Saturday, 19 November 2016

Alternatives to the Europe of austerity: Internationalist Summit for a Plan B in Europe

Developments in the European Union over the past years presents the left, trade unions and progressive social movements with new challenges and has ignited a debate over alternatives and strategy. In particular, the steamrolling of the Greek left wing experiment in 2015, has put the authoritarian and neoliberal nature of current European integration on display. We urgently need a strong and clear response from the left. We need alternatives and strategy that can prevent a repetition. This has become even more urgent after the Brexit vote in June.

While such alternatives will necessarily be comprehensive, one debate requires special attention at the moment: The Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and the euro. Many laws adopted over the past years – and those in the pipeline – are linked to the EMU and the euro, and they point towards a regime for member states economic policies that would make austerity and attacks on social rights, including labour rights mandatory.

This will affect all of us in the European Union, South and North, and whether in the Eurozone or not. There is a close link between the Troika in Greece and elsewhere, and the attacks on labour laws in France, Belgium and Italy.

If the move towards imposition of right wing economic policies is to be stopped and turned around, political parties and social movements will have to work closely together in a targeted manner. But there are obstacles we need to overcome, and disagreements we need to deal with in a constructive manner.

A meeting and a forum in Copenhagen on 19-20 November was agreed at the first Plan B meeting in Paris. In Copenhagen we will explore our options, share positions, and discuss what steps needs to be taken. The main questions will be:
  • Is it possible to reform the Economic and Monetary Union from inside the current EU framework, or is a rupture with the current framework necessary?
  • What could be the alternatives to the eurosystem?
  • Brexit changes the EU. How will the left influence the new Europe that is emerging?
  • What strategic issues can the left in Europe gather around in the coming years?
The European Left realizes the need of a program, which will directly challenge the EMU and the EU and the European Research Network on Social and Economic Policy is at the forefront of this effort. EReNSEP has already processed positions for Europe in general, and proposals for Greece in particular. A first presentation will take place in Copenhagen and others will follow. The battle for the future of Europe has just begun.

More information and live stream from the conference here.