domenica 24 gennaio 2016

We need both a plan A and a plan B for Europe

da stefanofassina

Since we met last time, on September 12 last year, many things changed. Unfortunately, changes were not always for the better. We cancelled our meeting last year on November 13-14 because inhuman terrorist attacks killed innocent people here. After the Charlie Hebdo massacre another cruel and even larger massacre. Our deep condolences to the families of the victims.
We need to update our analysis. The economy matters. But, as we have seen in the election in Greece, people's choices are based on many issues. Now, fear is the one dominating them.
The effects of the war in the meddle east met and are meeting our life. Now, they are not only images on the media and social network. The death of innocent people happens not only on the European shores, but on our street. Immigration of war refugees and asylum seekers, in addition to immigration of people escaping poverty and desperation, became a priority on the policy agenda of all government.
The answer of the European government is embarrassing. In some cases, it brings up to our minds the ghosts of the worst European past, not closed once for all, as we thought. In these weeks, the Eu governments are discussing on revising and removing the Shenghen Agreement for free circulation of Eu citizens and alien with an Eu member visa. If governments backtrack on Schengen is a consequential mistake.
In this context, I was impressed by how quickly was reached the agreement for conceding fiscal space above the limits of the fiscal compact for military and defence expenditure. For social security no, never. For military security immediately. Despite, it is clear that the terrorists are entrenched in Eu cities and grow in challenging neighbours among disenfranchised young man and women. It was right to take fiscal space for police and military spending. It is wrong to resist for social security.
The migration crisis piles on the economic crisis. On the economic ground, there is nothing to add to the analysis we share: in a nutshell, the euro is unsustainable because is based on labour devaluation. Five months passed from the beginning of September last year, when we launched the Plan B Manifesto. The facts during the last five months confirmed our assessment. Just a couple of examples: despite the QE from the Ecb, inflation is still well below two percent; the banking sector is still in dangerous conditions and an effective banking union is still missing. Labour conditions improved only marginally as a consequence of our currency devaluation: a very difficult route, at risk of currency wars as monetary policy of the Bank of China indicates.
On politics, there are very contradictory but interesting developments. Let's look at national elections. In Poland there was the triumph of the extreme right. But elections in Portugal and Spain delivered a clear defeat of the conservatives and strong performance of left. I congratulate again with our comrades of Podemos and our comrades of Portugal. The socialist parties keep declining. But here is the good news that we should consider: some sections of the socialist family are awakening after three decades of neo-liberal sleep. When we met in September in Paris, Jeremy Corbin was nominated leader of the U.K. Labour Party, after a crushing victory in the country of the neo-liberal "Third way". Later in Portugal and Spain, the socialist parties inverted the familiar route toward the "grand coalition" with then conservative parties and decided for an alliance with the left, based on an alternative agenda to the Berlin, Frankfurt and Brusses Consensus.
We should be aware of the movements on the political ground.
Eu is at a crossroad: on the right, the xenophobic nationalist regression is going on; on the left, a pro-labour progression could be open. The right wing forces are surfing fear and insecurity of people suffering social and economic stress lacking any hope of a credible improvement of their conditions, despite the mainstream media propaganda.
What we do on the left? We have to produce a cooperative, pro-labour progressive way for affirming the national interest of each country. We should resist pressure against the Schengen marginalisation and channel the dramatic search for security towards radical changes to the eurozone agenda.
A year ago, European institutions prepared "The five Presidents' Report". It's a road map to consolidate the current unsustainable and undemocratic framework. Now, that Report is on the fringe, stopped by even more conservative forces. We should not sit on our hands. We should launch a campaign for The People Report for a pro-labour Eurozone to face The five President Report.
We should launch an European citizens' initiative including the Plan A, i.e. the main corrections for a pro-labour eurozone and, as alternative route, a pro-labour Plan B envisaging the reconstruction of a European Monetary System, as proposed by Oskar Lafontaine, integrated with possible intervention on capital controls as illustrated yesterday by prof Brancaccio.
In the Plan A, we should include, for example, the revision of the Ecb Statute for a fully-fledged lender of last resort and the lowering of the ceiling on each country trade surplus to 3% of Gdp and introduce sanctions on violations as severe as the sanctions of the Fiscal Compact on fiscal deficits. In the Pan A, we should also include the stop to the Ttip. In this context, we want to double our efforts to stop the Ttip, in the European Parliament and in the national parliaments.
In our Plan B, control on capital circulation. On the right side, the control on circulation of people. On the left, control on circulation of capital, goods and services.
Finally, we need to strengthen our network and our discussion and initiatives. We are going to conclude this conference with a very important statement: a "Statement for a Standing Plan B Conference in Europe". We are committing ourself on an ambitious road map: Spain in February, later in the year, in summer, in Germany and, at the beginning of 2017, in Rome, in the year when the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaty is celebrated.
We have a lot of work to do. Together we can build the foundation for the left of the XXI century. I wish you a fruitful discussion. Thanks.


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