European Marches against Unemployment, Job Insecurity and Exclusions

European Demonstration, 29 May 1999




  • Cologne will become the capital of anger.

On 3 and 4 June 1999, a Summit of the European heads of State will take place in Cologne, followed on 19 June by the »G8« meeting ,bringing together the most economic, financial and political powers of the planet. In Cologne wlll gather representatives from a Europe and a world where unemployment and misery hit a large part of the population, while wealth continues to increase and to be concentrated, while the destruction of the environment goes on. We will not let the rulers talk in serenity, handle things far from the citizens, decide without and against us. With the movements of unemployed and insecure workers, with the associations fighting against unemployment, we call upon all those who are exasperated by unemployment, job insecurity, exclusion and racism to march together to Cologne and to take part in a very large street demonstration on 29 May 1999. Together we will make them hear our anger, together we will express our demand for a Europe and a world of social justice and liberty. ­ Struggles and demands get to a European level.

We call for a march towards Cologne with four major demands :

  • A guaranteed individual income so as to live in dignity, without any discrimination based on age, sex, origin or any other form of discrimination.
  • A massive creation of new, socially and ecologically useful jobs, correctly paid and not insecure;
  • An immediate and coordinated reduction in working time throughout Europe with corresponding job hiring, without loss of salary or purchasing power and without flexibilisation; equality of men and women regarding jobs and income.
  • Improvement in all social rights in Europe always based on the most just rights for all citizens.
  • For a Europe of openness and solidarity towards the people in the South and in the East, without racism, exclusion or expulsions, with equal and guaranteed rights for all residents whatever their origins. While demanding a right to work and a right to an income, we want to open a debate on the necessity to overcome an economic model that make us dependent on the market dynamics and competitiveness.

European Marches


  • To build an international social movement of resistance and demands.

In June 1997, we were 50 000 in the streets of Amsterdam with the »European Marches« denouncing a liberal, capitalist and anti-democratic construction of Europe. We have risen against the Maastricht convergence criteria. We fight the stability Pact that regulates the construction of the European Monetary Union under the dictatorship of the central bank, resulting in the deterioration of living standards and work conditions of the unemployed and wage earners. We oppose the Schengen agreements and all policies that throughout Europe hit and reject the populations orginating from immigration, especially the so-called »Sans papiers« (paper-less). We are also against the privatisations and the dismantling of the public sector. Since Amsterdam, the objectives set by EU governments have confirmed fears and disagreements. No government of the European Union including those on the left, has broken with neo-liberal policies. The so-called employment policies inspired by the Commission and the Council aim to develop job flexibility, »adaptability« »employability« in order to enforce poor working conditions and reduced incomes on wage earners, the unemployed and those in formation ­ for the maximum benefit of employers. Movements involved in the struggle against unemployment and job insecurity have sprung up throughout Europe. They have their own demands, proposals and projects. We want them to be listened to by governments. We also know that only a strong coordinated and international social movement associating the unemployed, those in insecure jobs and the wage earners can enforce deep social transformations and a massive redistribution of wealth. By marching towards Cologne, we are also preparing the struggles and the projects of a future society.

  • The »Cologne Campaign«

Together ­ in order to make one hear the voices of all those society believes it can exclude ­ we invite citizens, men and women from all countries to join the various stages of the »March to Cologne«. May 1999:
Marches converging on Cologne by all possible means (marches, train, etc).
Brussels-Cologne, 25-29 May: A big international March

Cologne, 29 May: A very large street demonstration.
A rally of many thousands people coming from all over Europe and beyond. (e.g. landless peasants from Brazil, etc.)
Cologne, 29 May-4 June:
The Counter-Summit and a »European Parliament of the unemployed and those in insecure jobs in struggle« Opening in the evening after the big demonstration, this »Counter-Parliament« will bring together hundreds of local delegates from movements, associations and trade unions from all countries. This will be an excellent occasion for solidarity and exchange These parliamentary sessions will be held throughout the European Summit. This Parliament will draft and adopt a » European Charter of Demands« and will demand to be received by the governments.

  • Towards a globalisation of struggles

The European Marches network will support initiatives set up to »greet« the »G8«, by calling for a massive and world-wide redistribution of wealth, like the Counter Summit and the 19 June demonstration in the streets of Cologne and all other international initiatives following the same approach, e.g. the World March of Women against poverty and violence against women. We wish that our struggles against unemployment meet other social movements of solidarity and struggle in Europe and in the world in order to extend and guarantee all rights, equality of men and women, freedom of movement and a life in peace with the Planet.

Cologne 24 January 1999

french original







European Marches