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
Dr. Pedro Paez talks about the creation of a new financial architecture in Latin America, based on principles of redistribution, environmental sustainability and social cohesion rather than market principles that dominated the old architecture.
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.
China's fast growing capital expansion within South East Asia is raising concerns about landgrabs and exploitative practices, especially as it is often aligned with support for authoritarian regimes such as Burma.
Behind the currency wars and the worsening global economic crisis lies a largely unquestioned free trade model that both contributed to the crisis and, without radical reform, is a major obstacle to overcoming it.
After a brief period of destabilisation, self-justification and the occasional mea culpa, the very people and institutions that plunged the world into crisis have re-emerged unscathed, as the fount of truth and all reasonable policy.