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Entwurf eines politischen Dokumentes von El-fem zur EL

Draft political document, EL Congress (Version April 18th, 2016)

Rebuilding Europe, creating new progressive convergences

 

After the 4th EL Congress held in Madrid in December 2013, and particularly since the start of 2015, crises and cleavages have worsened throughout the whole of Europe, leading to a European Union that is now facing an existential crisis. The economic and social problems have become worse. This period has been associated with growing authoritarianism of austerity policies and, in the last period, elements of dislocation. The leading political forces, whether Social Democrats or Christian Democrats, have been confronted with a deadlock of the liberal capitalist model in which they themselves placed the EU, and with significant divisions within their political families. The future of Europe is immersed in a growing uncertainty. Equally, the international balance of power has direct consequences on the EU and the way in which it stands in the world.

The whole European construction is breaking down and may collapse. The European question is once again posed in its entirety, as well as its foundations. The values claimed to be the foundation of the European Union have been in fact reduced to nothing. The difference in which countries like Greece and those that can boast to be at the level of regional power, such as the United Kingdom are handled shows the violence of the balance of power, among other institutions, within the European Union itself. The negotiations on Brexit protect a bit more the practice of social dumping within the European Union. The scathing failure and refusal of the EU to handle the migrant issue and applying the principles of international law crystallize the failure of the current model and strengthen the heavy dislocation trends in the EU. The deadlock and the failure of the ECB’s policy, which is still injecting 1.5 trillion euros at a loss from now to March 2017, for the sole profit of the banks and major enterprises, shows its structural incapacity to envisage another economic model. We have been for years now opposing the tenets of the treaties because these refuse the progressive changes we propose. But today the truth is that everything is now on the table and all the discussions have been reopened.

Today, the forces of the status quo have been surpassed and the forces of reaction are on the offensive throughout Europe. The right and extreme right wing currents are offering backward and xenophobic solutions. The political crisis is widespread. The continent is on the threshold of being tilted, which could lead people to shut themselves off, with all the risks of tensions and dislocation this will bring, and war is at the very gates of the European Union, in Ukraine and on the banks of the Mediterranean.

In this context, the EL should now, more than ever, be on the offensive. For a solidary, feminist, democratic and cooperative Europe. The EL proposes to the whole European left wing, the social and citizen forces available, to open up large spaces for discussion, large battle fronts to make up the majorities that are capable of turning the balance of power back in favour of the people. The outcome of the political and economic convulsions is not written down. We envisage the worst with the permanent rise of extreme right wing and right wing extremist forces throughout the whole of Europe. We also envisage the rise of the left wing forces that are seeking to open up progressive issues, admittedly in a still very unfavourable balance of power, such as in Greece, Portugal, Spain or Ireland… The responsibilities of the European Left are greater than ever in this clash of highly contradictory trends. The European people urgently need to get out of the deadly dilemma that the leaders are trying to lock them in: either accept the endless austerity and the anti-social competition or authoritarian submission or expulsion from the Euro area or even the EU itself; or the free trade without barriers of the capitalist globalization or inward looking attitudes. We refuse everything which will worsen the crisis even further; with an even greater outburst of the use of competitive procedures and speculation against the people, which could lead to a major civilizational regression in the whole of Europe. We call for a Europe of solidarity and shared social progress.

Our goal is to open up another possibility, another path. This new spirit should lead to a path of deep changes in Europe to rebuild Europe. This underlines the urgency in shifting the balance of power, not just in each of our countries, a fortiori, but progressively at the scale of the whole of Europe.

 

I- The historical crisis of the European construction: the elements of rupture

 

1/ The elements of tilting in the international context

 

The incapacity of the leaders to offer long-lasting solutions to the systemic capitalist crisis of 2008 is a structural element of the European crisis. The management of the crisis that broke out in 2008 was done seeking to rebuild the neo-liberal model of before the crisis, ensuring the privileges granted to the “1%” and the freedom for banks and major enterprises to act as they saw fit. The crisis lowered production, led to unemployment and the explosive inequalities were felt in each country and between countries. The spectre of a centuries-old stagnation paved its way. Worse still, the conditions of a financial over-accumulation were reproduced for a new larger financial crash in the coming years.

The multifaceted European crisis, which stretches all the way to Russia, is registered in the new global imbalances and it worsens them: the development of the American and Chinese economies is increasingly divergent and the whole global economy is destabilised. The “emerging” countries have also been shook: drop in raw material prices, erratic exchange rates, temptation to export everything. The accumulation of both public and private debt further destabilised the economy. These more than doubled from 2004 to 2015. While industrial production decreased 3% in 2015, the ECB’s policy is incapable of reviving the economy in any significant manner. All this shows the lack of capacity of the leading classes to come up with another policy and eliminate the political and moral deadlock in which Europe is immersed.

 

Two new elements have appeared since 2013.

First of all, war has become Europe´s immediate horizon. The Ukrainian civil war claimed 10,000 casualties since April 2014. It creates deep cleavages in Europe, which recall those of the Cold War. The Minsk agreements have not been fully enforced. The European Left demands the real implementation of the Minsk agreements by all the parties present. The chaos felt in several regions of the globe, from Africa to the Near and Middle East destabilises the international geopolitical relations. The dislocation of entire states, such as Iraq or Syria, sometimes under war, notably provoked by western imperialism, and the big liberalisation policies mean the coast is clear for new totalitarianisms and new obscurantisms such as the Islamic State organisation. Entire regions of the globe have been taken with a barbaric questioning of the principles of equality and justice.

The civil war in Syria is about to become the bloodiest conflict since 1945. The civil war came from the fact that the democratic and peaceful movement dealt with the brutal reaction by Assad´s regime. Then, this civil war became a regional, even indirect international war due to the intervention by Saudi Arabia, Turkey and France. The European Left stands for an urgent long-lasting political peaceful solution. It promotes the idea of a global European peace plan for the Near and Middle East and for the Mediterranean region.

The agreement between Iran and the 5+1 group strays from the risk of war, at least provisionally. It also removes from the states in the region the pretext of arming themselves with nuclear weapons. The European Left advocates the creation of a zone free of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction free in the Near and Middle East. The conflicts in the Near East, exacerbated by imperialist interventions, opened the door to extremism and terrorism, which are now striking at the heart of Europe. Terrorist attacks are democracy´s worst enemy. They are so as such and also because they are used as an excuse to put in place “anti-terrorist” measures that curb fundamental rights. Furthermore, they offer space for xenophobic and racist propaganda and for the right wing extremist forces. For these reasons, such phenomena that stem from a totalitarian ideology should be fought without respite.

 

Then, despite all the warnings, the ecological crisis has worsened. The issue is not whether we’ll enter an ecological crisis, rather how we can get out of the ecological crisis that we have been in for several years now. We know that beyond a 1.5ºC temperature increase when compared with the pre-industrial age, the warming of the lower atmosphere will most likely bring irreversible ecological and social catastrophes. The ecological crisis is a consequence of the scale of capitalist means of production, which causes on the one hand limitless productivity, to the detriment of natural resources and on the other, an alienating consumerism. All this is done to the detriment of social productions and needs which should be developed and met. The future world that is to be envisaged is inseparable from the consideration of the “long term” of our natural environment, the limits that society should be able to set itself in the exploitation of natural resources, the quest for a “good living” that envisages human flourishing in a way that is inseparable to the development of a habitable environment. Nowadays, our perspective of transition towards socialism is indissociable with the ecological transition, the transformation of the means of production heading towards the satisfaction of social needs and environmental preservation.

2/ Fractured societies brought to their knees

 

The austerity policies generate a major social regression in the continent. Wages, collective agreements and the distribution systems are the permanent target of austerity policies. The leading classes exploit the crisis as revenge for the social achievements of the 20th century labour struggles. Mass unemployment, precariousness and poverty disfigure all European societies. The gender inequality is being reinforced through job insecurity. Gender inequality and the over-exploitation of women are increasing. Women are less and less protected in the labour market. The austerity policies are pushing them towards undeclared labour, exclusion and even prostitution. Throughout Europe, the guarantees and collective agreements that govern the relations between employers and employees are increasingly called into question. Almost all of the Euro area countries are growing at an extremely low - often zero - rate (0.3% Euro area average for the 2nd quarter of 2015). This vision founded on the reduction, at all costs, of the “costs” (labour, public expenditure, social welfare) thwarts any healthy revival of economic activity and leads to massive unemployment. One out of every four Europeans (122 million inhabitants) is threatened by poverty. These numbers are even higher for women, youths and children. That has even caused a humanitarian crisis, worsened by the dismantling of public health services.

