Watchman Newsletter

Parliament told 2011 will be a �watershed� in EU history

The Parliament (Link) - Martin Banks (March 31, 2011)

A hearing in parliament has called for �popular participation� in the economic reforms being proposed by the EU, including a possible financial tax.

The conference on Thursday heard that the sweeping shake-up of Europe�s �economic governance� constitutes a �silent revolution imposed from above.�

But one of the keynote speakers, Kenneth Haar, said that many of the fiscal reforms and cuts to national budgets being proposed in response to the global economic downturn are �hard, if not impossible, to track.� 

Haar, of Corporate Europe Observatory, said, �Despite the issues at stake, this �silent revolution� has so far received too little attention from a wider audience.�

The hearing, �Crisis and EU governance,� was organised by the left-wing GUE/NGL group in parliament.

It featured John Monks, secretary general of the European Trade Union Confederation, several MEPs and former German finance minister Oskar Lafontaine.

Speaking in a session on an analysis of EU economic policies, Haar said, �2011 may mark a watershed in the history of the EU. Using the pretext of the �euro crisis,� the commission and member states have put forward plans to give the EU new powers to deal with core welfare issues, including social benefits and wages.

�Under a new technocratic procedure, however, these proposals are hard to track, let alone be influenced by those who stand to lose out.�

He added, �The proposals embody a corporate social and economic agenda which, if enacted, will constitute a �silent revolution� imposed from above, with no real democratic debate or popular participation.�

He said there was an �urgent need� for a �democratic debate� throughout the EU, in particular on alternatives to the �austere model� of economic governance that is being pushed through by the commission and member states.

�This will require a broad-based social struggle to make the realities a reality,� he warned.

His call was echoed by another speaker, Henry Sterdyniack, of the French-based Economistes Atterres Network.

He said, �Europe has been built for 30 years on a technocratic basis which has excluded populations from economic policy debates.

�This doctrine, which rests on the now indefensible assumption of the efficiency of financial markets, should now be abandoned.�

He put forward a position paper which recommends the introduction of either a carbon tax or �tax on profits� which he says will help facilitate equal access to public and social services in each member state. �

Economic Crisis ~ Europe ~ New World Order