Left parliamentarians call for radical transformation of economies & society
Following their participation in the 2020 European Parliamentary Week, a group of left-wing MEPs and members of national parliaments have issued the following declaration that demands a new set of environmental, economic and social policies for radically transforming our society.
European Parliamentary Week 2020
At a time when climate change is posing an existential threat to the planet, and to the future of human civilisation itself, we need to radically transform our economies and societies. This historic task cannot be left to ‘market mechanisms’. Such a transformation requires a major, coordinated and sustained public investment effort.
The economic governance framework and the European and Monetary Union are the backbone of the EU’s neoliberal agenda in order to promote policies benefiting the economical elites and impoverishing the people of the EU. Privatisations, the destruction of the welfare state, huge levels of tax evasion and tax avoidance by the economic elites, and the abolition of social and workers’ rights have led to greater divergence amongst member states, regions as well as greater income inequalities – thus less territorial, social and economic cohesion. In addition, these policies have not been able to deal with the climate emergency that the world is facing nowadays.
The unwillingness of the EU economic and political elites to tackle efficiently and sustainably the social and environmental problems caused by their neoliberal, austerity policies has been repeatedly reaffirmed by allowing Member States to avoid policies of social change and social security.
We, the undersigned, who participated in the European Parliamentary Week 2020 (European Semester Conference and the Interparliamentary Conference on Stability, Economic Coordination and Governance in the European Union), on 18-19th February 2020, call for:
- A fair, sustainable and inclusive growth model that will effectively address the deteriorating climate crisis and respond to the increased economic, social, territorial, digital and demographic challenges;
- An ambitious pact for a Green and Social Europe – encompassing a new set of economic, social and environmental policies in favour of the people and workers – is crucial for initiating serious and concrete efforts to tackle climate change and socioeconomic inequalities in the EU. These would replace the current framework, structure and neoliberal priorities of the EU, enshrined in the EU Treaties as well as the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP), the Two and Six Pack and the Fiscal Compact;
- The immediate revision of the SGP rules in order to overcome its pro-cyclical bias (as stated by the European Fiscal Board) and promote transparency, as well as implementing a ‘golden rule’ that exempts public investment related to the fight against climate change, inequality and poverty from the deficit calculation.
- Public sustainable investments into the real economy, which will focus on the creation of decent and secure jobs with rights, increasing at the same time the standard of living and social protection of workers, ensuring that workers’ and people’s rights and standards are defended as we face the challenges posed by digitalisation and automation;
- The full implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, in particular by putting an end to the deregulation of the labour market, safeguarding existing jobs and creating new and high-quality ones, tackling unemployment, in-work poverty and job precariousness, eliminating gender discrimination and the gender and age pay gap, strengthening collective bargaining and collective agreements, and ensuring the right to strike and the right to participate in companies’ decision-making process in a democratic and fair context;
- The strong supervision of the expansion of Artificial Intelligence integration, Machine Learning protocols and Big Data management, and how this triptych might interact, affect and possibly devastate labour and employment relationships in the new era of technology; not through the prism of technophobia but from the point of view of maintaining the pursuit of a fair society for all.
- A common set of minimum social rights and standards through a revised European Social Charter, bolstering upwards social and economic convergence and cohesion between people and territories and combatting social dumping, while guaranteeing that member states have an inalienable right to apply better rights and higher standards;
- Active feminist and pro-child policies against the economic disparity and poverty created by the neoliberal austerity policies, strengthening the welfare state for the benefit of the people, through a social investment plan, an integrated anti-poverty strategy and a comprehensive social protection programme; a committed effort to fight against gender inequality and to close the gender pay gap in Europe.
- A rupture with neoliberal policies which have been damaging for the people of Europe and has contributed to the rise of far-right and xenophobic forces, which are threatening democracy, human rights and peace;
- An international summit under the United Nations’ framework with a view to defining a road map and a joint action plan to end tax havens, both in and outside the EU, tax evasion and avoidance, and also demanding real political commitment to tax the actual holders of wealth, and expressing regret in the EU’s insufficient response to tax scandals.
- A substantial increase of the EU budget, which will focus specifically on climate challenges, social development and upwards social convergence, reiterating also the importance of cohesion policies, addressing the specific needs of member states; a rejection of the cuts proposed by the Commission, the former Finnish Presidency and the President of The European Council, especially in cohesion and agriculture; however, we acknowledge that an increase of the EU budget itself does not constitute a change of the current neoliberal EU priorities;
- Greater democratic accountability, transparency and supervision of European policies and institutions by strengthening the role of the national parliaments and the European Parliament, as well as the stronger participation of the European citizens.
Members of National Parliaments:
Fabíola CARDOSO (Bloco de Esquerda, Portugal)
Miltiades CHATZIGIANNAKIS (SYRIZA, Greece)
Skevi KOUKOUMA (AKEL, Cyprus)
Roberto URIARTE (Unidas-Podemos, Spain)
Members of the European Parliament:
Konstantinos ARVANITIS (SYRIZA, Greece)
Manuel BOMPARD (France Insoumise, France)
Alexis GEORGOULIS (SYRIZA, Greece)
José GUSMÃO (Bloco de Esquerda, Portugal)
Petros KOKKALIS (SYRIZA, Greece)
Stelios KOULOGLOU (SYRIZA, Greece)
Younous OMARJEE (France Insoumise, France)
Dimitris PAPADIMOULIS (SYRIZA, Greece)
Eugenia RODRÍGUEZ PALOP (Podemos, Spain)
Martin SCHIRDEWAN (DIE LINKE, Germany)
Idoia VILLANUEVA RUIZ (Podemos, Spain)