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.
The fiscal treaty was voted on in a referendum in Ireland on 31st May and was approved by a margin of 60% to 40% (with a turnout of barely 50% of eligible voters). To understand the significance of the treaty and the referendum result, it is necessary to understand the origins of the Irish and European debt crises.
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
The real news in Greece is not about riots, but of a growing number of people who have broken away from fear and decided to fight back against the austerity imposed by the 'Troika' of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF.
2011 witnessed the implementation of some of the most comprehensive undemocratic structural changes in the EU since the Lisbon Treaty. Alternative proposals for a progressive exit from the euro crisis are laid out here.
Until the European Commission shows it has learnt the lessons of the 2008 financial crisis and demonstrates the political will to re-regulate the financial sector, it will be unable to resolve the crises in Greece, Ireland and Portugal
The Greek crisis has exposed the fundamental flaws in the Euro project: it stripped countries control over the price of money and allowed political elites to undermine Europe's post-war social contract.
On 8 June the EU Parliament will vote on our response to the Eurocrisis: sign this petition by ATTAC asking them to reject the neoliberal austerity package which will make the public pay for the bank's crimes. There are alternatives to austerity.
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.
The Irish government announcement of a €34 billion Euro bailout, two years after the financial crisis first broke, is a reminder that little has been done to prevent it happening again just as the social costs are becoming ever more evident.
The ideological reasoning behind UK government policies is that the market is the only way to make public services 'efficient'. Isn't it time we talked about social efficiency, maximising public benefit rather than maximising profit?