Convergences Resulting from the Work of the “Parliamentarians for an Alternative”

Coordinating of left-wing parliamentarians in the struggle for re-founding Europe is one of the political targets which the Party of the European Left has set itself in Paris on 27 October.

70 parliamentarians from 14 countries elected at regional, national and European level gathered in Paris, amongst them Pierre Laurent who is elected senator of France.

The meeting was held at a moment when the governments had taken an additional step in the implementation of austerity policies by signing the Fiscal Pact and just before the protest against these policies, in particular the transnational strike on 14 November – which was also supported by the ETUC –, took place.

What the EL tried to achieve in the meeting was to enable the parliamentarians to exit from the isolation in which the liberal consensus has placed them in their regional and national assemblies and to highlight once more that alternatives to austerity exist.

During the meeting, the parliamentarians denounced the signing of the European fiscal pact, without any popular debate. The parliamentarians notice a continuous loss of trust of the population in their elected representatives. Several initiatives were described showing how some deputies are taking action to overcome this loss of sovereignty, for example:

  • Appealing to the courts to show that the Fiscal Pact is contrary to European laws guaranteeing human rights and democracy;
  • Coordinating at European level the positions of national deputies, as was done successfully on the bill for suppression of the right to strike;
  • Appealing for a “legislative citizen’s initiative”.

The sharing of experiences among parliamentarians has brought about useful insights for the battles on different European political levels, against the policies of austerity and the European Budget Treaty.

According to a report by transform! europe (which also attended the meeting), three axes of convergence emerged during the debate:

1. Democracy: Today there is a confiscation of powers and a restriction of freedoms, including the radical questioning of the rights of parliamentarians to define which policies to pursue. A response is required, all the more so as this development is leading to the end of political deliberation

2. Social development: In opposition to austerity, elected persons on the Left have the responsibility to everywhere propose social development policies (harmonization of social rights, strengthening of public services), “social pacts” as opposed to the Fiscal Pact, etc.

3. Financing: It must be secured that social and human development is financed independently from the financial markets. This implies transforming the role of the ECB, which should finance governments and not banks, taxing the wealth, putting an end to tax evasion and tax havens, and creating a European public bank dedicated exclusively to financing social and ecological measures.

A document outlining the paths of another Europe will be proposed to EL parties and elected representatives, including the struggle for peace and against the installation of NATO military bases.

The presence of Europeans from other countries in our local and national initiatives should be enhanced in order to show solidarity and to pass the message that nobody is let alone in the struggle against austerity and against racist violence.

The sharing of reflections and initiatives for alternatives and solidarity, in support of the battles that we are waging in our countries, could be useful in the battle against the extreme Right. They have already begun to break down the liberal consensus in creating broader alliances over proposals, and some parties of social transformation have advanced in the elections.

Together with transform! the EL would like to pursue an analysis based on the testimonies and proposals given at this meeting of the Parliamentarians for an Alternative: The exigency of neoliberal policies is identical all throughout Europe, but the pattern of its implementation is not the same in each country; the placing of wage-earners in competition among themselves, across the continent, has violent and complicated consequences; the subjectivities of peoples are diverse and the political cultures different. Better understanding these aspects which emerged at this meeting, in particular on the strategies to adopt, would allow for the pursuit of this coordination, all while respecting diversities.
The work foreseen in common between transform! and EL for the year 2013 on the various scenarios for exiting the crisis in the EU should help us to better develop our strategies.


Find here several interviews with participants.