The internal imbalances in Europe are worsened by these austerity policies and the ensuing economic stagnation. The growing differences in the economic and social indicators between northern and southern European countries are worsening. The gap is widening between the countries where the unemployment rate is at its lowest and those where it won’t stop rising. According to the official numbers, twenty points separate Greece from Germany. This contrast is even more visible among those aged less than 25 years, for whom the gap has increased sevenfold. The new generation is aware that overall it will be worse off than their parents were. The competition between regions and major cities heightens territorial imbalances. The breakdown in public services is making our societies more fragile and increasingly exclusive. Dangerous and separatist ideologies are being fostered on these divisions.

This set of elements highlights the risk of major social regression that hovers over the continent. The European Union is no longer an element of regulation, rather a promoter of policies that reinforce the crisis and exacerbate its consequences.

 

3 / The democratic crisis: people flouted, the EU burst

 

The democratic gap worsened after 2015 with the differentiated treatment given according to the country and subjects at hand. The leaders rely on fiscal and financial monetarist authoritarianism and on the authoritarian federalism applied to the budgetary matter and to debt. Junker’s statements after Syriza’s victory in 2015, according to whom there would be "no choice that will meet the European treaties" shows that the more the model fails, the more it’s praised by those who promote said treaties. The economic absurdity of the “3%” budgetary deficit tenet is widely known today, even among the liberals, and the position of European leaders remains a political tool for enslaving the peoples and the governments that are trying to escape it. The diktat imposed to Greece and Alexis Tsipras’s government and Syriza was preceded by a true banking coup whose aim was to cut the country’s lifeline. The more indirect attempts at destabilisation by the Portuguese government are along the same logic. But when David Cameron, in the name of Great Britain, a great economic power whose role in the international balance of power is influential, demanded concessions that go against the sense of reinforced precariousness, he is heard.

The ultranationalist, authoritarian and clerical governments that have risen to power in Eastern Europe highlight this democratic regression and curbing of rights. Furthermore, they experience a battle to rewrite history in a reactionary sense. The European Left does not agree with the interdiction of symbols, of communist parties and other left wing organisations in these countries.

On the social and society issues, nothing is done to harmonize the rights upwards, particularly the right to employment and women’s rights. This regression in women’s rights to own their bodies and the sexist violence they encounter is not sanctioned by the EU in the least. When a country unilaterally decides to close its borders and not respect the European rules on migrants, it is not met with the wrath of Brussels. So far eight countries have closed down their borders and the European Union has let them.

 

4 / The continent at an ideological tipping point

 

The political crisis is broadening in Europe. Outgoing governments are almost systematically sanctioned when there are electoral failures. Rapid and contradictory political shocks polarise the European political debate. The rise in xenophobic and nationalistic sentiments poses an existential challenge to the left wing in Europe. The continent is threatened by a wide-ranging ideological swing. In different countries, and in different ways, right wing extremist and populist forces seek to impose their preferred themes. Despair, desperation and fear of the international developments offer them a great sounding board. The “protective”, we daresay “socialist” discourse of the extreme right wing is part of an old tradition of theirs that dates back to the European fascisms; it is used to ensure they march towards power and marginalise the left wing and the labour movement. The political line of certain governments legitimises their discourse and makes them appealing forces, such as what happened in Slovakia. An authoritarian bloc is in power in several European capitals: Warsaw, Budapest, and Bratislava. The evolution of the Baltic governments is part of this very same logic. The ones in the Austrian government show a swinging trend: from a relatively moderate position towards the Greek crisis to a posture of rejection when it comes to the migrant issue. The rise of the extreme right in Germany is a phenomenon that had not been seen since 1945. In France, the FN is at the centre of the political game.

 

Yet this ideological evolution has significant points against itself, which means that this tipping point towards a historical regression in the continent has not yet occurred. The people are mobilising against the corruption of the leading classes and the political blockades in certain countries. The overthrowing of the Romanian government in October 2015 and the mass demonstrations in Moldavia against corruption are clear signs of this. In Western Europe, and particularly in Greece, the solidarity movement towards the migrants shows that the spirit of welcoming and hosting is still alive in Europe and it’s not a “luxury” of rich countries. This solidarity movement acts as a break and a resistance buffer for societies tipping towards xenophobia.

 

5 / The migrant issue as a catalyst for the historical crisis of the European Union

 

The mixture of powerlessness and abjectness with which the European Union and most of the governments reacted to the inflow of migrants shows the scale of the crisis of the European Union and its principles. This crisis also forces Europe to rethink its future.

The migrant crisis conceals an underlying systemic crisis. It is a massive and structural phenomenon that is the consequence of the rapid degradation of the international situation and the policies that caused this, among which are the policies of the EU itself and of its states. It is estimated that from now until 2050, 200 million migrants will escape wars, economic crisis, state dislocation, the chaos that reigns in many regions of Africa and the Near and Middle East, as well as the effects of the climate crisis. The European Union has a significant responsibility in this. The free trade bilateral agreements encouraged the dismantling of public services and, consequently, public policies in a number of African nations. The participation of certain European states in wars in these regions is also on the EU’s liability side of its balance sheet. The migrant crisis signals the crisis of the EU’s relations with the world. 

Furthermore, the fact that one million refugees causes such upheaval in a political construction that gathers 580 million inhabitants illustrates the scale of the EU crisis. The humanitarian situation of the refugees is an international scandal. The temptation to use the refuges as a tool for social dumping reinforces the sentiments of rejection, even xenophobia within the population. The situation for women and youths is particularly serious. They are the favoured target of violence, including sexual abuse, and labour over-exploitation. It is necessary to create specific protection provisions, legal protection and have expert personnel.

The worst stench of history is felt in the measures taken by a certain number of governments: the Visegrad group states, the Danish government. The declaration by Manuel Valls at the Munich security conference in February 2016 and, even worse, the statements issued by the Belgian Home Affairs Minister. They show that Western European countries are not spared ignominy.

This crisis is once again an occasion to blackmail Greece, which is alone in managing the arrival of the migrants in Europe, since this country is one of the few that put in place a large number of structures in which to welcome the migrants. One must also salute the wave of solidarity that is felt in the Greek society and which enabled them to face up to a very complex situation, without right wing extremism exploiting the situation.

The agreement between the European Union and Turkey, condemned by humanitarian associations, is an unacceptable blank check given to Erdogan’s government, when his policy is one of the factors behind the crisis in the Near and Middle East, and that he is deploying a ferocious repression against the Kurdish population, the Turkish democrats and even the freedom of the press. It confirms the willingness of European leaders to close the gates of Europe to the populations that are fleeing war, violence and poverty. Almost all of the Heads of State have accepted it all, too pleased to be released from their responsibilities to welcome and harbour populations in distress.

 

Conclusion: a new historical period

 

In sum, the European Union and the whole of Europe are entering a new historical period. Following the period of two blocs and the Common Market, originally 6 countries, the Single European Act and the treaties that followed took competition to the level of higher right within the Union. This went along with competition of social systems and the dismantling of more advanced social conquests. After a few years, this construction built in the 1980s and 1990s is cracking. It faces a serious crisis of legitimacy and the project underlying it is currently a minority among the people of Europe. A new historical period is opening up that sees the EU being worked on in a contradictory manner and at the same time with the reinforcement of authoritarian federalism and elements of dislocation. The European continent is therefore at a turning point: it will be taken either by the reactionary values of a rightist bloc together with fiscal authoritarianism, or by a new political and social bloc to the benefit of the people´s interests, which will manage to emerge in Europe.

The dilemma for the people is terrible if nothing is done: either the whole building will crumble without anyone, first off among the leaders, being prepared, or the continent will continue to sink in austerity and mass unemployment, and closing its borders.

