Geert Lovink on Mon, 23 Jun 1997 16:32:51 +0200 (MET DST)

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<nettime> euro protests - last report part I

A delayed, last report from Amsterdam, part I
About the protests against the Euro Summit

See also
       Press release
       Amsterdam, June 17th 1997
       Alternative Summit presents Declaration of Amsterdam
       Call not to ratify the undemocratic Treaty of Amsterdam
       While on the Frederiksplein the heads of state and governments
       move on with finalising the internal market and the introduction
       of the euro, the Alternative Summit has presented its Alternative
       Declaration of Amsterdam. This declaration is the reply to the
       onesided policies of the European Union and its shortsighted focus
       on economic and monetary policies. During the Alternative Summit a
       changing group of well above 500 international participants have
       taken part in workshops and debates about a different Europe than
       the one currently shaped by the European Union governments. In the
       Alternative Declaration of Amsterdam this different Europe is
       Appeal for a social, sustainable and democratic Europe
       A first point of critique concerns the undemocratic procedure
       which has lead to the Treaty of Amsterdam. Certainly in The
       Netherlands there has been no serious debate about the future of
       Europe. The process has not sufficiently involved the citizens and
       cannot be considered democratic. The Treaty of Amsterdam does not
       repair the democratic gap in the EU.
       The introduction of the Economic and Monetary Union has far
       reaching social impacts. To reach the EMU criteria, social
       expenditure is cut dramatically. The 20 million unemployed and 50
       million people in Europe living in poverty pay the price for the
       The Treaty of Amsterdam lacks commitments in the direction of
       changing course towards a sustainable economy. There is
       insufficient intiatives to realise strong joint environmental
       policies. The Dutch presidency has not fullfilled its obligation
       on this area.
       The declaration of the Alternative Summit calls the European and
       national parliaments to reject the Amsterdam Treaty as long as the
       basic principles of democracy have not been fullfilled. Movements
       in every country of the EU will start campaigning for this joint
       Agenda for Action
       The declaration of the Alternative Summit ends with an agenda of
       joint action agreed on by NGOs from all over Europe present at the
       Alternative Summit. The plans, for the next six months and beyond,
       focus on a stronger cooperation between NGOs working for a
       different Europe, including mobilisation for a week of action in
       early December.
    Platform naar een Ander Europa /Dutch Coalition for a Different
    Europe, Amsterdam
       More steps to go
       Towards a different Europe
       Alternative Summit in Amsterdam 17 June 1997
       Everything indicates the European Council of Amsterdam will be a
       failure. The promises the heads of states and governments made us
       after 'Maastricht' have not been kept. This Council will resolve
       neither the democratic crisis, nor the social crisis. The
       inhabitants of Europe are now facing a fundamental choice:
       continue on the current path or change course?
       Our continent is facing great social and ecological problems that
       need to be dealt with internationally. This European Union, built
       on 'Maastricht', on the big summits of heads of states and
       governments, and on centralized bureaucratic bodies, did not meet
       the challenge.
       After the signing of the Maastricht treaty the European Union has
       increasingly shifted power from the national parliaments to the
       heads of states and governments, and shifted power from the
       political sphere to the market. Western Europe is being turned
       into a centralised political and strengthened military power,
       allowing large Europe-based corporations to increase profits,
       competiveness and market-shares worldwide. This European Union has
       become a driving force of globalisation and promotor of
       neoliberalism. It has become an elite-driven project, undemocratic
       and irresponsive to the needs of people and nature. It offers but
       an uncertain future for women, for the citizens of non-EU
       countries that come here, for the next generations, for the
       elderly and for the 20 million unemployed and 50 million people
       living in poverty in the 15 member states.
       Only de European inhabitants can build Europe, support it and live
       in it. A European House that does not meet the wishes and values
       of its population has no raison d'=EAtre. The supporters of this
       European Union say there is no other option. Anyone opposing this
       EU are portrayed as reactionary nationalists. Nothing is less
       true, because there is a third option: cooperation for a
       different, democratic, social, peaceful, solidary, ecological and
       feminist Europe.
       From June 12 - 17 we, the undersigned, and more than thousand
       women and men gathered at the Alternative Summit Towards a
       Different Europe to look for alternatives. On June 14th more than
       50 000 people from all EU member states demonstrated in Amsterdam
       against unemployment, insecurity and social exclusion. Together we
       can mobilise for a Europe that eradicates unemployment, takes
       social and ecological concerns seriously, creates equal
       opportunities for men and women and is open and hospitable to
       immigrants and refugees. We can create a Europe that breaks with
       its shameful colonial past and becomes a peaceful, disarmed force
       for a world of cooperation, sharing and solidarity.
       We call upon all inhabitants of Western and Eastern Europe to join
       hands for a change. For a cooperation based on democratic
       participation of all inhabitants of Europe, and a public debate on
       our social priorities. Therefor we say:
       Halt to this EU. Give Europe a new chance.
       2. Work
       Today 20 million inhabitants of the European Union are unemployed,
       according to official figures. We face a huge challenge to
       generate paid labour for those who want it.
       In 1985, the EU promised us 5 million new jobs. Unemployement has
       doubled since. In order to enter the Economic and Monetary Union
       and join the European currency governments are fixated on the
       convergence criteria of Maastricht. All over Europe this leads to
       enormous cuts in public services. This creates unemployment. The
       Dublin Stability Pact will result in even more cuts and will
       reduce the possibilities of member states to effectively stimulate
       The EU seeks to reduce unemployment through 'flexibility' of the
       labour markets. That means: weaker protection of workers' rights,
       insecure and temporary jobs, and reduced rights to organise,
       negotiate and act collectively. The first victims are women, as
       workers, or as people looking for employment. Some in the EU
       propose to lower unemployment by promoting large, capital
       intensive infra-structure projects. These projects provide only
       few, temporary, and often environmentally very damaging jobs in
       the short term. They provide no real answer to Europe's needs.
       Quite the contrary: projects like the Trans-European Networks
       promote long distance trade and therefor break down local
       economies, and costs jobs. The current policy in many countries to
       force the unemployed to work or study for minimal benefits and
       social rights is proof of the lack of respect of the victims of
       these wrong policies.
       We deman
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