State of the Union
Its time to stop talking and start listening
12 September 2010, New Europe
By Lothar Bisky*
We've been listening for years to the same old neoliberal rhetoric and failed policymaking from Barroso so our group was not expecting a visionary honest analysis of the State of the Union last Tuesday. But the analysis is there if the Commission chooses to listen to it: its being screamed from the streets by millions of protestors week after week across the continent. The union is today in a sorry state and we know who is responsible.
Citizens trust in the EU is so low that the lack of action from Brussels to restore confidence is beyond worrying. Barrosos speech only confirms that the level of protest and social unrest that have characterised the last few months will not just continue but intensify.
Its hardly surprising that people are taking to the streets in such numbers. All we are seeing are cuts in social services education and training more pressure on wages insecure pensions and increased job precariousness. That is the current state of the union.
The deepening of social divisions as the poor are forced to compensate financial institutions and the socially deprived and excluded find themselves scapegoated by a right-wing in search of distractions reached its nadir most recently in France. Quite apart from a deficit of vision and honest analysis Barroso neglected to address a dangerous and incessant abuse of the fundamental values of the union: the treatment of the Roma minority in Europe. He failed to condemn the French government for its criminal and discriminatory expulsions of Roma and thus bowed to the nefarious racism that has sought to exploit fear for political gain.
We need a Commission that defends human rights. We need effective financial market reform and an end to the damage caused by hedge funds and predatory speculation. We need a financial transaction tax.
Ultimately we need to stop punishing those very people on whose backs the bank rescue packages were built. This is why the GUE/NGL group supports the September 29th European day of Mobilisation organised by the European Trade Union Congress.
There is another fairer way and that is an economy at the service of European people. This is the only way out of this crisis and on the 29th Barosso would do well to stop talking and start listening to the real State of the Union as told by the people on the streets.
* Lothar Bisky is the President of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left...