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The Truth About the Future European Treaty, Part 4 by Francis Wurtz, MEP

Translated Sunday 16 September 2007, by Steve McGiffen

The Truth About the Future European Treaty, Part 4

We knew that Nicolas Sarkozy was restrained by neither modesty nor scrupulousness. His version of the results of the European Council on the future European treaty held at the end of June offered a new illustration of this. "Basically, with Bernard Kouchner and Jean-Pierre Jouyet, we have achieved a major reorientation of the Union’s objectives. Competition is no longer an objective of the Union or an end in itself, but an instrument at the service of the internal market... The place of public services in Europe has been recognised and consecrated by a protocol..."

The message that the President of the Republic intended to put over to those men and women who voted no is clear: ’I have heard you, and thanks to myself and my ministers from the left (Foreign Affairs and European Affairs) your grievances, yesterday’s grievances, have lost their raison d’etre. I have succeeded in achieving "the synthesis of the ’yes’ and the ’no’." Henceforth, there will no longer be any need for either a major public debate or a referendum. The future European treaty answers your wishes! Readers of my articles will know what this is in reality, but to help our fellow citizens to avoid this trap in the short space of time which remains between now and the day currently projected for the adoption of this text by the 27 heads of state and government (this coming 18th or 19th of October!), it is indispensable to take up the demand for clear and public answers to a number of basic questions on the subject of what will really change in Europe as far as the neoliberal structures which currently dominate the continent are concerned.

Examples:

Will the following article of the European Treaties (or other, similar articles) be maintained or suppressed?

"The actions of the Member States and of the (European) Community shall include... the establishment of an economic policy... conducted in a way which conforms to respect for the principle of an open market economy in which competition is free."?
Will the "major reorientation of the Union’s objectives call into question directives such as those instituting the opening to competition of postal services or the electricity and gas markets?
To put an end to destructive competition between member states of the Union in matters such as wages or taxes on company profits (social or fiscal ’dumping’), what measures are foreseen in the future treaty – of the genus "Pact for Mutual Progress" - creating a mechanism for harmonisation upwards?
Will the new European Treaty permit us to go beyond the current notion of "services of general economic interest", the status of which is only that of a ’derogation’ from the rules of competition and the laws of the market, and which are, by virtue of this, subject to surveillance by the European Commission?
What instances of reorientation of the European Central Bank’s mission – and what parliamentary control – are envisaged in the new European treaty in order to permit the Union and its member countries to mobilise significant financial resources – without having to submit themselves to the demands of the ’markets’ – for investments favourable to the creation of skilled jobs, training, public services, healthy growth, and cooperation?

These are some of the essential questions that were at the heart of the French debate in 2005, and which must be once again at its heart in 2007, because on the answers to them will depend, in large part, the future substance of European policy on economic and social matters. Other questions remain which deserve to be clarified in the same fashion, and I will look at some of these next week.

(1) President of the United Left Group/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL)


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