One week before the official Asia-Europe government meeting (ASEM) gathers in Milan, over 400 people from 42 countries in Europe and Asia gathered at the 10th Asia-Europe Peoples forum (AEPF) to present their demands and recommendations.
European political leaders and the institutions of the European Union have reacted to the Euro crisis by creating conditional debt packages, in cooperation with the IMF (International Monetary Fund). Such “aid packages” typically prescribe severe austerity measures, similar to the structural adjustment programmes applied to many troubled developing countries, especially since the 1980s. The results have rarely been a success. 2
Three years since the outbreak of the global financial crisis, the banks are back making mega-profits while the burden has clearly shifted to citizens and workers. However civil society action at European level could still make a difference in reining in the financial sector.
As Brussels bureaucrats and established political parties struggle to answer the current crisis caused by a faulty economic structure, right-wing nationalist parties have increasingly come to the fore in Europe, with Finland's recent election the last contribution to a worrying trend.
Free trade or slave trade? How the EU's free trade agreements in Colombia and Peru reward human rights abuses, destroy livelihoods, promote land grabbing and strip governments of their sovereignty to regulate capital flows.
The language contained in agreements being negotiated by the EU through the WTO with their southern counterparts often deliberately diguises real political goals, obscuring the negative economic implications for those countries of the neoliberal agenda.
There are many important factors to consider when speaking broadly of China's role in Africa, and one should avoid falling into the trap of simplistic comparisons with historic African-European relations.
Despite repeated democratic rejection of the Lisbon Treaty, the European Commission pushed ahead with it via the EU Constitution via a private, technocratic and non-democratic process. Susan discussed the treaty and its implications in a workshop at the EA4 summit in Madrid, 15 May 2010.
"The banks are ours!" Public money was used to bail out the banks, and now they are lending back to the public at interest, while governments ignore the social and environmental crises that confront society. It is time to demand real solutions that will work not only for the sake of the economy but for the lives and conditions of people on whom it depends.
Susan George appeared on the major French radio network France Inter to debate the financial crisis and regulation. Her most recent book "Their Crises, Our Solutions" has been published in French ("Leurs Crises, Nos Solutions"); the English version is due to be published in September.
The major causes of the economic and social crises are now being even more blatantly promoted by the EU - both within the multilateral WTO negotiations and bilateral and bi-regional FTA/EPA negotiations - as the fundamental solutions.