This tipping point is not irredeemable. The people have not surrendered, quite the opposite. There are political, social and citizen forces that refuse this dilemma. The EL is turning to all these forces in order to propose to them that we draft a new policy at the service of a union of sovereign and solidary people of Europe.

 

 

 

 

 

II- A social contract between the sovereign and solidary peoples of Europe:

 

the action lines of the European Left

The Party of the European Left combines political organisations that take a differentiated analysis on the European project, but whose goals are common: - to refute the dilemma that the leading classes are imposing, either an authoritarian federalism that tramples all popular sovereignty and the rights of nations, or the exacerbation of national self-interests and rivalries. And to gather the people around a European project of solidarity and social justice. The core issue is one of the content of the perspective, whether we advocate the need for “more Europe” or else, “less Europe”.

 

The Party of the European Left is deeply committed to an effort of construction and providing a large united front with the political currents, social actors and citizens who, even if they don’t share all of their analyses, are on the key axes of the political left wing, enabling a large combination of forces with a will to become a majority. The demands of the current situation take the political challenges to an extremely high level. The axes of the EL seek to enable a debate and political campaigns on concrete solutions, until we can enable the necessary ruptures and alternative solutions.

 

The EL stands up for the idea of a social contract between the sovereign and solidary peoples of Europe. Europe should become a union of nations and peoples where sovereignty is respected, where the common goal is human development. We are ready to work on this perspective with the political, citizen, trade union, social and intellectual forces that are available to do so, using as the basis five main guiding principles. These priority lines are the action guidelines for the European Left. They assume a fundamental questioning of the current European Union framework.

 

1/ For a pact for a new development model

 

We need to break away from liberal competition and austerity. The development pact that we propose responds to social needs.

The reconstruction of the European economic fabric and monetary tools should be at the service of a new development model based on public investment and the creation of jobs conditioned on social and environmental criteria. The money that the ECB is injecting into banks and multinationals at a loss should be used instead for the much needed audacious, socially useful and environmentally sustainable revival policy, for industrial relocation and the creation of stable employment. This policy will enable the necessary ecological transition. In collaboration with the states, Europe should endure a strategic dialogue with the major industrial ranks to protect production, employment, or else reconvert them. This assumes identifying the needs on energy transformation, transport infrastructure, education and training, the industrial future and the manufacturing processes in Europe, that are evolving towards new problems such as the circular economy and the reservoir of activities and employments, which is concealing the sector. Privatisation needs to be stopped. A moratorium on all the energy and transport deregulation policies should be promulgated, as well as a plan implemented for energy sobriety, efficacy and diversity. The CAP should be reformed in order to break free from the production based lines of thought and it should be placed at the service of agriculture that ensures stable base prices for farmers and fishermen. The benefits and assistance should be based on production, ecological stakes and the fragility of the sector’s ranks. In sum, Europe should act in order to put an end to speculation on raw material. That is how Europe can become a major player in the environmental and climate issue. 

This new development model should be created democratically, with the states associated in this development, and supporting the policies put in place at national level. To do so, a European social and ecological development fund should be implemented, and the member states should be associated with its control and decisions. This fund could be financed by a complementary annual investment of 2% of European GDP over 10 years.

 

2 / Fighting against inequalities and for employment: to break away from social dumping

 

The fight against social dumping is a fundamental element if we wish for the European idea to prevail. Europe must act to converge the social and democratic rights in force in member states upwards in order to put an end to social dumping. The directive on seconded workers, which leads to a difference in treatment that can represent 30% of wages, should be removed. A new directive affirming the principle of “equal work, equal pay” should be adopted. Generally, the goal must be to progressively ensure to all workers equality in treatment in terms of salary, social welfare and working conditions.

The right to decent revenue for all, men and women, implies truly ensuring gender equality in terms of salaries and job progression. According to the 2012 Eurostat numbers, employment rates for the 20-64 age bracket is 12 points lower for women than for men (58% against 70%). The wage gap is 16%. Part time employment contracts are 32% for women and 9% or men. 21% of Europeans have wages that are lower than the minimum wage. Even if the European treaties officially promote gender equality, the reality is something different altogether.

The reduction in working hours for all, men and women, should be encouraged throughout Europe, in order to curb unemployment and enable youths to have access to employment. The suppressing of part time imposed, the fight against gender division in employment, the implementation and reinforcement of true public service for small children and a European system of equal paternity/maternity leave will decrease the discrimination women are victims of.

The European development plan, the reduction in wage inequality and the promotion of employment in Europe leads us to the question of how the EU is placed in terms of international trade. We must break free from TTIP and TISA immediately. For the EL, as for other sectors, this is a major and immediate political claim. The EL seeks to strengthen and expand the campaign units for the end of the negotiations on TTIP and TISA.

The EU should oppose a free trade system and the lowering of social and environmental standards of the rules that make exchanges mutually beneficial.

 

3 / Reclaiming the money: to break away from fiscal dumping and rebuilding the euro

 

Europe must fight fiscal dumping. The current framework allows for the flourishing of tax havens and creates tax competition between the countries. Today, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands enter this category de facto more and more. The luxleaks and swissleaks affairs, as well as the Panama Papers, revealed the extent of this organised system. The dismantling of tax havens and tax evasion is a major challenge for Europe. This is a structural project and fight for coming years, in order to build a tax system that serves the interest of the majority and is at the service of common good. The interests of the people should trump the protected interests of multinational corporations. Capital movements must be controlled and purely speculative transactions must be forbidden. A tax on financial transactions and a European tax on capital could finance the European social and ecological development fund. 

Breaking away from austerity implies breaking away from the dictatorship of debt. The southern European countries’ debt should be renegotiated by a European debt conference. First of all, the demand by the Greek government to renegotiate its debt should be heard by the European Council and the European Commission.

 

Reclaiming the money implies rebuilding the role of banks in all European countries and the euro area architecture. The ECB should be placed under democratic scrutiny; its missions and its functioning reformed. The ECB should act towards defending employment and sustainable environmental development. It should be able to be a lender of last resort for states. For the states that wish to be part of the monetary union, it should likewise be rebuilt. Today the euro has become a weapon of war for the leading classes. We need to break away from the idea of the euro as a disciplinary tool. The design of the European currency should be refounded, as should the EU itself. The currency should be a tool that serves the real economy, new industrial, agricultural, social, ecological goals as well as goals of common good, rather than a fetish. Within the euro-area, currency should be used in a common and concerted manner, including the mechanisms that take into account the economic and social evolutions of the different states. No country should be obliged to join the euro area, in any event.

 

 

4 / For a Europe that respects popular sovereignty

 

We stand for the rebuilding of a Europe by applying the principles of justice, social development and democracy, respecting the democratic rights of the EU member states, including by referendum on the necessary evolutions for the European construction and the policies it pursues. The people are the ones that should decide the competences of a democratic political space for Europe, the democratic architecture for the continent and the parliament´s prerogatives, respecting the democratic and sovereign rights of peoples.

It is necessary to rethink the way in which the European framework and the prerogatives of the member states and nations articulate. Europe must not replace the states at national level and their prerogatives, rather favour cooperation on common projects and in facing global challenges. Each state’s sovereignty must be respected. The rules on European construction cannot eliminate each country’s democratic legitimacy. A state should benefit from the right to veto the European directives and decisions that represent a regression with regard to the social and democratic acquis and the rights the population benefits from. The European laws should be drafted in a framework where the European Parliament and national parliaments work together. The European commission cannot have the right of legislative initiative, which should belong jointly to the national parliaments and the European Parliament. Likewise, lobbying pressures should be forbidden. 

The Lisbon Treaty, and consequently the other treaties contained therein, cannot be a basis for a renegotiation. We do not want to adapt the existing framework, rather rebuild Europe, since it’s clear that no social transformation policy will be possible without breaking away from the treaties founded on the tenet of free undistorted trade, and the bringing into question the rights of peoples and nations to govern themselves democratically.

 

5 / For a Europe space of peace and security

 

The European Neighbourhood and International Relations policy should be guided by the principles of cooperation and co-development, namely with Mediterranean, African, Asian and Latin American countries.

