Eight key proposals for another Europe

Linked on our blogs with Eric Toussaint – Belgium, and with Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt CADTM. – Published on Voltairenet.org, by Eric Toussaint, April 17, 2011.

… A radical reduction of public debt is necessary but not sufficient in order to get EU countries out of the crisis. It has to be complemented with significant measures in various areas:

  • 1. Auditing public debt to cancel the illegitimate part: A significant part of the public debt in EU countries is illegitimate since it results from a deliberate policy by governments that have decided to systematically favor the moneyed classes to the detriment of other members of society … //  
  • 2. Stop austerity plans, they are unfair and are only making the crisis worse: Governments of European countries have chosen to comply with IMF demands and impose strict austerity policies on their populations, with slashed public spending, including massive layoffs of civil servants and frozen or even reduced salaries for them, reduced access to some vital public services and to social protection, later retirement age … //
  • 3. Establish real European fiscal justice and a fair redistribution of wealth: Ban transactions with legal and tax havens. Fight against the massive fiscal fraud being committed by the largest and most prosperous corporations … //
  • 4. Rein in the financial markets by creating a register of securities holders, and forbidding short sales and speculation in various domains. Create a public European rating agency: Worldwide speculation represents several times the amount of wealth produced on the planet. The highly complex nature of this financial engineering makes it totally uncontrollable. The mechanisms it puts into play undermine the real economy. Opaque financial transactions are the rule. To be taxed at the source, the creditors must be first identified … //
  • 5. Transfer the banks to the public sector with citizen control: After decades of financial excesses and privatizations, it is high time to transfer the banking sector to the public domain. Governments must recover their capacity to control and frame economic and financial activity. They must also have the instruments needed to make investments and finance public spending by minimizing the need to borrow from private and/or foreign institutions. Banks must be expropriated with no compensation for their owners, and transferred to the public sector where they would be placed under citizen control … //
  • 6. Re-nationalize the numerous companies and services privatized since 1980: During past thirty years many public corporations and public services have been privatized. From banks to the heavy industry sector as well as the postal service and telecommunications, energy, and transport, governments worldwide have handed over entire blocks of the economy to the private sector, losing in the bargain any capacity to regulate the economy. These public goods, which are the fruit of collective work, must be returned to the public domain. … //
  • 7. Drastically reduce the amount of time people work to create jobs and increase wages and pensions: Redistributing wealth in a different way is the best response to the crisis. The share of the wealth produced going to employees has significantly decreased for decades, while the creditors and businesses have increased their profits and as a consequence engaged in more financial speculation. Increasing wages, not only increases people’s well-being, it also makes more means available for social protection and pensions … //
  • 8. For a new, democratic European Union based on solidarity: Several provisions in the treaties of the European Union, the Euro Zone, and the ECB must be abrogated, such as articles 63 and 125 of the Treaty of Lisbon prohibiting all control of movements of capital and all aid to a State in difficulty. The Stability and Growth Pact must also be abandoned. Furthermore, the present treaties must be replaced by new ones in the framework of a real democratic constitutive process to come up with a people’s solidarity pact for jobs and the environment. Monetary policy must be completely revised as must the status and practices of the Central European Bank. The inability of the political authorities to oblige the ECB to mint money is a severe handicap. By placing the ECB above the governments and thus the people, the European Union made the disastrous choice of placing human interests below financial interests instead of the contrary … //

… The CADTM maintains that this new democratized Europe must strive to establish non negotiable principles. It must uphold and improve social and fiscal justice, make choices that will raise the standard of living of its inhabitants, engage in arms reduction and a radical decrease in military spending (including withdrawing European troops from Afghanistan and leaving NATO), choose sustainable energies so as to avoid nuclear power, and refuse genetically modified organisms (GMO). Furthermore, Europe must resolutely put an end to its “besieged fortress” policy regarding candidates for immigration, so that it can become a partner trusted for its fairness and true solidarity towards the peoples of the South. (read full long text and NOTES 1 – 7).

[Eric Toussaint - Doctor in Political Science (University of Liege and University of Paris VIII), president of CADTM-Belgium (Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt), member of the Scientific Council of ATTAC France and of the International Council of the World Social Forum (Porto Alegre), member of the CAIC Commission for the Integral Audit of the Public Debt (Ecuador), author with Damien Millet of Debt, the IMF, and the World Bank: Sixty Questions, Sixty Answers, Monthly Review Press, New York, 2010. Author of A diagnosis of emerging global crisis and alternatives (2009), 139p.; The World Bank: A Critical Primer (2008); The World Bank: a never-ending coup d’Etat. The hidden agenda of the Washington Consensus (2007), Your Money [or] Your Life – The Tyranny of Global Finance (2005), co-author of Tsunami Aid or Debt Cancellation (2005), The Debt Scam – IMF, World Bank and the Third World Debt (2003), Who owes Who? 50 questions about World Debt (2004) – find hyper-links in the original text].

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