will push back the forces of the European far right. Fed by apathetic, xenophobic, racist, patriarchal and authoritarian delusions, these forces are exploiting the fears and insecurities of large sectors of society.
Alongside this Final Declaration of the 5th European Forum of Left, Green and Progressive Forces, we are also presenting an Action Plan that contains the initiatives emerging from the different assemblies, workshops and panels. This is with the aim of enabling a social mobilisation that will ensure Europe plays a protagonistic role in defending a future in which all humanity can enjoy human rights in peace, equality, freedom and harmony with nature.
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