Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Let's play for a better Europe!

We are joining the European Union in order to change it and have influence on the standards of living in the future common Europe.
Green Manifesto, 2003


When we were campaigning for a ‘yes’ vote in the referendum on Poland’s accession into the European Union, we underlined that we were wanted to join the EU in order to help enact change. . We stressed that EU membership was first of all an opportunity to ensure Poland's sustainable development in its social, ecological and economic aspects. That it would be a chance for us to ensure social justice and solidarity, better protection of women’s rights and equal opportunities for women and men and to respect cultural diversity and the rights of minorities.

In 2009, when the first symptoms of the financial and economic crisis struck Europe, we stated in our European Manifesto that the European Union needed a change. Today Europe is suffering from multiple crises at the institutional level which is closely linked with a democractic deficit in the EU and rooted in the uncertainty and fear felt by many people due to thethe lack of social, economic and ecological security. It leads to increasing nationalistic and xenophobic attitudes in the European countries and hostility towards strangers and migrants. Neoliberal policies implemented in the recent years have made the dream of building a Europe free from poverty a distant one. Instead of a social union, we only have a monetary union. Instead of a democratic union, we have a technocratic entity which becomes less and less understandable for ordinary citizens who are losing their faith in the sense of the European project.

The EU needs a change! The problems which have been arising in the European countries – such as 30% level of poverty in the countries struck by the crisis, 50% unemployment among young people and the dismantling of social security – will not be solved by a new financial architecture of the European Union as embodied in the fiscal compact. Monetary policy narrowly focused on controlling inflation and fiscal discipline makes it impossible to implement anti-cyclical policies that would give a chance to create new green jobs and make sustainable investments.

Despite the lofty ideals of European integration, the EU became a battlefield of national interests which we could observe at the last EU Brussels Summit when the future EU budget for 2014-2020 was negotiated. Poland is unfortunately a discreditable example. Despite the social interest and common good, the Polish government has been blocking ambitious EU climate policies which could counteract climate change caused by the irrational exploitation of human behavior. The Crisis related to climate change is a reverse of the economic crisis. If we do not transform our economies from high- into low-carbon economies so troubles will only increase.

The proposed solution are policies combining economic security with social and ecological security, alongside a democratization of the European Union.

We do believe that a different Europe is possible – open and strong, founded on social and ecological solidarity. We do believe that sustainable development of Europe without crises from which everyone can benefit is possible. It must be based on the shift from the philosophy of growth based on the rapacious exploitation of natural and human resources to a philosophy of sustainable development. This aim can be achieved due to the ecological transformation of the economy.

We want Europe for ants and not for anteaters which is rooted in a vision of the following ten rules:

  1. The foundation of sustainable development is based upon four freedoms stated in the Atlantic Charter: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, freedom from fear and freedom from want. A united Europe must embody these freedoms and guard them.

  2. Deeper integration can be achieved not by writing a new treaty, but by rebuilding citizenship in all its aspects: reclaiming civic, political and social citizenship. European institutions may not be less democratic than the institutions created in the nation states during the 20h century. Social citizenship needs to be defined at the European level – all Europeans shall exercise the same social rights.

  3. We shall be united not only by the memory of World War II, but we shall also be aware of challenges related to the climate crisis. Climate federalism means energetic solidarity, joint investments in the ecological transformation of the economy, independence from economic growth. The countries which are dependent mostly on carbon and may have difficulties shifting rapidly to a low-carbon economy shall be especially supported.

  4. Europe needs a more solid budget based on truly European taxes. The EU budget shall need to constitute 10-20% of EU GDP if we want to ensure EU stability and an adequate level of redistribution between different regions. It shall be spent on: a) ensuring all Europeans a minimum of social rights, b) research, especially searching for new medicines and developing renewable technologies, c) just transition towards low-carbon economy.

  5. United Europe needs a fundamental reform of the financial sector. The financial sector must serve the real economy, and not vice versa; and the economy must serve human needs, and not vice versa. In the countries suffering from growing public debt an audit shall be conducted by the citizens or public debt shall be cancelled. The European Central Bank shall be reformed: members of trade unions and environmental experts shall be a part of the council deciding on monetary policy. Keeping low inflation at any price cannot be the only goal of the European Central Bank. It shall take care of “economic justice, full employment and social security for all European citizens” (“10 ATTAC’s Rules for Democratic and Social Constitution”).

  6. Europe can be a continent of many currencies. There is a place not only for euro but also for local, regional and national currencies. We must free our imagination! Democracy, diversity and subsidiarity shall be taken into consideration while designing monetary system. Diversity makes the system more resilient. Subsidiarity favors democracy. Functions which are designed for a local currency cannot be imposed on a national currency and functions which are designed for a national currency cannot be imposed on the euro. A policy which helps to create currencies by local communities at the grassroot level shall be implemented. EU member states shall have a choice about whether they would like to keep their own national currency (or to bring it back) or adopt the euro as their basic currency. Separate nstitutions for the eurozone shall not be build except for those which are necessary from a purely technical point of view.

  7. A common economic zone in Europe shall favor localization of production and exchange. Europe shall not favor either social or ecological dumping or cthe ommodification of public services, but it shall create instruments which help to improve living standards.

  8. Freedom of speech means also open access to culture, open sources, wide and non-restricted access to Internet and patent laws which favor the common good and not the interests of big corporations.

  9. Europe shall support food sovereignty in the respective countries, regions and local communities. Instead of extensive agriculture we shall support smaller and more ecological farms. Europe shall be a continent free from GMO. The Common Agricultural Policy shall be reformed according to the proposal made by the European Movement for Food Sovereignty Nyéléni.

  10. Europe cannot close itself to migrants especially those who leave their countries in order to avoid persecutions. In accordance with the principles stated forth in the Atlantic Charter, Europe shall support fair trade instead of “free trade” in international negotiations.
Manifesto adopted at the 7th Congress of the Green Party, co-sponsored by Agnieszka Grzybek and Adam Ostolski.

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