Latin America and the Caribbean have become a front of attack for the leading classes that wish to take back their lost power and overturn the progressive governments in the region that stand up for the rights of their people against capitalist and imperialist interests. The Party of the European Left works with the allied parties in the region so that the interests of the majority triumph over the interests of the 1%.

The European Union Association Agreements should be a lever for social progress and the protection of rights. They can be suspended: namely what happened with Israel. Europe should be a lever for peace and the protection of people’s rights, specifically in its immediate neighbourhood, in the Near East and Ukraine.

We need to take the required diplomatic initiatives to create political solutions to the conflicts in the Near and Middle East, re-establish a just peace in this area and promote economic and social development that responds to the peoples’ fundamental needs. All European countries and the EU itself should recognise Palestine. The European Left advocates the creation of a fair and durable peace between Israelis and Palestinians, applying UN resolutions, in other words, recognising a viable Palestinian state inside the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

A political solution must be found for the recognition of the Sahrawi people, by holding a referendum.

We should fight against the aggressive presence of NATO, and this fight should lead to the dissolution of NATO. The strong military investments by the United States in Eastern Europe should be condemned. The anti-missile shields that are being built or are already operational should be dismantled immediately. We must fight the strengthening of the militarisation of societies in Eastern Europe due to the creation of militias, often from ultra-nationalist circles. The European Union and Russia should find a way to conduct a peaceful and constructive dialogue, putting all the subjects on the table that cause military, political, territorial or energy tension.

The matter of Cyprus must be solved through the creation of a bi-zonal federation establishing political equality for all the people of Cyprus, the Greek and Turkish communities of the island. The European Left supports the intercommunity talks under way under UN supervision and with the left wing forces that play a decisive role in defending the rights of the people of Cyprus overall.

We need to break away from the idea of a “fortress Europe”. Europe and the member states should decently welcome and host the migrants, in a context where the liberal globalisation crisis, wars, chaos and barbarity are ravaging entire regions of the globe. The criterion of shared European responsibility should be put at the front of the migrant policy. This also means fighting the overexploitation of labour and illegal labour. The Schengen agreements should be renegotiated in favour of new policies on international migration, which has become a structural phenomenon on a world scale, and also in favour of co-development 

 

 

Conclusion: the campaign axes and lines

The EL seeks to turn these political axes and lines into large, open campaigns, reinforcing the acts that have already been undertaken:

1 For a European investment plan, favouring employment, public services and the ecological transition

2 For a deep reform and the reorientation of the ECB’s money injections in favour of a development policy that is useful for all

3 For the fight against tax evasion

4 For breaking up the TTIP and TAFTA negotiations

5 For gender equality in all fields

6 For welcoming and hosting migrants and refugees in a dignified manner, as well as the policy needed for this

7 For the dismantling of the anti-missile shields

8 For a diplomatic initiative towards peace in the Near and Middle East

 

 

 

Shifting the balance of power throughout Europe

 

1/ Promoting unity for a common front for the forces of progress

 

The last three years have offered us important lessons to be learned. The arrival in power of a left wing government in Greece both shows that victories are possible and that the change in the political balance of power in one single country is not enough. We must pave the way in other countries in order to reverse the balance of power in Europe. The Greek experience is ongoing and the Greek people will once again have to win European battles against the troïka and within the Eurogroup.

The progress of the convergence on the left in Europe in these last few years shows that unity in content is not merely an empty slogan. The evolution of the balance of power in Europe can progressively design another possible future, in order to break away for good from the austerity and xenophobic lines of thought.

This is the challenge for all the European left wing forces. We need victories that will make a left wing alternative credible in our countries as well as at European level. What holds true for Greece or Portugal will also hold true if in the coming years another left wing force is elected to the highest levels of power.

 

In order to effectively fight the rise of the xenophobic forces, develop a credible political project that is an alternative to austerity, challenge the renunciation of the majority of social democratic directions, the left wing must provide itself the means to work on the creation of a new historical front. This front should represent a majority and be capable of uniting the social forces that are interested in change, around the issues of social justice, fundamental rights and popular sovereignty.

 

Our goal is simply to unite all the sectors of the population that are interested in terminating the devastations of a predatory capitalism.

There are ways. Some sectors are available or susceptible to be so: these are the political, social, citizen or intellectual energies that show their opposition to the budgetary and austerity doxa. The EL calls for the gathering on the left of all those who share the willingness to stop the devastation caused by the policies that are destroying the very idea of Europe.

 

The cultural battle is of crucial importance. The cultural diversity of the peoples of Europe is a wealth that must be preserved. The leaders use the cultural weapon to impose their own representations to the people and to legitimise the neo-liberal and neo-conservative offensive in minds and representations, often denaturing the political and social concepts that come from the left. Culture is an emancipation tool for the European left in order to advance their ideas of freedom, resistance to oppression, solidarity and protection of the common good.

 

 

The swiftness of the political evolutions of the last few months tell us that this is a realistic vision. The rise to power of Syriza in Greece, despite the blocks and blows imposed by the European leaders, the election of Jeremy Corbyn as head of the Labour party, the rise of the left in Portugal, and the changes in Spain illustrate these possibilities. The EL affirms its willingness to work with all the forces of the left involved in opposing austerity, even when the discussions pass through the solutions to the European crisis. It also affirms its willingness to work with the social democrats who refuse to renounce their leftist values. The EL wishes to strengthen its relations with the ecological forces that do not resign themselves to “green capitalism” and share the desire to combine social and economic transformation.

 

Furthermore, the emergence throughout the whole of Europe of citizen movements and political forces that, albeit in a sometimes confusing manner, call for the same values shows that there is a significant will in Europe for the re-appropriation of the tools of public power and popular sovereignty by the people, as well as a demand for the invention of new ways of political intervention. The aspirations also concern concrete claims, for instance the issue of housing, water, energy, climate or the demands for political transparency and the democratization of the public realm. These movements place the core issue of the common good at the centre of the debate.

 

2/ Building a standard framework of the forces of progress in Europe

 

The EL itself was built by gathering forces that came from several traditions. It knew how to move forward thanks to the consensus that respected its diversity. At the same time, it gained coherence. There are new discussions in our midst associated with the challenges of the new ongoing phase. We should work better, and permanently with the many forces that will not however join the EL.

 

Taking off from the real state of the balance of power in Europe, our party has decided to take on the necessary interventions to cross a new stage in our ambition for convergence and solidarity of the progressive forces. The central issue is one of permanent and ongoing construction and cooperation with all the progressive forces in Europe. And this should be done in a resolutely audacious manner. We must work with all the forces of the GUE-NGL. The GUE-NGL plays a major role in protecting the principles of solidarity, justice, human rights, women´s rights, public service and peace. We must also work with the emerging forces such as the HDP in Turkey, the new forces in the East, the PTB in Belgium, Sinn Fein in Ireland… Henceforth there are also forces available for working together with us among the ecologists or certain sectors of social democracy.

 

For this reason, the EL wishes to strengthen the initiatives of the past, the ones that have already been launched, such as the Forum of the South in Barcelona, the Forum for Alternatives in Paris and the Alliance Against Austerity in Athens. These frameworks enable social, citizen and intellectual movements to meet. The European citizen initiatives on water, TTIP and the campaigns on gender equality and women’s rights are also other venues for common and pluralist action, in which the EL significantly takes part.

 

Today, the question of a new qualitative leap for this approach is on the table. The challenges of today illustrate the need for new, larger alliances. We call for the creation and structuring of a new political space for convergence at a European scale, which could, at a first moment, be an annual European political forum. The goal of this space would be to group all the political, social, trade union, intellectual and associative forces that are seeking today a way out of the crisis through progress. These different forces may not be entirely in agreement on the best way to fight this battle. The essential matter is sharing a common goal. The São Paulo forum shows a possible way. The political spectre covered is deliberately large, grouping forces that share the same concern for the protection of human rights, social rights and popular sovereignty. It would be a place for exchanging experiences, development and action. This would enhance the convergent historical interests in the current situation, taking off from the truly existing balance of power, looking beyond the divergences on issues of circumstance.

 

The Party of the European Left must develop its structures and way of running in order to fulfil this goal and serve this ambition.

