Plenary Focus - December 2015
EU Council preparations
Cameron ́s demands prior to the UK vote on a ‘Brexit’ are on the agenda for the next EU Council meeting. We oppose his speci c requests which aim at transforming the EU into a sole free-trade area without minimum standards for workers and employees, and without open borders and free move- ment for EU citizens. We support that citizens should have the right to decide freely about their future within or outside the EU. But EU leaders must not accept Cameron’s plan to discriminate against EU citizens, which contradicts the main principles of the EU treaties. Social rights have to be defended on a national and European level. But Cameron is undermining trade union rights with his trade union law while pushing for a capital market union which bene ts “The City” in London. The last thing we need is less regulation for banks which could lead to yet another nancial crisis to be paid by citizens.
We oppose the strategy on Energy Union since it includes many negative references. It limits the sovereignty of states, fails to combat energy poverty, enhances inequalities, promotes nuclear energy and calls on the Commission to include a separate energy chapter in the TTIP. We choose a different path for real growth, in which energy is a public social good and everyone has equal access to it, where there is enhanced state control, public infrastructures for the bene t of the people and international partnerships based on solidarity.
Joao Pimenta Lopes
Citizens of EU member states have the right to choose where they want to live, work or study. Never- theless, Labour Mobility, as advocated - and largely nanced - by the EU institutions, isn’t the solution for unemployment and inequality; it represents the centralisation of skilled workers, the divestment in peripheral regions - the opposite of social and territorial cohesion. Mobility should be an option; the EU is turning it into blackmail.
Corporate tax policies
It is imperative that tax fairness and transparency is placed at the centre of any taxation legislation and this extends to ensuring that a more equitable corporate tax system is implemented. However, all matters relating to the setting of tax rates must remain a matter of national competency and the European Parliament has no right to attempt to attack sovereignty by introducing provisions which fundamentally undermine taxation sovereignty.
Speaking from COP21 in Paris on 09/12, and with only 2,5 days of negotiations left, much is still unclear. The French presidency so far has met all the internal deadlines, but keeps putting off the real obstacles. In the meantime, the push to lower the aim from maximum 2 degrees to 1.5 degrees is winning support. There are still long days ahead and we are still pushing the Commission for a sustainable outcome.
Border and Coastguard Package
The development of a European Border and Coast Guard System is just another measure to keep refugees from reaching EU borders. What we should invest in is a European search and rescue action. I am afraid a European Coast Guard System will only result in more power to the smugglers and even more dangerous situations for refugees, and especially female refugees.
Completing Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union
Completing the economic and monetary union, at this point and for the European institutions, means strengthening the mechanisms of interference in the sovereignty of national states in order to impose the neoliberal dogma. It starts from the wrong assumptions. It says, for example, that countries are failing to apply the recommendations made under the European Semester, but does not question the validity of these recommendations. It talks about increasing the transparency of the process with greater involvement of national parliaments and the European Parliament. But at the same time it proposes the constitution of independent bodies of experts that will oversee national policies without any democratic scrutiny. It is therefore another battle front to which we must give all our energy!