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World Social Forum an unqualified success, say GUE/NGL MEPs


14 Feb 2011


Social Europe & Jobs

A delegation of eight Members from the European Parliament’s GUE/NGL Group - Ilda Figueiredo, Vice-President of GUE/NGL, Thomas Händel, Sabine Lösing, Willy Meyer, Alfreds Rubiks, Helmut Scholz, Søren Søndergard and Gabi Zimmer - as well as eight guests from social movements and associations from various countries, invited by GUE/NGL, participated in the work of the World Social Forum in Dakar, February 6 - 11, 2011.


The WSF has proved to be an opportunity to deepen the analysis on the current crisis of the capitalist system and its impact on people around the world, in particular in Africa. The delegation was impressed by the broad-based participation of the wide variety of Senegalese and other African social movements during the opening demonstration, which received well-deserved media attention. The high-level debates taking place throughout the Forum provided Members of the European Parliament with an excellent opportunity to learn about the most pressing issues on the African political agenda and their relationship with European Union policies. The GUE/NGL delegation expressed its solidarity with all these struggles.


Ranking top on the agenda of African concerns were the impact of neoliberal policies on food security and food sovereignty and on access to public services including water, health, education and energy supply. Furthermore, the ongoing impoverishment of the majority of Africa’s population, the growing militarisation of the continent, the situation of migrants and the lack of options for democratic participation in determining their future on their own.


Solidarity with the protests in Egypt, Tunisia and other countries were forefront in minds of all those attending the Forum. These developments were strongly perceived as a source of inspiration for the global struggle for justice. They were also addressed in the context of independence in African states as well as ongoing neo-colonialism and double standards in western foreign policy


The GUE/NGL delegation made use of the opportunity to express its divergence from mainstream political forces in Europe. The European Union’s foreign and trade policy, including the Economic Partnership Agreements and the new raw materials strategy, were challenged for lacking coherence for development and failing to meet the needs of the people. In this logic also NATO policies and the practice of the IMF and World Bank were rejected. The delegation condemned austerity plans in Europe and around the world while highlighting the necessity for concrete alternatives for a new world economic order and fair international trade.


During a meeting with parliamentarians from different continents organised within the Forum and hosted by the National Assembly of Senegal, the GUE/NGL delegation reaffirmed the need to mobilise people in Africa and Europe to fight against the policies implemented by the US, NATO, the EU and the IMF with the complicity of many governments. In their contributions to the debate on the evolution of democracy, they emphasised that democracy means more than parliamentary elections, but must be based on participation and access to all aspects of life including decent income, education, health and communication. The GUE/NGL delegation furthermore used this opportunity to expand on the Group’s aspiration to contribute to strengthen new North/South cooperation, which has to guarantee social progress and the freedom of peoples to self-determination.


Self-determination was undoubtedly at the heart of many debates. WSF activities organised by the Saharawi people were attacked – by participants instrumentalised by the Moroccan government. GUE/NGL MEPs condemned this attack on the WSF. The delegation reaffirmed GUE/NGL's solidarity with the Saharawi people.


During the six days the delegation had a number of bilateral meetings, i.e. with representatives of the Independence and Labour Party (PIT) of Senegal and other left-wing parties from Africa and Latin America, namely the São Paulo Forum but also with social movements, trade unionists and network coordinators, the US-based Anti-Poverty Network as well as the World Forum for Alternatives – with its outstanding representative in Senegal, Samir Amin.


In conclusion, the GUE/NGL delegation was impressed by the World Social Forum 2011 in Dakar and vowed to continue its efforts to transport the demands of the people and their movements to the debates and decision-making processes in the European Parliament. The GUE/NGL Group will strive to strengthen its cooperation and solidarity at international level to fight against war, all forms of exploitation and social injustice and expressed its will to keep on with its active and participatory support of the World Social Forum process in future.



GUE/NGL Press contact
Gianfranco Battistini +32 475 64 66 28
Gay Kavanagh + 32 473 842 320
David Lundy + 32 485 505812


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