OP-ED:The interests of the people placed above those of the multinationals

OP-ED:The interests of the people placed above those of the multinationals

Brussels, October 9, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Neoklis Sylikiotis*

The joint presence of Hollande and Merkel in the plenary of the European Parliament was received by many different analyses. Not much attention was given to the Chancellor’s reply to the criticism of the Left as well as from the representative of the Group of Greens, Rebecca Harms, over the Volkswagen scandal. Ms Harms said that the Chancellor promoted the interests of the automotive industry in European legislation and it is now proven how devastating that was. So, Ms. Merkel’s reply was a direct warning to not use the Volkswagen scandal for political purposes because that will threaten thousands of jobs.

Her statement clearly shows the interconnection of the German big capital with the German government and the promotion of German interests in the EU. When Volkswagen was cheating millions of citizens and harmed the health of millions of others nobody thought of the jobs. Now it enjoys the cover of the German government so it escapes criticism and is not threatened by anyone, as “it has enough problems itself”. This support to multinationals by the German government is deeply rooted in the Brussels directorate. The Commission knew since 2013 already that the Volkswagen “suspension systems” could falsify measurements and it took no action. Yet more evidence that the EU defines strategies based on the interests of these multinationals.

The case of Volkswagen has an awful lot in common with the case of Deutsche Bank and of French banks that hurried to sell Greek bonds in 2008-2010 with the cover of the German and French governments. When at the Eurogroup the governments of the core of the Euro saved Deutsche Bank and the banks of France, Greece, Portugal and Ireland, they did not care about jobs in these countries. Instead they found the opportunity to enforce policies that help in the unequal distribution of wealth and its accumulation in the hands of the few, at the expense of the people. Inhuman austerity policies which resulted not only in the case of Greece but also in the cases of Portugal, Ireland and Cyprus in makings the people poorer and dismantling the social and economic fabric.

Ms. Merkel’s answer precisely expresses the interests of those ruling circles that support the German government. These multinationals and monopolies whose interests are promoted by the German government and the directors of Brussels are out of control. Through the lobbies that operate on a massive scale, both in Brussels and in other capitals, they promote their selfish interests at the expense of society, public health, and the people.

The scandal of Volkswagen should be explored to the end. But for us it is not enough. Our reaction is to continue the struggle against the directorate in Brussels, the imposition of monopoly interests and neoliberal austerity policies. We continue to fight against poverty, against the medieval labor relations, against the imposition of the interests of transnational corporations over the states and peoples. Our own vision is an industrial policy to the benefit of workers and the people, a social policy for the benefit of workers, pensioners and vulnerable groups of the population, an economic policy with the state at its core. We fight for a Europe of real social development of real solidarity and genuine peace. A Europe of nations, not of the multinationals.


*Neoklis Sylikiotis is MEP of AKEL Cyprus- Vice-chair of Confederal Group of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left