 

Draft political document, EL Congress (Version April 18th, 2016)
Rebuilding Europe, creating new progressive convergences
 
After the 4th EL Congress held in Madrid in December 2013, and particularly since the start of 2015, crises and cleavages have worsened throughout the whole of Europe, leading to a European Union that is now facing an existential crisis. The economic and social problems have become worse. This period has been associated with growing authoritarianism of austerity policies and, in the last period, elements of dislocation. The leading political forces, whether Social Democrats or Christian Democrats, have been confronted with a deadlock of the liberal capitalist model in which they themselves placed the EU, and with significant divisions within their political families. The future of Europe is immersed in a growing uncertainty. Equally, the international balance of power has direct consequences on the EU and the way in which it stands in the world.
The whole European construction is breaking down and may collapse. The European question is once again posed in its entirety, as well as its foundations. The values claimed to be the foundation of the European Union have been in fact reduced to nothing. The difference in which countries like Greece and those that can boast to be at the level of regional power, such as the United Kingdom are handled shows the violence of the balance of power, among other institutions, within the European Union itself. The negotiations on Brexit protect a bit more the practice of social dumping within the European Union. The scathing failure and refusal of the EU to handle the migrant issue and applying the principles of international law crystallize the failure of the current model and strengthen the heavy dislocation trends in the EU. The deadlock and the failure of the ECB’s policy, which is still injecting 1.5 trillion euros at a loss from now to March 2017, for the sole profit of the banks and major enterprises, shows its structural incapacity to envisage another economic model. We have been for years now opposing the tenets of the treaties because these refuse the progressive changes we propose. But today the truth is that everything is now on the table and all the discussions have been reopened.  
Today, the forces of the status quo have been surpassed and the forces of reaction are on the offensive throughout Europe. The right and extreme right wing currents are offering backward and xenophobic solutions. The political crisis is widespread. The continent is on the threshold of being tilted, which could lead people to shut themselves off, with all the risks of tensions and dislocation this will bring, and war is at the very gates of the European Union, in Ukraine and on the banks of the Mediterranean.    
In this context, the EL should now, more than ever, be on the offensive. For a solidary, feminist, democratic and cooperative Europe. The EL proposes to the whole European left wing, the social and citizen forces available, to open up large spaces for discussion, large battle fronts to make up the majorities that are capable of turning the balance of power back in favour of the people. The outcome of the political and economic convulsions is not written down. We envisage the worst with the permanent rise of extreme right wing and right wing extremist forces throughout the whole of Europe. We also envisage the rise of the left wing forces that are seeking to open up progressive issues, admittedly in a still very unfavourable balance of power, such as in Greece, Portugal, Spain or Ireland… The responsibilities of the European Left are greater than ever in this clash of highly contradictory trends. The European people urgently need to get out of the deadly dilemma that the leaders are trying to lock them in: either accept the endless austerity and the anti-social competition or authoritarian submission or expulsion from the Euro area or even the EU itself; or the free trade without barriers of the capitalist globalization or inward looking attitudes. We refuse everything which will worsen the crisis even further; with an even greater outburst of the use of competitive procedures and speculation against the people, which could lead to a major civilizational regression in the whole of Europe. We call for a Europe of solidarity and shared social progress.
Our goal is to open up another possibility, another path. This new spirit should lead to a path of deep changes in Europe to rebuild Europe. This underlines the urgency in shifting the balance of power, not just in each of our countries, a fortiori, but progressively at the scale of the whole of Europe.
 
I- The historical crisis of the European construction: the elements of rupture
 
1/ The elements of tilting in the international context
 
The incapacity of the leaders to offer long-lasting solutions to the systemic capitalist crisis of 2008 is a structural element of the European crisis. The management of the crisis that broke out in 2008 was done seeking to rebuild the neo-liberal model of before the crisis, ensuring the privileges granted to the “1%” and the freedom for banks and major enterprises to act as they saw fit. The crisis lowered production, led to unemployment and the explosive inequalities were felt in each country and between countries. The spectre of a centuries-old stagnation paved its way. Worse still, the conditions of a financial over-accumulation were reproduced for a new larger financial crash in the coming years.  
The multifaceted European crisis, which stretches all the way to Russia, is registered in the new global imbalances and it worsens them: the development of the American and Chinese economies is increasingly divergent and the whole global economy is destabilised. The “emerging” countries have also been shook: drop in raw material prices, erratic exchange rates, temptation to export everything. The accumulation of both public and private debt further destabilised the economy. These more than doubled from 2004 to 2015. While industrial production decreased 3% in 2015, the ECB’s policy is incapable of reviving the economy in any significant manner. All this shows the lack of capacity of the leading classes to come up with another policy and eliminate the political and moral deadlock in which Europe is immersed.
 
Two new elements have appeared since 2013.  
First of all, war has become Europe´s immediate horizon. The Ukrainian civil war claimed 10,000 casualties since April 2014. It creates deep cleavages in Europe, which recall those of the Cold War. The Minsk agreements have not been fully enforced. The European Left demands the real implementation of the Minsk agreements by all the parties present. The chaos felt in several regions of the globe, from Africa to the Near and Middle East destabilises the international geopolitical relations. The dislocation of entire states, such as Iraq or Syria, sometimes under war, notably provoked by western imperialism, and the big liberalisation policies mean the coast is clear for new totalitarianisms and new obscurantisms such as the Islamic State organisation. Entire regions of the globe have been taken with a barbaric questioning of the principles of equality and justice.  
The civil war in Syria is about to become the bloodiest conflict since 1945. The civil war came from the fact that the democratic and peaceful movement dealt with the brutal reaction by Assad´s regime. Then, this civil war became a regional, even indirect international war due to the intervention by Saudi Arabia, Turkey and France. The European Left stands for an urgent long-lasting political peaceful solution. It promotes the idea of a global European peace plan for the Near and Middle East and for the Mediterranean region.  
The agreement between Iran and the 5+1 group strays from the risk of war, at least provisionally. It also removes from the states in the region the pretext of arming themselves with nuclear weapons. The European Left advocates the creation of a zone free of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction free in the Near and Middle East. The conflicts in the Near East, exacerbated by imperialist interventions, opened the door to extremism and terrorism, which are now striking at the heart of Europe. Terrorist attacks are democracy´s worst enemy. They are so as such and also because they are used as an excuse to put in place “anti-terrorist” measures that curb fundamental rights. Furthermore, they offer space for xenophobic and racist propaganda and for the right wing extremist forces. For these reasons, such phenomena that stem from a totalitarian ideology should be fought without respite.
 
Then, despite all the warnings, the ecological crisis has worsened. The issue is not whether we’ll enter an ecological crisis, rather how we can get out of the ecological crisis that we have been in for several years now. We know that beyond a 1.5ºC temperature increase when compared with the pre-industrial age, the warming of the lower atmosphere will most likely bring irreversible ecological and social catastrophes. The ecological crisis is a consequence of the scale of capitalist means of production, which causes on the one hand limitless productivity, to the detriment of natural resources and on the other, an alienating consumerism. All this is done to the detriment of social productions and needs which should be developed and met. The future world that is to be envisaged is inseparable from the consideration of the “long term” of our natural environment, the limits that society should be able to set itself in the exploitation of natural resources, the quest for a “good living” that envisages human flourishing in a way that is inseparable to the development of a habitable environment. Nowadays, our perspective of transition towards socialism is indissociable with the ecological transition, the transformation of the means of production heading towards the satisfaction of social needs and environmental preservation.
2/ Fractured societies brought to their knees
 
The austerity policies generate a major social regression in the continent. Wages, collective agreements and the distribution systems are the permanent target of austerity policies. The leading classes exploit the crisis as revenge for the social achievements of the 20th century labour struggles. Mass unemployment, precariousness and poverty disfigure all European societies. The gender inequality is being reinforced through job insecurity. Gender inequality and the over-exploitation of women are increasing. Women are less and less protected in the labour market. The austerity policies are pushing them towards undeclared labour, exclusion and even prostitution. Throughout Europe, the guarantees and collective agreements that govern the relations between employers and employees are increasingly called into question. Almost all of the Euro area countries are growing at an extremely low - often zero - rate (0.3% Euro area average for the 2nd quarter of 2015). This vision founded on the reduction, at all costs, of the “costs” (labour, public expenditure, social welfare) thwarts any healthy revival of economic activity and leads to massive unemployment. One out of every four Europeans (122 million inhabitants) is threatened by poverty. These numbers are even higher for women, youths and children. That has even caused a humanitarian crisis, worsened by the dismantling of public health services.  
The internal imbalances in Europe are worsened by these austerity policies and the ensuing economic stagnation. The growing differences in the economic and social indicators between northern and southern European countries are worsening. The gap is widening between the countries where the unemployment rate is at its lowest and those where it won’t stop rising. According to the official numbers, twenty points separate Greece from Germany. This contrast is even more visible among those aged less than 25 years, for whom the gap has increased sevenfold. The new generation is aware that overall it will be worse off than their parents were. The competition between regions and major cities heightens territorial imbalances. The breakdown in public services is making our societies more fragile and increasingly exclusive. Dangerous and separatist ideologies are being fostered on these divisions.
This set of elements highlights the risk of major social regression that hovers over the continent. The European Union is no longer an element of regulation, rather a promoter of policies that reinforce the crisis and exacerbate its consequences.   
 
