The European project denatured
In their appeal, the signatories, among which members of the European Greens Monica Frassoni and Raül Romeva i Rueda, highlight the denaturing process the European project has been facing for the last twenty years (i.e. overemphasis on liberalisations and financial capitalism instead of developing a space of economic and political integration free from war).
Six objectives are proposed to take another road for Europe away from austerity policies, but rather focusing on social justice, environmental responsibility and democracy.
- A smaller finance. This appeal identifies perverse financial markets at the root of the crisis. It therefore calls among other things for a financial transaction tax, stricter regulations against speculative and risky financial activities, a reorganisation of the Monetary Union and the establishment of the ECB as a lender of last resort.
- More integrated economic policies. According to this appeal, it is now time for Europe to go beyond policies limited to the single market and the single currency. More integrated economic policies should include a tax harmonisation and a shift from labour to wealth and non-renewable resources. Demand should be stimulated by public expenditure at both national and European levels. Eurobonds should fund the ecological conversion of Europe’s economy and industrial innovation policies should aims to orient production and consumption towards high-skills, high-quality and sustainable activities.
- More jobs and labour rights, less inequality. Europe is often blamed, rightly or wrongly, for destroying jobs, increased competition and the relocation of firms. Therefore this appeal calls for welfate and labour rights to be at the core of the meaning of Europe, by supporting low incomes earner and protecting trade unions rights.
- Protecting the environment. Sustainability, the green economy, energy and resource efficiency should become the new meaning of Europe’s growth, according to this appeal. This would imply taking into account environmental effects and impacts on climate change of European policies, as well as investments in renewable energies and energy efficiency, and a shift in consumption patterns.
- Practicing democracy. The signatories acknowledge the rising mistrust of citizens with regards to their representatives across Europe. They also criticise the current drift in European decision-making towards only intergovernmental agreements (e.g. Fiscal Compact), thereby taking legitimacy away from EU institutions. Finally, they recall the important role of citizens’ mobilisations in EU’s history, from European Social Forums to the protests of indignados. A change from inward-looking to more open and tolerant societies is required, especially in the aftermath of the Arab Spring.
- Making peace and upholding human rights. Though peace is at the roots of the European project, European countries still spend one fifth of world military expenditure. Instead drastic cuts and transformation in military budgets are urgent. One must assess that peace in Europe does not result from projecting military force, but from a policy of human and common security.
Appeal to be presented in the European Parliament on 28 June
On the 28th of June 2012, this appeal has been debated in the European Parliament during a one-day forum featuring activists, experts, political forces and policy makers. The debates has been organised around three issues: macroeconomic policies and finance, Green New Deal and employment, and democracy. You can find out more about this appeal and this event here.
You can find the five main proposals that emerged from this forum here.
Prominent Green figures, such as our co-president Pierre Jonckheer, Isabelle Durant, Philippe Lamberts, Sven Giegold, Monica Frassoni and independent member of the Greens/EFA Rui Tavares took part in the forum.
The current crisis as a window of opportunity for an alternative Green Europe
The current crisis would have deserved the credit for opening a widespread debate on the nature of the European project. Initiatives are launched throughout Europe to seize the opportunity for rethinking our common future. This web dossier plans to regularly report on some of these initiatives.
GEF has recently launched its own initiative to define the Green future for Europe. This project focuses on confronting national debates on Europe by fostering understanding of different national realities at transnational level. With the support of Green national foundations and other partner organizations, debates will take place throughout Europe around two main questions:
- What kind of socio-economic policies do we need in Europe to overcome the ecological, economic and social crisis? What would be a Green social Europe?
- How can we ensure a more democratic Europe that is able to respond to the rise of populism and is fit to address the democratic challenge of creating a more integrated Union?
Some of these questions will most likely be touched upon in the appeal for “Another Road for Europe”. Follow this section of the GEF website for an updated report after the conference in June.