Op-Ed/ The voice of contestation to become the power for the overturning of the unpopular policies

Op-Ed/ The voice of contestation to become the power for the overturning of the unpopular policies

Nicosia, June 5, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Neoklis Sylikiotis – AKEL MEP, Vice President of the Group of the European United Left

The imposition of neoliberalism on a global scale as the basic development model resulted in the crisis of the capitalist system to take unprecedented dimensions. In the same context, the predominance of neoliberalism in the EU’s policies, with the most violent expression of the policies imposed on the people of the countries that are under a memorandum, have serious implications for the economic, social and territorial cohesion of the EU. Differences between Member States are increasing dramatically. The gap between rich and poor nations, peoples and citizens is growing.

The economic policies promoted by the EU aim to transfer more power to the directorate in Brussels that decides on the basis of the interests of the dominant powers, and to consolidate to the countries that constitute the “weak link” a regime that cancels their sovereignty by introducing a new form of colonialism. That is why dependency relationships are intensifying. In the South increases the economic impoverishment and the North gets more riches, which are distributed unevenly.

The deepening of neoliberalism, as a supposed response to the crisis plunged Europe into poverty and unemployment. 24,512 million of our fellow citizens are unemployed while 122 million live in poverty. Only in Spain in the first quarter of 2015 114,000 jobs were lost. In Greece in January the number of unemployed was 1.22 million. In Cyprus the unemployed have exceeded 70,000 and 240,000 people live below the poverty line. For Portugal the argument of the early repayment of loans is meaningless, since about 2 million Portuguese live below the poverty line. This is the image of the South. And so it is being said incorrectly that the winner of the crisis is Germany. Not so.

The big winner of the crisis is the capital. There was silent austerity in Germany as well. Since the introduction of the euro, by 2012 wages in Germany showed a large decrease. And this wage dumping has led other countries in the throes of debt. The labour reforms promoted by Germany destroyed many jobs, while privatizations broke the country’s infrastructure. In all EU Member States is applied a “perpetual memorandum” leading the people in absolute poverty, ensuring cheaper labour force and accelerating the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few.

It has been confirmed that an exit from the memorandum does not mean freedom from the harsh austerity policies. Apart from Greece and Cyprus, which are under the memorandum, in countries such as Ireland, Spain and Portugal, which have supposedly exited their respective memorandums, the same austerity policies continue. Privatizations, divestments of houses, demolition of the social state, the selling off of public wealth.

It turns out then that the goal is the perpetuation of the neoliberal, more exploitative form of capitalism. It is no coincidence that with the so-called double package of Union legislation, for Member States to regain part of the sovereignty lost, they must pay 75% of their debts. If we do not get rid of the neoliberal memorandum policies the peoples of Europe will never come out of the crisis.

The fight that we give daily through national and European institutions and the mass rallies organized in all countries, the joint action and the class struggle increasingly strengthen our struggle against neoliberal policies. The voice of the contestation of dominant policies, must become the power to overthrow the unpopular policies.

(Extract from the speech of Neoklis Sylikiotis on Study Days of the European United Left in Athens, June 2-3).