Report from the Euromarches coordination

28/29 September 2002Amsterdam

48 participants, from Germany, Austria, Belgium, France, Holland, Italy, Luxembourg. Kalle Kunas, from the ENU-TVY, Finland, and F. Gobbe, P. Guindja from KAIROS also participated. Excused: Spain, Greece, Sweden, and Switzerland.

1 - report and perspectives for the Euromarches network

After the unemployed mobilisations at the beginning of the nineties, (with, for instance, the 1994 marches in France), the Euromarches network was born in 1996 (Florence call), aiming at organising marches throughout Europe in order to converge in Amsterdam for the 1997 CIG summit .
This initiative was a real success, and, during the Luxembourg summit in the same year, the decision was taken to establish this network. The different activities were an Assembly of debates, the elaboration of a Charter of demands (Brussels 1998, Chaldiki University), the presence during the various EU summits, mobilisations with other forces during these summits (Cardiff, Vienna, Köln, Lisbon, Biarritz, Nice, Gothenburg, Brussels, Barcelona, Seville), the organisation of European coordinations as well as the one of regular European Assemblies of the Unemployed and Insecure Workers in the Struggle (Köln, Paris-Créteil, Brussels.)

The activity has been intense, despite very few material means, and has enabled to stabilise an activists network thinking and acting on the European scale, supported by organisations of the unemployed, the insecure workers and the excluded, by trade-unions, in most of the EU countries.

1997-1998 have been the most significant years, as there were important unemployed movements, specially in France and Germany, as well as insecure workers' struggles in Italy and Spain.

The continuous mass and long-term unemployment, the return of the right and extreme right wing governments into power, the unipolar American international environment have made our struggles more difficult.
The organisations of the unemployed and the insecure workers have themselves been in difficulty. The European plans of activation and precarisation have been slowly but surely implemented throughout Europe (PARE in France, minimex law in Belgium, Aznar plan in Spain, Hartz plan in Germany, Berlusconi and the article n°18 in Italy etc.)
Moreover, the antiglobalisation movements were starting off (struggles against the MAI, the WTO, Seattle etc.): the questions were then more focussed on society problems, rather than on Social questions. This was a positive move, but there was a risk of leaving the unemployed, insecure workers, specially the youth, the « without » aside.

Therefore we feel the need within our network to redefine our tasks and the different axes of our specific struggles whilst continuing to join more global and alterglobal struggles as we did in Genoa, whilst taking part in the current process of Social forums, so that we can reach the necessary strength to weight on the EU decisions concerning the unemployed, the insecure workers, the socially excluded, at a time when the EU is about to enlarge and adopt a Constitution without any recognised Social rights.

It is still not possible to create a real « European Secretariat ». The French secretariat will assume this role. An European « working group » will be constituted to organise the exchange of information within our network with a discussion list ad hoc.

Different people spoke on this subject; the interventions were rich, and we invite them to write and send us their analyses and their comments.


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2 - Calls

Within the frame of the preparation of Florence, different calls have asked for the signature of the Euromarches.

The Euromarches have signed, unanimously, as an European network:

  • the call against the war, initiated in Brussels during the ESF preparatory meeting
  • the call for regularisation of all sans-papiers in Europe (initiated by the GISTI)

Moreover, we will forward on the Euromarches-coordination list the « Europetition for a European citizenship of residence ».
We will answer positively as well the invitation of « Kensington Welfare Rights Union » for a « New Freedom Bus Tour: Economic Human rights for All » from the USA.

3 - European Income Day : 30 October 2002, 12pm !

During the Brussels Assembly in 2001, we decided to initiate on 30 October, every year, a day so that everyone, with or without a job, young or retired, has a minimum, which enables him/her to live. This date has been chosen because our German friends have organised much protest on this day, which is the « Global Day on saving » for banks etc.