3 / The democratic crisis: people flouted, the EU burst
 
The democratic gap worsened after 2015 with the differentiated treatment given according to the country and subjects at hand. The leaders rely on fiscal and financial monetarist authoritarianism and on the authoritarian federalism applied to the budgetary matter and to debt. Junker’s statements after Syriza’s victory in 2015, according to whom there would be "no choice that will meet the European treaties" shows that the more the model fails, the more it’s praised by those who promote said treaties. The economic absurdity of the “3%” budgetary deficit tenet is widely known today, even among the liberals, and the position of European leaders remains a political tool for enslaving the peoples and the governments that are trying to escape it. The diktat imposed to Greece and Alexis Tsipras’s government and Syriza was preceded by a true banking coup whose aim was to cut the country’s lifeline. The more indirect attempts at destabilisation by the Portuguese government are along the same logic. But when David Cameron, in the name of Great Britain, a great economic power whose role in the international balance of power is influential, demanded concessions that go against the sense of reinforced precariousness, he is heard.  
The ultranationalist, authoritarian and clerical governments that have risen to power in Eastern Europe highlight this democratic regression and curbing of rights. Furthermore, they experience a battle to rewrite history in a reactionary sense. The European Left does not agree with the interdiction of symbols, of communist parties and other left wing organisations in these countries.  
On the social and society issues, nothing is done to harmonize the rights upwards, particularly the right to employment and women’s rights. This regression in women’s rights to own their bodies and the sexist violence they encounter is not sanctioned by the EU in the least. When a country unilaterally decides to close its borders and not respect the European rules on migrants, it is not met with the wrath of Brussels. So far eight countries have closed down their borders and the European Union has let them.   
 
4 / The continent at an ideological tipping point
 
The political crisis is broadening in Europe. Outgoing governments are almost systematically sanctioned when there are electoral failures. Rapid and contradictory political shocks polarise the European political debate. The rise in xenophobic and nationalistic sentiments poses an existential challenge to the left wing in Europe. The continent is threatened by a wide-ranging ideological swing. In different countries, and in different ways, right wing extremist and populist forces seek to impose their preferred themes. Despair, desperation and fear of the international developments offer them a great sounding board. The “protective”, we daresay “socialist” discourse of the extreme right wing is part of an old tradition of theirs that dates back to the European fascisms; it is used to ensure they march towards power and marginalise the left wing and the labour movement. The political line of certain governments legitimises their discourse and makes them appealing forces, such as what happened in Slovakia. An authoritarian bloc is in power in several European capitals: Warsaw, Budapest, and Bratislava. The evolution of the Baltic governments is part of this very same logic. The ones in the Austrian government show a swinging trend: from a relatively moderate position towards the Greek crisis to a posture of rejection when it comes to the migrant issue. The rise of the extreme right in Germany is a phenomenon that had not been seen since 1945. In France, the FN is at the centre of the political game.  
 
Yet this ideological evolution has significant points against itself, which means that this tipping point towards a historical regression in the continent has not yet occurred. The people are mobilising against the corruption of the leading classes and the political blockades in certain countries. The overthrowing of the Romanian government in October 2015 and the mass demonstrations in Moldavia against corruption are clear signs of this. In Western Europe, and particularly in Greece, the solidarity movement towards the migrants shows that the spirit of welcoming and hosting is still alive in Europe and it’s not a “luxury” of rich countries. This solidarity movement acts as a break and a resistance buffer for societies tipping towards xenophobia.  
 
5 / The migrant issue as a catalyst for the historical crisis of the European Union
 
The mixture of powerlessness and abjectness with which the European Union and most of the governments reacted to the inflow of migrants shows the scale of the crisis of the European Union and its principles. This crisis also forces Europe to rethink its future.   
The migrant crisis conceals an underlying systemic crisis. It is a massive and structural phenomenon that is the consequence of the rapid degradation of the international situation and the policies that caused this, among which are the policies of the EU itself and of its states. It is estimated that from now until 2050, 200 million migrants will escape wars, economic crisis, state dislocation, the chaos that reigns in many regions of Africa and the Near and Middle East, as well as the effects of the climate crisis. The European Union has a significant responsibility in this. The free trade bilateral agreements encouraged the dismantling of public services and, consequently, public policies in a number of African nations. The participation of certain European states in wars in these regions is also on the EU’s liability side of its balance sheet. The migrant crisis signals the crisis of the EU’s relations with the world.  
Furthermore, the fact that one million refugees causes such upheaval in a political construction that gathers 580 million inhabitants illustrates the scale of the EU crisis. The humanitarian situation of the refugees is an international scandal. The temptation to use the refuges as a tool for social dumping reinforces the sentiments of rejection, even xenophobia within the population. The situation for women and youths is particularly serious. They are the favoured target of violence, including sexual abuse, and labour over-exploitation. It is necessary to create specific protection provisions, legal protection and have expert personnel.  
The worst stench of history is felt in the measures taken by a certain number of governments: the Visegrad group states, the Danish government. The declaration by Manuel Valls at the Munich security conference in February 2016 and, even worse, the statements issued by the Belgian Home Affairs Minister. They show that Western European countries are not spared ignominy.  
This crisis is once again an occasion to blackmail Greece, which is alone in managing the arrival of the migrants in Europe, since this country is one of the few that put in place a large number of structures in which to welcome the migrants. One must also salute the wave of solidarity that is felt in the Greek society and which enabled them to face up to a very complex situation, without right wing extremism exploiting the situation.  
The agreement between the European Union and Turkey, condemned by humanitarian associations, is an unacceptable blank check given to Erdogan’s government, when his policy is one of the factors behind the crisis in the Near and Middle East, and that he is deploying a ferocious repression against the Kurdish population, the Turkish democrats and even the freedom of the press. It confirms the willingness of European leaders to close the gates of Europe to the populations that are fleeing war, violence and poverty. Almost all of the Heads of State have accepted it all, too pleased to be released from their responsibilities to welcome and harbour populations in distress.  
 
Conclusion: a new historical period
 
In sum, the European Union and the whole of Europe are entering a new historical period. Following the period of two blocs and the Common Market, originally 6 countries, the Single European Act and the treaties that followed took competition to the level of higher right within the Union. This went along with competition of social systems and the dismantling of more advanced social conquests. After a few years, this construction built in the 1980s and 1990s is cracking. It faces a serious crisis of legitimacy and the project underlying it is currently a minority among the people of Europe. A new historical period is opening up that sees the EU being worked on in a contradictory manner and at the same time with the reinforcement of authoritarian federalism and elements of dislocation. The European continent is therefore at a turning point: it will be taken either by the reactionary values of a rightist bloc together with fiscal authoritarianism, or by a new political and social bloc to the benefit of the people´s interests, which will manage to emerge in Europe.  
The dilemma for the people is terrible if nothing is done: either the whole building will crumble without anyone, first off among the leaders, being prepared, or the continent will continue to sink in austerity and mass unemployment, and closing its borders.  
This tipping point is not irredeemable. The people have not surrendered, quite the opposite. There are political, social and citizen forces that refuse this dilemma. The EL is turning to all these forces in order to propose to them that we draft a new policy at the service of a union of sovereign and solidary people of Europe.  
 
