The European political project has failed: what was conceived as a means of preserving peace has become, through the outlawing of an expansionary fiscal policy by the Merkel-Sarkozy pact, an instrument to create division, inequality and conflict. Like the Left is increasingly doing across Europe (and the public did some time before), we must reject it and seek a new project. We need economic cooperation and regulation across Europe, and we need democratic structures to oversee it, but on an entirely new basis.
A single currency cannot not be part of it. The reality is that a sustainable multi-national currency can only involve a small number of countries in north west europe. Nor do we want to preserve any agreement which enshrines a presumption in favour of privatisation and the free movement of capital and labour in law. What we do need is:
- A plan for sustainable, full employment in every country. Polish jobs for Polish workers, and so on, not a reserve army of cheap labour to boost the profits of companies in Britain, Germany, France etc.
- A new regime of fixed European exchange rates, backed by state and European central banks, plus reserve powers to control capital movements, to support growth and full employment across Europe.
- Europe-wide commitment to eliminate tax avoidance and tax havens, with an agreed minimum level of corporate taxation.
- An end to unplanned Labour migration. Instead a phased-transition to a European minimum wage, minimum social protection standards and a 35 hour week.
Unaccountable bureaucracies and the interminable wheeler-dealing and lavish banqueting of national politicians are no way to run a continent. They have no public support. It will not be easy to design new democratic structures for Europe but, when we do, the decisions we need/want taken at a European level should be taken on the basis of Europe’s collective interests and political principles, not so called “national interests”.