THE NEO-LIBERAL WIND OF EUROPE BLOWS OVER LISBONEvents in Lisbon are a threat to us.
When Tony Blair said that he wanted to hold a »European economic and social summit« at the beginning of the year, we immediately understood what he meant and what it implied for us. The Portuguese government, president of the European Union (EU), presented a »new economy« text, however this simply gave a new look to current EU policies on employment and included some good intentions for eliminating poverty that concerns nearly 65 million people in the EU.
The results are clear: behind the misleading words, the EU governments
were there to support neo-liberal policies as preached by the EU. Before
2003, member states must have eliminated not just poverty, but anything
that might prevent the growth of the market economy. Neo-liberals pushed
their »policies«. The fact that the French government dragged their feet
a bit on the
subject certainly did nothing to change the situation. The promise of a
»social agenda« programme for Nice, is ludicrous considering the
implications of these plans under preparation in Lisbon.
The employment question is a mere conjuring trick. We are promised 20 million new jobs between now and the year 2010. But we already know from experience that these are going to be compulsory short-term jobs. This is what they call »active policies«, but the activity in question means ending financial aides and benefits in order to force the unemployed to take any jobs, at any wage regardless of working employment conditions.
In the name of sacrosanct macroeconomics, unemployment statistics are going down, but poverty never stops growing on a continent that is the richest on the planet. Even those plans for social cohesion by our socially conscious Europeans to push back the rising tide of poverty ... of children from now to the year 2010 (and what about a date for their parents?), even those plans remain a pious hope ...
In Lisbon, hope was in the streets.When we see the outcome of this summit, for the most part made up of social-democratic governments voted into office to end unemployment and poverty, it is difficult to not to give way to anger and revolt. Never again can they tell us that »it's all the Commission's fault!« They are now totally responsible.
Inspite of all that, we were not discouraged. Because in Lisbon, hope was also in the streets. The CGPT initiative brought together more than 50,000 demonstrators from all over Portugal to march in front the summit building to stop lay offs and end job insecurity and create real jobs. A strong European Marches delegation of about 100 people (France, Italy, Germany and Belgium ..) joined the demonstration as well as other initiatives organised at the same time and also participated in international meetings with the CP, the Left Group and especially, the Alternative Summit of 24 March 2000.
From Porto to Nice, all together!At the ETUC meeting in Lisbon, the ETUC announced that they will call for demonstrations in Porto and Nice. NGOs also let it be known that they too will be present in Nice. The time is ripe. Without European-wide massive mobilisations, neo-liberals will continue to dictate their own rigid laws of the market economy, unemployment and misery.
After Seattle, we must not let them decide our future without us. From Porto to Nice, we must unite to organise on a massive scale, all together, for all our rights.