Campaign against Euro-federalism Annual General Meeting 2011
Main political resolution
Austerity and the EU
The true nature of the European Union super-state has been brought into focus by the euro crisis following the bank crisis in the financial sector and the common EU policies now being pursued. This includes the handing of public money to banks without any payback arrangements followed by the imposition of common austerity policies across the EU including Britain. These policies which emanate from Brussels are a direct and unprecedented attack on the conditions, wages and public sector. In practice everything currently left in the public sector is to be handed over to the private sector which includes the welfare state, the NHS, state education and even the forests. This also amounts to a major attenuation of all forms of democracy. It is a continuation by the Cameron-Clegg ConDem government of policies initially put in place by the Thatcher-Major Governments followed by the Blair-Brown Governments.
The common EU austerity policies are harshest in Greece and Ireland organised in such a way as to exploit further the peoples of those Member States. This is to make the peoples of these nation-states pay back the ‘loans’ from the German, French and British banks at high interest rates. It is expected that Portugal, Spain, Belgium and Italy will follow suit even though fiscal mechanisms may be adjusted. Although Britain remains in the penultimate stage of joining the eurozone she is likely to become a victim of a sovereign debt where Britain’s loss of credibility and a lowering of her international standing could make it much more difficult to borrow in the future, especially as the ConDem Government’s policies create further unemployment and a stagnant economy which may fail altogether. The economy of Britain has been a hostage of the financial sector following the near complete demise of manufacturing.
Today in Britain the debt and deficit in the country’s finances is used as a cover-up tale for a massive cuts programme entitled “tough but fair”, spun by the millionaires cabinet of the ConDem Government. Conveniently hidden is the fact that Britain now pays net into the EU £8.3 billion every year thanks largely to Mr Blair’s rebate give-away. VAT, which is a tax originated by the EU, has been raised to 20% to offset the ‘debt’ by £13 billion. VAT is a tax on consumption and not income which penalises those on lower incomes, especially the growing numbers of poor and unemployed people.
National budgets with austerity measures are to be submitted to Brussels for the Commission’s approval. This is a new and additional part of the growing super-state’s dominance over national parliaments and governments agreed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the other finance ministers of Member States.
Fiscal mechanisms are being discussed amongst the more powerful EU Member States to avoid a further financial crisis rocking the EU or a weakening of their economic position in the EU. At the same time these Member States are taking full advantage of the crisis consolidating their own position. Such agreed arrangements by the few will impose further draconian conditions on the economically weaker Member States especially those on the periphery and new Member States.
The European Central Bank has also played a pivotal role to ensure the eurozone does not collapse and in turn the EU super-state continues to function. The ECB retains control over exchange and interest rates which are key economic levers normally exercised by governments to steer their national economies. Fortunately Britain is not a member of the eurozone.
Alternative to austerity and the EU
Resistance to the austerity policies and embedded cuts largely depends on the labour and trade union movement taking a firm lead. There must be a sharp awareness and full understanding of EU policies, as well as the aims of transnational corporations and banks, as key factors at the centre of the current situation. There is a further need to increase awareness that ‘Social Europe’ and its twin ‘Social Partnership’ is nothing more than a mirage. Lessons can be learnt from the experience of Greece, Ireland and Portugal where austerity policies and budgets must be endorsed by the European Commission and other EU institutions.
The only power which can control the transnationals is that held by the governments and parliaments of nation-states. Such powers must not be used to participate in the anti-democratic EU institutions which act on behalf and consist of the political representatives of big capital which operate EU common policies and legislation is in effect collaboration. Misuse of these powers subjugates EU Member States to the centralised government of the European Union super-state in Brussels.
Hence our Campaign:
- Opposes the unnecessary ConDem Government’s cuts programme which is an attack on living standards and blatant cover for the transfer of the public sector to privateers;
- Opposes the deliberate transfer of money to the rich from poorer sections of society through taxation, diminished pensions and increase in the pensionable age under the totally misleading “tough but fair” ConDem slogan;
- Opposes the introduction of privatisation in the form of ‘free market’ competition rules into the NHS which is the conduit to privatise the NHS based on economic ideology enshrined in the European Constitution (Lisbon Treaty);
- Opposes the Budget which contains the ruinous austerity policy which has been subjugated to the process of endorsement by the European Commission.
Our Campaign also:
- Supports the call for Britain’s economy to be based once again on manufacturing instead of the disastrous financial sector and banks. This would provide many jobs but would require the Government to control the export of capital and instead encourage investment in Britain. This would be the basis of trade across the world instead of being truncated by membership of the European Union to the Single European ‘free’ Market;
- Supports the call by trade unions to ensure that immigrants who seek work in Britain are not used to lower wages and conditions;
- Supports the call for a common sense policy of more investment in the education system from primary to further and higher education with an expansion of apprenticeships;
- Supports the call for the accountable and state control of national industries, services and resources including railways, energy, water, waterways, fishing grounds, forests, health services and the financial sector. This requires offending or disregarding EU policies, directives, regulations and legislation.
This leaves only one genuine course to guarantee the rational future of Britain and her peoples and that is for Britain to leave the EU. To help achieve this objective our Campaign fully supports the demand for a referendum to be held on whether or not Britain remains a member of the EU.
[Adopted unanimously by CAEF AGM 5 March 2011]