60 years of the EU: its declarations have been dispelled
AKEL C.C. Press Office, 24th March 2017, Nicosia
On the 25th March 60 years will have passed since the signing of the Treaties of Rome, which laid the foundation of today’s European Union. The leaders of the EU’s 27 member-states are organizing a festive Summit Meeting in Rome to celebrate the achievements of the construction of the EU. However, this time the celebrations cannot hide its existential dead-ends which the EU is facing. Brexit, the growing social dissatisfaction with the EU, unbridgeable contradictions in the internal situation of the Union and the rise of nationalism and xenophobia are a sign of the times which reveal that the cohesion and future of the EU cannot now be taken for granted anymore.
Sixty years onwards, it is evident that the declarations and promises of the EU’s founders have not only not been confirmed, but are being refuted daily.
- Instead of “prosperity”, the peoples of Europe are counting the number of unemployed, homeless people and the poor in their millions, at the same time as billions are being channelled for the bailing out of the banks.
- Instead of “peace”, the European Union is being militarized continuously, turned into a twin brother of NATO, engaging in arms sales with the Middle East in armed conflict and declaring a “change in investments” directed towards the arms industry. The EU is carrying out military missions throughout the whole world, creating an EU military command and is involved in military aggressions and interventions. The EU’s hands are stained with the blood of Yugoslavia, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, whilst it has colluded for the resurgence of fascism in Ukraine.
- Instead of “solidarity”, the leaders of the EU are building walls and erecting electric barbed wire fences, launching patrols and operations in order to keep the refugees, who are drowning in the waters of the Mediterranean, outside of “Fortress Europe”.
- Instead of “democracy”, the democratic deficit in the functioning of the EU is constantly widening and the inequalities between its states and peripheries are being reproduced, while at the same time it is institutionalizing anti-communism and falsifying and distorting the history of the Second World War.
This stark reality didn’t emerge out of nowhere. It is the result of the very capitalist nature of the EU itself and the neo-liberal policies that are dominant for decades now.
The Right and European socialdemocracy were the forces which, together, led developments to their current situation. Indeed, they insist that the solutions will be found by implementing the same recipes and policies that have caused today’s situation. A characteristic example of their philosophy is the “White Paper on the future of the EU” which presents five scenarios for a “multiple-speed” EU. The common denominator in the five scenarios outlined is the deepening of the EU’s military unification. It is obvious that the leaders of the EU consider that what the peoples need is more wars and more armaments.
On the other hand, “Euroscepticism” which various nationalist and extreme-right wing forces are projecting in many member-states is equally dangerous and against the people’s interests, given that it is guided by the most reactionary sections of big capital and refers to some of the darkest times of Europe’s history.
In Cyprus, up until a few years ago, all the political forces – apart from AKEL – were reacting to even the slightest criticism exerted towards the EEC/EU. AKEL which exposed and continues to expose the realities regarding the EU was for decades being denounced as supposedly “Europhobic” and “outdated”, first and foremost by DISY Rally party which continues to be a willing apologist of all the EU’s anti-social policies.
However, AKEL even when it advocated – under certain preconditions and guided by the cause of the Cyprus problem – Cyprus’ accession to the EU, declared that this was the result of the dramatic change in the international conditions and not because of a change in the character of the EU itself. Consequently, during Cyprus’ accession negotiations, AKEL waged battles against the then DISY government in order to safeguard the most progressive and pro-people’s elements of Cypriot legislation.
From 2004 onwards, AKEL is the only Cypriot political party which opposed everything that developed the EU into its current form. Only AKEL, both in the House of Representatives, as well as in the European Parliament, voted against the European Constitution, Lisbon Reform Treaty, “Europe 2020” Strategy, New Economic Governance Framework, “Banking Union” and the Agreements to unify markets with the USA and Canada (TTIP and CETA). That is to say everything they have institutionalized and are continuously developing a suffocating framework to control the economies of the EU member-states by imposing the further flexibility of labour relations, privatizations, liberalizations, austerity for the working people and “incentives” for big business. Besides, it is the same philosophy that imposed in Cyprus, with the collaboration of the Anastasiades government, the catastrophic haircut on bank deposits and the Memorandum of 2013. In addition, AKEL is the only political party that strongly opposes the militarist and interventionist character of the EU’s foreign and defence policy, but also the “anti-terror” laws of repression and filing.
At the same time, AKEL doesn’t limit itself to exerting criticism and is always trying to present alternatives. Together with the struggles against today’s EU of unemployment, the monopolies and NATO, we project a different path and an alternative vision for our continent’s future. We utilize the podium of the European Parliament and the possibilities for waging common all-European actions by progressive forces and working people.
The Europe of the peoples, for which the forces of the Left are struggling for in our continent, will be built by the peoples and not by the ruling elites and the bankers; a Europe of the peoples means a democratic union of sovereign and equal states, social and environmental development to the benefit of the majority of the people; it means a foreign policy of peace and solidarity, cultural diversity, gender equality and respect of diverseness.
The future of Europe does not belong to the directorates of Brussels and the fiestas organized in Rome.
The future of Europe lies in the struggles of the peoples, working people and youth, who represent the continuation of the glorious revolutionary history of the European continent.
Intervention of Georgos Koukoumas, member of the C.C. of AKEL and the International Relations Department, at the Hearing “Palestine: What’s Next?” organized by GUE/NGL2015-07-1
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