60 representatives from trade unions, social movements and political actors met for the first conference of the network after the Alter Summit in Athens to continue and consolidate the process at European and national level.
At its core the focus lies on the manifesto published in Athens, which is considered a “common” of the movement and a jointly developed base.
European policy applies to all major social conflicts and influences our everyday lives. The Europeanization of social conflict requires raising the awareness of its European dimensions. There are many opportunities to accomplish that, for instance the annual debate on the national budgets under the supervision of the EU, the austerity policies, the dismantling of democracy and the issues regarding European foreign policy. In this context, the Greek EU-Presidency in the first semester of 2014 opens up a new challenge, especially if the Greek organizations and movements will call for further European actions.
At their assembly the member organisations of the Alter Summit decided, according to the principles affirmed in the Peoples’ Manifesto, to organise actions as well as to support and strengthen actions initiated by network members in order to oppose as a priority three principle adversaries:
1. The TTIP or Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership now under negotiation, which seeks to establish a comprehensive free trade zone between the European Union and the United States of America. The TTIP would allow transnational corporations to impose their demands on states and to abolish democratic rights and rules.
2. The Troika (European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund) and the governments concerned that now impose austerity policies, including those of the TSCG or Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance. Forcing peoples into debt slavery, strangling national budgets and blocking or reducing salaries and social allowances can only worsen the crisis and destroy the European social model. That, in fact, is the real objective of the TSCG and of austerity.
3. The rise of nationalist and right-wing populist parties (and in some countries, neo-Nazi organisations) as well as contamination of some traditional parties and governments with their ideas. The idea was discussed to call for a broad international conference of high symbolic and political significance dedicated to the fight against right-wing populism and neo-Nazism in Europe in the second half of 2014. Since the adequate strategy against the extreme Right is still subject of discussions, preparatory conferences and seminars should in the first semester be held in different European regions. One of these conferences will take place in Budapest, providing the opportunity not only for political discussions but also for public visibility.
The European elections in May 2014 will crystallize key disputes, however. As stated in the call for the Alter Summit in Athens, the Summit is a process that is led by trade unions and social movements, but also accepting political forces supportive of our demands. Accordingly, the Alter Summit wants to intervene on the basis of the manifesto in the debates surrounding the elections so as to propagate its own goals.