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27. April 2014AG »Europeans in Berlin«

Gemeinsam für eine linke Alternative in Europa!

Zu den Wahlen zum Europäischen Parlament am 25. Mai sind nicht nur deutsche Staatsbürgerinnen und Staatsbürger wahlberechtigt, sondern auch hier gemeldete Menschen aus den anderen 27 EU-Mitgliedsstaaten. In Berlin sind das immerhin rund 185.000 Menschen.

Heute fand im Karl-Liebknecht-Haus eine Informations- und Diskussionsveranstaltung der Arbeitsgemeinschaft »Europeans in Berlin« in englischer Sprache statt, die sich an Linke aus anderen Mitgliedsstaaten richtete, die hier in Berlin leben. Unter dem Motto »United for a Left Alternative in Europe!« wurde diskutiert, Musik genossen. Mit kleinen Videoclips wurden die Proteste gegen die Krisenauswirkungen und die Troika-Politik in Südeuropa genauso thematisiert wie die Inhalte der Europäischen Linksparteien um unseren Kandidaten für den Kommissionspräsidenten, Alexis Tsipras (SYRIZA, Griechenland), die erfolgreichen Berliner Antinaziproteste vom Vortag sowie der Volksentscheid zum Tempelhofer Feld.

Zur Eröffnung des Meetings durfte ich die Grüße des Landesvorstands überbringen. Auf dem anschließenden Panel diskutierten mit Clara Navarro Ruiz (Izquierda Unida, Spanien), Elena Sidy (SYRIZA, Griechenland), Cécile Blanchet (Front de Gauche, Frankreich) und Judith Benda (DIE LINKE.) Vertreterinnen aus vier europäischen Ländern die Inhalte, Chancen und Perspektiven linker Politik in Europa. Nur mit einer vereinten und starken europäischen Linken ist ein demokratisches, soziales und friedliches Europa möglich. Dafür kämpfen wir gemeinsam – bis zum 25. Mai und auch darüber hinaus!

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Manuskript der Rede

Dear friends,

It is my distinct pleasure to be here this afternoon and I would like to thank the AG Europeans in Berlin for organizing this event and for inviting me.

Today, the European Union finds itself in an unprecedented crisis. Millions of unemployed, poor and socially excluded European citizens are victims of the recent years’ austerity politics. Yet, no one of those, whose lives were dramatically affected by cuts in national welfare programs, caused this crisis. It is an extraordinary injustice that the main victims of a situation are being held responsible for consequences, which they did not cause. It is not the Southern European jobless youth, who dumped billions of Euros in high-risk financial operations! Yet, they are forced to pay for it. While European banks are bailed out at the expenses of taxpayers, welfare programs across Europe are cut back, because a democratically illegitimate troika tells EU member states to do so. This whole process is only possible, because this European Union is neither democratic nor solidary. But it is subject to the logic of free market and competition. To be more precise, the leading actors of the EU willingly decided to make it subject to these mechanisms, for instance with the Lisbon Treaty. This again is allowed by the European Union’s biggest failure: its lack of democracy.

The elections for the European Parliament on May 25th will not change those circumstances at once. But they can mark the beginning of a different Europe. So far, all German parties – except The Left – voted in favor of austerity legislation and bank bailouts. In the EP, the European United Left – Nordic Green Left remains the only parliamentary group that consequently opposes the shift of debts from banks to people. With our common nominee for the President of the European Commission Alexis Tsipras, we have a candidate who has great experience in fighting against austerity politics in Greece and is therefore well-equipped for taking this fight to a European level.

Now, more than ever, Europe needs a strong left-wing force to stop neoliberal agendas wherever they are attempted to be executed in the EU. What we need now is international solidarity instead of local, nationalist and shortsighted solutions. The only way to overcome this crisis is to empower the people that are most affected by it, instead of managing their impoverishment. The other parties have made very clear, what their plans for the next term of the EP is: Continuing the cut-throat austerity programs for affected European member states at the one hand and recapitalizing banks on the other hand, so that they are enabled to make the same high-risk and high-profitable deals that got us into the current mess in the first place. There is no learning from mistakes in their plans. There is no new idea of how to make Europe a livable place for all. All they are willing to do is to perpetuate the current crisis by turning it into normality. The latest economic trade project that the European Union is about to bring upon us is called TTIP – the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the U.S. and the EU. It is nothing else but the creation of largest free trade zone in the world, with dire consequences for social standards, working rights and customer protection in the EU. Again, the negotiations about TTIP are held behind closed doors without any democratic participation or even the slightest transparency. Yet another neoliberal agenda is about to be imposed upon the people of Europe, which will disenfranchise millions of citizens in several parts of their lives.

This has to be stopped; they have to be stopped and only if we stand together as a united European Left we can stop them.

However, the upcoming elections are about more than just preventing the EU from plunging into one crisis after another. It is about rethinking the European Union. We fight for a Europe that is more than just a common economic area. We need a Europe that connects economic integration with a social and ecologic alliance. Our idea of a European Union is one in which economy serves the people and not the other way around. Democratic participation is the first and foremost step towards achieving our goals. Not only needs the European Parliament far more rights than it has now, also the other EU branches need to become subordinate to the EP. For now, this is the only way, which enables the people of Europe to transform their demands into a policy that actually helps them, instead of being governed by a European Commission without any real legitimation.

The European Union is not only responsible for its own. Tragedies and merciless behavior by EU forces are an almost daily occurrence at the EU’s external borders. The treatment of refugees by the EU in general and by its border agency FRONTEX in particular is a crime of a horrendous magnitude. It is not only because the EU partly creates and profits from the conditions in its surrounding regions, why it should admit every refugee. It is simply the right and humane thing to do, regardless of where they come from and why they come here. We want a Europe that sticks to its responsibility for a region that is bigger than itself. We have the chance to create a European Union that, after almost overcoming its inside borders, aims at opening its external borders for everyone who wishes to come here in order to find a better and happier life.

It has often been said that the EU is a historically unprecedented guarantor for peace in Europe. While this statement is already arguable, it is evident that the EU contributes to worldwide conflicts through massive export of arms. While European nations tend to spend less and less money on military, 60% of all European armaments are exported to non-EU countries, including conflict regions in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. The Left party calls for a complete abolition of armament exports of the European Union.

For too long, the people of Europe had to suffer under crisis politics. For too long, undemocratic councils made the major decisions for over 500 million citizens. For too long, the EU committed crimes at its external borders and supplied conflict regions with its weapons.

Now, it is time to change Europe. It is time to prove that a different Europe is possible. It is time to build a social, peaceful and democratic European Union.

Vote for The Left on May, 25th!

Thank you.