Not long ago, people talked about a European Union which was ‘peaceful, open to other cultures and able to engage in social dialogue, an EU which, relying on the ‘European Social Model’, would contribute to the regulation of neo-liberal globalisation, or indeed develop an alternative to this.Today, one cannot avoid being disillusioned. The EU appears more and more clearly to be one of the principal vectors of this neo-liberal globalisation, with its primacy in the market and the payment of financial capital. All European governments (including some non EU-members, such as Switzerland) are now developing regressive social policies, adopting repressive policies towards migrants and liberalising public services.
What is more, although they parade their disagreement with certain aspects of the policies of the Bush government, the main EU countries are using their UN votes to legitimise the occupation of Iraq. The draft constitution for a 25 member Europe formalises and reinforces this orientation: competition is set up as the supreme objective, as confirmed by the principals of an ‘open market economy’, the priority of ‘price stability’ and the struggle ‘against excessive budget deficits’, all elements which take precedence over the values affirmed regarding human rights or full employment.
The reference to the reinforcement of military resources and the intention shown to develop weapons technologies are going more in the direction of Europe as a superpower.
How can alternative proposals be developed within this framework? All the proposals which aim to reform this Constitution, by introducing more social rights etc. give us no guarantee that they will be put into practice. The WTO, the IMF and the World Bank are clearly neo-liberal, anti-democratic institutions which are beyond reform.The antiglobalist movement must say clearly that the alternative to these neo-liberal policies presupposes a break with this dogmatic reasoning.
By working on the content of an alternative, e.g. the right to work, negated in the current framework where only the right to compete for a job exists. Work = the main source of social resources, while the current system considers it solely as a cost. We need to raise awareness of the notions of public goods, grassroots democracy, public health and environmental protection.= the foundations of a reform project in opposition to the neo-liberal model, on which to mobilise at a global level.