 
 
 
 
II- A social contract between the sovereign and solidary peoples of Europe:
 
the action lines of the European Left
The Party of the European Left combines political organisations that take a differentiated analysis on the European project, but whose goals are common: - to refute the dilemma that the leading classes are imposing, either an authoritarian federalism that tramples all popular sovereignty and the rights of nations, or the exacerbation of national self-interests and rivalries. And to gather the people around a European project of solidarity and social justice. The core issue is one of the content of the perspective, whether we advocate the need for “more Europe” or else, “less Europe”.  
 
The Party of the European Left is deeply committed to an effort of construction and providing a large united front with the political currents, social actors and citizens who, even if they don’t share all of their analyses, are on the key axes of the political left wing, enabling a large combination of forces with a will to become a majority. The demands of the current situation take the political challenges to an extremely high level. The axes of the EL seek to enable a debate and political campaigns on concrete solutions, until we can enable the necessary ruptures and alternative solutions.
 
The EL stands up for the idea of a social contract between the sovereign and solidary peoples of Europe. Europe should become a union of nations and peoples where sovereignty is respected, where the common goal is human development. We are ready to work on this perspective with the political, citizen, trade union, social and intellectual forces that are available to do so, using as the basis five main guiding principles. These priority lines are the action guidelines for the European Left. They assume a fundamental questioning of the current European Union framework.
 
1/ For a pact for a new development model
 
We need to break away from liberal competition and austerity. The development pact that we propose responds to social needs.  
The reconstruction of the European economic fabric and monetary tools should be at the service of a new development model based on public investment and the creation of jobs conditioned on social and environmental criteria. The money that the ECB is injecting into banks and multinationals at a loss should be used instead for the much needed audacious, socially useful and environmentally sustainable revival policy, for industrial relocation and the creation of stable employment. This policy will enable the necessary ecological transition. In collaboration with the states, Europe should endure a strategic dialogue with the major industrial ranks to protect production, employment, or else reconvert them. This assumes identifying the needs on energy transformation, transport infrastructure, education and training, the industrial future and the manufacturing processes in Europe, that are evolving towards new problems such as the circular economy and the reservoir of activities and employments, which is concealing the sector. Privatisation needs to be stopped. A moratorium on all the energy and transport deregulation policies should be promulgated, as well as a plan implemented for energy sobriety, efficacy and diversity. The CAP should be reformed in order to break free from the production based lines of thought and it should be placed at the service of agriculture that ensures stable base prices for farmers and fishermen. The benefits and assistance should be based on production, ecological stakes and the fragility of the sector’s ranks. In sum, Europe should act in order to put an end to speculation on raw material. That is how Europe can become a major player in the environmental and climate issue.  
This new development model should be created democratically, with the states associated in this development, and supporting the policies put in place at national level. To do so, a European social and ecological development fund should be implemented, and the member states should be associated with its control and decisions. This fund could be financed by a complementary annual investment of 2% of European GDP over 10 years.  
 
2 / Fighting against inequalities and for employment: to break away from social dumping
 
The fight against social dumping is a fundamental element if we wish for the European idea to prevail.  Europe must act to converge the social and democratic rights in force in member states upwards in order to put an end to social dumping. The directive on seconded workers, which leads to a difference in treatment that can represent 30% of wages, should be removed. A new directive affirming the principle of “equal work, equal pay” should be adopted. Generally, the goal must be to progressively ensure to all workers equality in treatment in terms of salary, social welfare and working conditions.
The right to decent revenue for all, men and women, implies truly ensuring gender equality in terms of salaries and job progression. According to the 2012 Eurostat numbers, employment rates for the 20-64 age bracket is 12 points lower for women than for men (58% against 70%). The wage gap is 16%. Part time employment contracts are 32% for women and 9% or men. 21% of Europeans have wages that are lower than the minimum wage. Even if the European treaties officially promote gender equality, the reality is something different altogether.   
The reduction in working hours for all, men and women, should be encouraged throughout Europe, in order to curb unemployment and enable youths to have access to employment. The suppressing of part time imposed, the fight against gender division in employment, the implementation and reinforcement of true public service for small children and a European system of equal paternity/maternity leave will decrease the discrimination women are victims of.
The European development plan, the reduction in wage inequality and the promotion of employment in Europe leads us to the question of how the EU is placed in terms of international trade. We must break free from TTIP and TISA immediately. For the EL, as for other sectors, this is a major and immediate political claim. The EL seeks to strengthen and expand the campaign units for the end of the negotiations on TTIP and TISA.  
The EU should oppose a free trade system and the lowering of social and environmental standards of the rules that make exchanges mutually beneficial.  
 
3 / Reclaiming the money: to break away from fiscal dumping and rebuilding the euro
 
Europe must fight fiscal dumping. The current framework allows for the flourishing of tax havens and creates tax competition between the countries. Today, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands enter this category de facto more and more. The luxleaks and swissleaks affairs, as well as the Panama Papers, revealed the extent of this organised system. The dismantling of tax havens and tax evasion is a major challenge for Europe. This is a structural project and fight for coming years, in order to build a tax system that serves the interest of the majority and is at the service of common good. The interests of the people should trump the protected interests of multinational corporations. Capital movements must be controlled and purely speculative transactions must be forbidden. A tax on financial transactions and a European tax on capital could finance the European social and ecological development fund.  
Breaking away from austerity implies breaking away from the dictatorship of debt. The southern European countries’ debt should be renegotiated by a European debt conference. First of all, the demand by the Greek government to renegotiate its debt should be heard by the European Council and the European Commission.  
 
Reclaiming the money implies rebuilding the role of banks in all European countries and the euro area architecture. The ECB should be placed under democratic scrutiny; its missions and its functioning reformed. The ECB should act towards defending employment and sustainable environmental development. It should be able to be a lender of last resort for states. For the states that wish to be part of the monetary union, it should likewise be rebuilt. Today the euro has become a weapon of war for the leading classes. We need to break away from the idea of the euro as a disciplinary tool. The design of the European currency should be refounded, as should the EU itself. The currency should be a tool that serves the real economy, new industrial, agricultural, social, ecological goals as well as goals of common good, rather than a fetish. Within the euro-area, currency should be used in a common and concerted manner, including the mechanisms that take into account the economic and social evolutions of the different states. No country should be obliged to join the euro area, in any event.  
 
 
4 / For a Europe that respects popular sovereignty
 
We stand for the rebuilding of a Europe by applying the principles of justice, social development and democracy, respecting the democratic rights of the EU member states, including by referendum on the necessary evolutions for the European construction and the policies it pursues. The people are the ones that should decide the competences of a democratic political space for Europe, the democratic architecture for the continent and the parliament´s prerogatives, respecting the democratic and sovereign rights of peoples.
It is necessary to rethink the way in which the European framework and the prerogatives of the member states and nations articulate. Europe must not replace the states at national level and their prerogatives, rather favour cooperation on common projects and in facing global challenges. Each state’s sovereignty must be respected. The rules on European construction cannot eliminate each country’s democratic legitimacy. A state should benefit from the right to veto the European directives and decisions that represent a regression with regard to the social and democratic acquis and the rights the population benefits from. The European laws should be drafted in a framework where the European Parliament and national parliaments work together. The European commission cannot have the right of legislative initiative, which should belong jointly to the national parliaments and the European Parliament. Likewise, lobbying pressures should be forbidden.  
The Lisbon Treaty, and consequently the other treaties contained therein, cannot be a basis for a renegotiation. We do not want to adapt the existing framework, rather rebuild Europe, since it’s clear that no social transformation policy will be possible without breaking away from the treaties founded on the tenet of free undistorted trade, and the bringing into question the rights of peoples and nations to govern themselves democratically.  
 
