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GUE/NGL President Lothar Bisky :Declaration on the European Council Summit

Date

23 Oct 2009

Sections

EU Priorities 2020

For the last three months there has been much speculation over the possible entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, which my parliamentary group, for good reasons, is against.

We want a social Europe, instead of this radical market orientation. We want disarmament, instead of "improved military capabilities". We want more direct democracy, rather than a Europe of the elites.

Now is the time to tackle the substance of the problems we face! While some argue about names and top jobs, more and more people are losing their jobs. The banks are rescued of course. At the same time, Commission President Barroso is calling for a rapid exit from the economic recovery programmes by 2011 and tight restrictions on the budgetary deficits of the Member States. That means therefore: wages and pensions are lowered; public services and social security are cut; higher VAT; collective wage agreements become thin on the ground - the current example in Germany is the building cleaning industry, on strike for the last three days.

These are the problems the people of Europe face. The Council must deal with them!

Instead it deliberates on supplementary clauses to the Lisbon contract, aimed to persuade the Czech president to add his signature. If it is that simple: fine! Heads of State should now think more intensively about a social progress clause in the treaty!

At the beginning of the legislature there were a number of good proposals for a more social EU policy. Not just the social progress clause but also a new economic recovery plan for Europe for the creation and preservation of jobs, greater investment and environmental sustainability.

A European employment pact for more and better jobs was called for, including wage equality, the strengthening of the position of employees and improved working conditions. We called for stronger solidarity between the Member States. The sustainability of social systems and pensions was to be guaranteed.

But I can't see any strategy in either the policy of the Member States, or the Commission that furthers these objectives.

Of course the Council must discuss the allocation of posts in the new Commission and on possible changes to the Lisbon treaty. However the existing problems and their solution must be the priority. My parliamentary group will make its vote on the new Commission dependent on those considerations.

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