EU socialists: European leaders must take action – not backslap in Rome
EUROPEAN STATE LEADERS meeting in Rome today [Saturday 25 March] to mark 60 years since a founding treaty of the EU project should focus on action for economic and social justice rather than continue on the same course, according to the leader of the United European Left.
European United Left – Nordic Green Left President Gabi Zimmer said that the important anniversary was not “the time to celebrate nor to continue with the status quo which has blighted the lives of millions of citizens across Europe”.
While thousands are expected to take to the streets across European in celebration of ’70 years of peace, and 60 years of unity’, millions of disenfranchised Europeans have turned to populist parties in recent years in anger at the direction of the political establishment.
“After years of austerity, and with so many EU citizens still suffering poverty, unemployment, or working in insecure jobs, time is not on our side.” Gabi Zimmer
Ahead of the signing of a ‘Rome Declaration’ by state leaders, Zimmer said: “These celebrations are taking place at a time when the future of the EU is still at risk and EU leaders are not showing the will to make the changes that are urgently-required.
“I doubt that the Rome declaration will serve as a wake-up call to EU leaders at this difficult juncture of our union. Instead of taking people’s concerns and hopes for social justice seriously, better financial regulation and tax justice, they continue to focus on security concerns, military cooperation and neoliberal competitiveness.
“EU leaders should build a truly democratic union where citizens have a say in how we want to live together, how we want to cooperate and how we want to develop. It should be the people who decide upon that – not member state governments. Otherwise, if we ignore their concerns and continue business as usual, our citizens will lose faith and give up their trust in the union – just look at Brexit.”
Most recently, the social challenge of the EU has split between the so-called economic engine of the EU in Germany and the Eurozone crisis in the ‘periphery’ of Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Spain – where there has been a backlash against the direction of EU monetary and fiscal policy. The policies – at both a national and EU level – have been blamed for level of high youth unemployment.
“Our leaders should finally begin fighting for another European Union – a genuine social union – because without this, the EU has no future,” Zimmer added.
“I ask the presidents of the EU institutions to declare that, as a first step, the EU must sign up to the revised European Social Charter. EU citizens need enforceable social rights which come before purely economic freedoms. After years of austerity, and with so many EU citizens still suffering poverty, unemployment, or working in insecure jobs, time is not on our side. Our citizens are fed up and disenfranchised with their leaders who don’t seem to be providing the necessary answers or support for them.”
Picture courtesy of GUE/NGL
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