5 / For a Europe space of peace and security
 
The European Neighbourhood and International Relations policy should be guided by the principles of cooperation and co-development, namely with Mediterranean, African, Asian and Latin American countries.  
Latin America and the Caribbean have become a front of attack for the leading classes that wish to take back their lost power and overturn the progressive governments in the region that stand up for the rights of their people against capitalist and imperialist interests. The Party of the European Left works with the allied parties in the region so that the interests of the majority triumph over the interests of the 1%.
The European Union Association Agreements should be a lever for social progress and the protection of rights. They can be suspended: namely what happened with Israel. Europe should be a lever for peace and the protection of people’s rights, specifically in its immediate neighbourhood, in the Near East and Ukraine.  
We need to take the required diplomatic initiatives to create political solutions to the conflicts in the Near and Middle East, re-establish a just peace in this area and promote economic and social development that responds to the peoples’ fundamental needs. All European countries and the EU itself should recognise Palestine. The European Left advocates the creation of a fair and durable peace between Israelis and Palestinians, applying UN resolutions, in other words, recognising a viable Palestinian state inside the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
A political solution must be found for the recognition of the Sahrawi people, by holding a referendum.
We should fight against the aggressive presence of NATO, and this fight should lead to the dissolution of NATO. The strong military investments by the United States in Eastern Europe should be condemned. The anti-missile shields that are being built or are already operational should be dismantled immediately. We must fight the strengthening of the militarisation of societies in Eastern Europe due to the creation of militias, often from ultra-nationalist circles. The European Union and Russia should find a way to conduct a peaceful and constructive dialogue, putting all the subjects on the table that cause military, political, territorial or energy tension.  
The matter of Cyprus must be solved through the creation of a bi-zonal federation establishing political equality for all the people of Cyprus, the Greek and Turkish communities of the island. The European Left supports the intercommunity talks under way under UN supervision and with the left wing forces that play a decisive role in defending the rights of the people of Cyprus overall.
We need to break away from the idea of a “fortress Europe”. Europe and the member states should decently welcome and host the migrants, in a context where the liberal globalisation crisis, wars, chaos and barbarity are ravaging entire regions of the globe. The criterion of shared European responsibility should be put at the front of the migrant policy. This also means fighting the overexploitation of labour and illegal labour. The Schengen agreements should be renegotiated in favour of new policies on international migration, which has become a structural phenomenon on a world scale, and also in favour of co-development  
 
 
Conclusion: the campaign axes and lines
The EL seeks to turn these political axes and lines into large, open campaigns, reinforcing the acts that have already been undertaken:
1 For a European investment plan, favouring employment, public services and the ecological transition
2 For a deep reform and the reorientation of the ECB’s money injections in favour of a development policy that is useful for all  
3 For the fight against tax evasion  
4 For breaking up the TTIP and TAFTA negotiations  
5 For gender equality in all fields  
6 For welcoming and hosting migrants and refugees in a dignified manner, as well as the policy needed for this  
7 For the dismantling of the anti-missile shields  
8 For a diplomatic initiative towards peace in the Near and Middle East  
 
 
 
Shifting the balance of power throughout Europe
 
1/ Promoting unity for a common front for the forces of progress
 
The last three years have offered us important lessons to be learned. The arrival in power of a left wing government in Greece both shows that victories are possible and that the change in the political balance of power in one single country is not enough. We must pave the way in other countries in order to reverse the balance of power in Europe. The Greek experience is ongoing and the Greek people will once again have to win European battles against the troïka and within the Eurogroup.
The progress of the convergence on the left in Europe in these last few years shows that unity in content is not merely an empty slogan. The evolution of the balance of power in Europe can progressively design another possible future, in order to break away for good from the austerity and xenophobic lines of thought.
This is the challenge for all the European left wing forces. We need victories that will make a left wing alternative credible in our countries as well as at European level. What holds true for Greece or Portugal will also hold true if in the coming years another left wing force is elected to the highest levels of power.
 
In order to effectively fight the rise of the xenophobic forces, develop a credible political project that is an alternative to austerity, challenge the renunciation of the majority of social democratic directions, the left wing must provide itself the means to work on the creation of a new historical front. This front should represent a majority and be capable of uniting the social forces that are interested in change, around the issues of social justice, fundamental rights and popular sovereignty.
 
Our goal is simply to unite all the sectors of the population that are interested in terminating the devastations of a predatory capitalism.
There are ways. Some sectors are available or susceptible to be so: these are the political, social, citizen or intellectual energies that show their opposition to the budgetary and austerity doxa. The EL calls for the gathering on the left of all those who share the willingness to stop the devastation caused by the policies that are destroying the very idea of Europe.
 
The cultural battle is of crucial importance. The cultural diversity of the peoples of Europe is a wealth that must be preserved. The leaders use the cultural weapon to impose their own representations to the people and to legitimise the neo-liberal and neo-conservative offensive in minds and representations, often denaturing the political and social concepts that come from the left. Culture is an emancipation tool for the European left in order to advance their ideas of freedom, resistance to oppression, solidarity and protection of the common good.  
 
 
The swiftness of the political evolutions of the last few months tell us that this is a realistic vision. The rise to power of Syriza in Greece, despite the blocks and blows imposed by the European leaders, the election of Jeremy Corbyn as head of the Labour party, the rise of the left in Portugal, and the changes in Spain illustrate these possibilities. The EL affirms its willingness to work with all the forces of the left involved in opposing austerity, even when the discussions pass through the solutions to the European crisis. It also affirms its willingness to work with the social democrats who refuse to renounce their leftist values. The EL wishes to strengthen its relations with the ecological forces that do not resign themselves to “green capitalism” and share the desire to combine social and economic transformation.
 
Furthermore, the emergence throughout the whole of Europe of citizen movements and political forces that, albeit in a sometimes confusing manner, call for the same values shows that there is a significant will in Europe for the re-appropriation of the tools of public power and popular sovereignty by the people, as well as a demand for the invention of new ways of political intervention. The aspirations also concern concrete claims, for instance the issue of housing, water, energy, climate or the demands for political transparency and the democratization of the public realm. These movements place the core issue of the common good at the centre of the debate.
 
2/ Building a standard framework of the forces of progress in Europe
 
The EL itself was built by gathering forces that came from several traditions. It knew how to move forward thanks to the consensus that respected its diversity. At the same time, it gained coherence. There are new discussions in our midst associated with the challenges of the new ongoing phase. We should work better, and permanently with the many forces that will not however join the EL.
 
Taking off from the real state of the balance of power in Europe, our party has decided to take on the necessary interventions to cross a new stage in our ambition for convergence and solidarity of the progressive forces. The central issue is one of permanent and ongoing construction and cooperation with all the progressive forces in Europe. And this should be done in a resolutely audacious manner. We must work with all the forces of the GUE-NGL. The GUE-NGL plays a major role in protecting the principles of solidarity, justice, human rights, women´s rights, public service and peace. We must also work with the emerging forces such as the HDP in Turkey, the new forces in the East, the PTB in Belgium, Sinn Fein in Ireland… Henceforth there are also forces available for working together with us among the ecologists or certain sectors of social democracy.
 
For this reason, the EL wishes to strengthen the initiatives of the past, the ones that have already been launched, such as the Forum of the South in Barcelona, the Forum for Alternatives in Paris and the Alliance Against Austerity in Athens. These frameworks enable social, citizen and intellectual movements to meet. The European citizen initiatives on water, TTIP and the campaigns on gender equality and women’s rights are also other venues for common and pluralist action, in which the EL significantly takes part.
 
Today, the question of a new qualitative leap for this approach is on the table. The challenges of today illustrate the need for new, larger alliances. We call for the creation and structuring of a new political space for convergence at a European scale, which could, at a first moment, be an annual European political forum. The goal of this space would be to group all the political, social, trade union, intellectual and associative forces that are seeking today a way out of the crisis through progress. These different forces may not be entirely in agreement on the best way to fight this battle. The essential matter is sharing a common goal. The São Paulo forum shows a possible way. The political spectre covered is deliberately large, grouping forces that share the same concern for the protection of human rights, social rights and popular sovereignty. It would be a place for exchanging experiences, development and action. This would enhance the convergent historical interests in the current situation, taking off from the truly existing balance of power, looking beyond the divergences on issues of circumstance.
 
The Party of the European Left must develop its structures and way of running in order to fulfil this goal and serve this ambition.