Give Greece a chance

European Greens in London has recently become a signatory of the Alter-Summit manifesto in support of Greece. Read the full version below.

For a democracy from below, let’s fight austerity everywhere.

I. Brief analysis

1. The Syriza government coming into office has a double significance:

 In Greece, it is a matter of responding to humanitarian emergencies, restoring social rights and starting to rebuild a destroyed and/or privatised production apparatus.

 In Europe, it concerns breaking with the pro-austerity unanimity and the hegemony of the German government´s ordoliberalism over the euro zone.

2. Those two challenges are not to be confused, however each one constitutes a necessary condition for the other, even if not sufficient: a defeat of one of the two plans would almost necessarily imply a powerlessness over the other. On the contrary, a victory in national issues would boost social movements across Europe.

3. In the conflict regarding the interpretation of what is happening to us, the priority is to present the conflict not as national (“Europe against Greece”) but as social and political: on one side, the interests of the working class and their families, and on the other side, the interests of financiers, banks and large corporations represented by neoliberal governments and European institutions.

4. A political and social commitment of many movements and citizens is possible and necessary. Regarding the political conflict at European level that is unfolding at the moment, the resistance, even coming from a single country, is the first step towards a break with austerity. No one is doubting that this first battle would be the beginning of a protracted confrontation. Indeed, the Greek government is currently the only one to express an alternative and its projects are subject to a very strong generalised adversity. A concrete solidarity with the Greek people and its organizations is justified in two ways:

 It is a simple act of solidarity with comrades in struggle and with organizations that we have been supporting for a long time.

 A success of the Greek government to respond to those internal emergencies would strengthen its capacity for  action at European level and it would open prospects of change elsewhere in Europe.

II. Our position

Alter Summit is a European network of unions and social movements which struggle together against austerity and for a social, ecological, feminist and democratic Europe. Our vision for the future of Europe is expressed in our Athens Manifesto as such:

1. We defend the Greek people and its democratic decision to opt for the Thessalonica programme and to reject the austerity and the Troika.

2. We will continue to support Greek social movements and trade unions both in their political struggle against austerity and their concrete actions of solidarity.

3. We support the Greek government’s decisions aiming to battle austerity and the antidemocratic interference of the ECB, the European Commission and the European and EcoFin Councils.

4. We call national, regional and local governments and political representatives to defend a vision of society in accordance with the Athens Manifesto.

5. We call on the members of the European Parliament and the governments of the MemberStates of the EU, as well as the regions and local authorities to support the right of the Greek government to carry out the programme on which it was elected and to reject all forms of pressures and obstacles to their freedom of action.

6. We will continue throughout Europe to support and organize struggles against austerity and for democracy while maintaining the awareness that the change in Greece is not a threat, but an opportunity for all of us.

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MEPs must protect public from EU-US trade deal threat

As the European Parliament drafts its opinion on the controversial TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) talks, 375 civil society organisations from across Europe, including European Greens in London, have called on EU decision-makers to protect citizens, workers, and the environment from the threats it poses. In an open letter sent to MEPs today groups – including trade unions, consumer, environmental, and civil rights organisations – from 25 countries, warn that TTIP could constrain democratic decision-making by strengthening the influence of big business and undermining public services, the protection of public health, the environment, food and workers’ rights.

Pia Eberhardt of lobby-watchdog Corporate Europe Observatory said: “TTIP is an attempted corporate coup d’etat where big business on both sides of the Atlantic are trying to achieve in secret negotiations what it could not get in open and democratic processes – from watering down food safety standards to rolling back regulations in the financial sector.”

The call comes as European Parliament committees are discussing a draft resolution on the TTIP negotiations to be voted upon in May. It will not be legally binding on negotiators, but will be a significant political signal as any final TTIP deal would have to pass a vote in the European Parliament. Paul de Clerk of Europe’s largest grassroots environmental network, Friends of the Earth Europe, said: “TTIP is like a Trojan horse. In the end we find out that it results in lower food, environmental, labour standards and the sacrificing of democratic rights for corporate interests. MEPs have to clearly reject the dangerous provisions in TTIP, such as giving corporations vast new powers to sue governments in corporate biased tribunals and regulatory cooperation as the ultimate tool for business lobby groups to stop new regulation.”

Key demands in the open letter to MEPs include to the rejection of so-called investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) and a regulatory cooperation council in TTIP, as well as a call to oppose the lowering of standards and for the publication of all negotiation texts. Resistance against TTIP has grown rapidly across Europe in recent months.

More than 1.5 million people have signed a self-organised European Citizens’ Initiative calling on EU decision-makers to stop the TTIP negotiations and to not ratify the EUCanada trade deal CETA. Erich Foglar of the Austrian Trade Union Federation (ÖGB) said: “Trade unions will not support trade deals that lead to job losses, increase inequalities and undermine democracy. But the negotiation texts and independent studies we see, show that this is exactly what TTIP is about. What we need is a trade policy which respects democracy, helps generate decent jobs and enhances workers’ rights.”

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