• Protest Against the Five Presidents' Plan

  • Von Christian Pilichowski | 10 Dec 15
  • Following the diktats handed down by the troika, a directoire [1] consisting of five presidents of separate European structures is proposing to roll out the same financial and social measures imposed upon the Greek people across all the countries of the Eurozone. The opposition is already mobilising.

    In June 2015 Jean-Claude Juncker presented a report that he had co-written with the ‘presidents’ of the Eurozone, the Eurogroup and of the ECB, and with the president of the European Parliament (the only one of the four to have been elected).

    His priority is to work towards “an economic union of convergence, growth and jobs.”

    Firstly, by creating a system of authorities which oversee the Eurozone’s competitiveness, in his own words: “a strengthened implementation of the Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure; a greater focus on employment and social performance; and on stronger coordination of economic policies […] the convergence process should be made more binding through a set of common high-level standards that would be defined in EU legislation.” These measures will rely on the creation of a “Competitiveness Authority” in each country.

    In other words, this will be nothing short of the escalation and further entrenching of policies that support austerity, put downward pressure on wages, destroy collective safeguards and which are centrally controlled by the technocrats in Brussels, i.e. the measures that have been aggressively imposed on Greece in the years since 2008 and, more discretely but just as effectively, in practically all of the countries of the EU are becoming the perpetual norm.

    Furthermore, they want to finalise the financial union with a view to reinforcing the powers the ECB has over national central banks, putting them entirely under their administrative control indefinitely.

    The EU would then only be one small step away from becoming a budgetary union with a budget advisory committee that would reinforce the budgetary advice proposed at national level and firmly impose authoritarian budgetary rules which must be adhered to in the name of “financial stability”.

    Finally, to clearly demonstrate the directoire’s support for federalism, a “unified external representation” of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) needs to be created to speak to the IMF with a single voice (so they claim) and to reinforce the role of the president of the Eurogroup (a non-elected position, let’s not forget) both in terms of power and resources.

    The EMU’s social dimension, which is mentioned albeit at the end of the report, will be left to an expert consultation group and the measures may possibly be put in place sometime between now and 2025.

    What should the response be to these ambitions to further entrench ordoliberal policies, to accelerate the process towards EU federalisation and to develop a core group within the Eurozone?

    Numerous trade union and civil society actors in Greece are already taking action. They have put out a collective “call from Greece to Europe” in the shape of a petition demanding the reinstatement of the right to collective bargaining so that workers can organise, the right to express social struggles and that their requirements be met. This implies that the rules imposed through the July memorandum of understanding should be abolished.

    Our society is facing up to current challenges with two separate ideologies. One, the one held by the directoire, wants more competition between people, more austerity and considers workers’ rights a hindrance to competitiveness, i.e. high profits and returns for shareholders and less democracy. The other thinks that safeguarding and recognising the value of work is one effective economic, social and environmental measure that would allow everyone to have a job that would be fair in terms of pay and working conditions and that would pave the way for an ecological transition as well as a productive transformation that could save the planet from the destruction that seems inevitable under the directoire.

    During the final meeting of the AlterSummit (AS) in Paris on 30 November and 1 December, it was decided that each organisation that was a member of the AS would ask as many people as possible to sign the following petition. Please sign if you would like to see a socially and environmentally just Europe.

     

    Stop the coup: collective labour agreements now!: mayday.gr/en/


    [1] The directoire is the name given to the government that ruled during the French First Republic from 26 October 1795 (4 Brumaire, IV year) to 9 November 1799 (18 Brumaire, VIII year). Its name derives from the five directors who held executive power. Set up following the Thermodorian Convention, it validated the dominance of the bourgeois. The period is marked by the return of selective suffrage, which allowed the two legislative chambers to be elected, the ‘Council of Five Hundred’ and the ‘Council of Ancients’.