Heinz Bierbaum, President of the Party of the European Left (EL), in the interview with transform! europe, discussing the crisis of our social and economic system and the new position paper of the EL.
The setting up of a European Health Care Fund is necessary, the president of the EL explained, to bolster the healthcare sector, which has been considerably weakened as a result of neoliberal austerity policy in Europe. This undermining of the healthcare sector has, he said, dramatic repercussions especially in the Covid crisis.
The crisis shows very clearly that our social and economic system is being called into question. We therefore need a fundamentally new social and ecological development that goes beyond capitalist limits, Bierbaum stressed. He warns, moreover, against using the coronavirus containment measures as a pretext for dismantling democratic rights. In the global crisis international solidarity is more necessary than ever. Promoting this solidarity is a priority for the EL.
Bierbaum referred to the position paper The Corona Crisis and its Consequences for European Policy approved by the EL. It calls for giving top priority to protecting the population. In this context, a socio-ecological transformation is emphasised, which connects ecological imperatives with social security and in so doing develops answers, in the interests of employees, to the changing world of production and labour. Also important for the EL is a strong commitment to peace and disarmament. Another demand is for drastic cuts to military expenditures to benefit public services, especially in the healthcare sector. Also necessary is an initiative for a new détente policy and for the creation of a new collective security system that includes Russia.
The position paper serves as a platform for a campaign aimed at increasing the EL’s visibility. It aims above all at closer cooperation with GUE/NGL, the left grouping in the European Parliament, with think tanks like transform! europe, and with other parties who do not belong to the EL.