This is therefore extremely important that a coordinated action day is organised in the main European towns.
It is extremely important to initiate it, despite our weakness, as next year will be held at this date the ESF in Paris-Saint-Denis, which may give to this initiative another dimension.
We suggest that this event takes the form of « casserolados », in an Argentine way, at 12 p.m. - a recording of « casserolados » is available -
This action may be completed by meetings, demonstrations, occupations etc.

Our Belgium friends intend to intervene in front of the European parliament, either during the EU summit which will be held in Brussels at the end of October (25-27 October 2002), either during the public session of the Convention about the Charter (28-29 October 2002.

It is extremely important as well, that behind the « sound », the image of our actions will be diffused as widely as possible. Please let us know about your projects: this could give ideas to the others...

A press release will be sent We will use the material that has been produced to explain and promote our European demand for an income of 50%of the GDP/head (with the table showing the figures of this minimum, in euros, in every EU country.)

A poster has also been produced.

Moreover, the global day against poverty will be held on the 17 October.

Poster (pdf)

4 - Convention

The constitution, with the European Charter of the Fundamental Rights as preamble, is under construction.
The Social rights are excluded from it.
Those who wish to improve it forget that this could only occur in ten years time.

We aim to state this problem during the ESF. It will be too late afterwards. Everything will be indeed decided during the Thessalonika summit in June 2003. The CIG of the Italian Presidency will confirm this agenda before the elections' process (2004.)

Our friends present in Barcelona (Frank, Leo and Patrice, for the preparation of the ESF) will propose a common Declaration concerning the Social rights which cannot not be part of the Constitution, and which neo-liberal policies try to put « under condition ». We will take contact in Florence with all the other networks concerned by this question (CCDF, Consulta etc.)

This is a very in-depth question, which will constitute for us a permanent axe of act in the frame of the other Europe we want for another world. The contributions of Marie-Paule Connan will be largely diffused in this perspective.

We also want to send a text, which expresses our positions -especially on this second-hand Charter-, to the Convention website, open and extremely visited.

5 - ESF

The ESF will be held in a month now.
We've appreciated the open functioning of the preparatory meetings. Despite the fact that we had to speak loud to be visible, the Social questions will be a major component of the works.

We are entirely and actively part of the « without » Conference. For the unemployed, Christiane Maigre from Belgium and Erika Biehn from Germany will be speaking, with JB Eyraut from the DAL (Droit Au Logement.)

Our Assembly of the Unemployed and the Insecure Workers in the Struggle is part of the « campaign » seminars.
We co-organise a seminar on the income, one on insecure work. We also take part of the seminars organised by the CCDF on the Charter and the Social rights (3-21) and democracy and European Institutions.

A meeting will take place in Brussels on Thursday 17 October, from 12 to 5 p.m. (we will confirm the place, which will be very probably 29 rue Pantin, 1070 Brussels -near the Gare du Midi-.)

ESF: urgent!

The registration will be closed on 15 October and lodging is already quite difficult.
Transport, registration, lodging must be dealt individually or by group and by country. The website details the procedures. We wish that our Euromarches friends register as soon as possible.
Please send us a copy of your registration (
We will try to get lodgings nearby -which might be difficult now!)
We also try to find a place in Florence where we can meet to organise our seminars and to discuss future dates after Florence.

6 - A next date: Copenhagen, mid-December.

The final summit of the EU Danish Presidency will be held in Copenhagen on 13 and 14 December. Gitti ( will coordinate those from the Euromarches who will take part in the Danish initiatives, specially the organisations from northern Europe.

7 - Newspaper in french

The number 23 will be produced for the 30/10.
We want to integrate the articles from the different countries (from 1500 to 2000 signs). Please send them before the 15 October. This newspaper will be distributed in Florence.

This report is not complete. All contributions are welcome.
Thank you to our Dutch friends who made us feel welcome and to Chrystelle and Manfred for the translations.

For the Euromarches Secretariat, Michel Rousseau.

Translation: Chrystelle

french original







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