New Economic Governance of the EU at the European Parliament

On 13 and 14 October, transform!’s working group on New Economic Governance organized a tight workshop at the European Parliament under the title ‘Is it possible to reform the Economic Governance of the EU?’.

The event was also supported from the delegation of Izquierda Unida in GUE/NGL. The workshop was structured around the following axes (See the programme here):

  • Institutions and constitutional change in the EU during the management of the economic crisis
  • The economic dimension of the new economic governance: transformation or total change?
  • Austerity and modern capitalist mode of production: the new economic governance of the EU
  • The social dimension of the economic governance: alternative perspectives

The initial idea was to address this question through a multidisciplinary way and to give space to the different perspectives that are active in this debate. Verily, during the discussions, the perspective of the unsustainability of the euro, as well as the one about a politics of transformation of the EU, were developed. Furthermore, some participants evaluated as negative to analyze the euro and the eurozone crisis in terms of the (structural) viability of the model, considering that the European ruling classes and the political elites have starkly opted in favor of such a strategic project.

Some of the contributions highlighted the significance of analyzing the economic crisis in general and the crisis of the EU specifically, under the perspective of the crisis of the neoliberal and financial capitalism as a model of production, of social and power relations, as an ideology.

For a part of the participants there is a relationship between the management of the economic crisis and the role of the German ordo-liberalism. This relationship between economy and politics gives a predominant role to the automatic operation of rules and norms and this is precisely what deteriorates the crisis of democracy and legitimacy within the EU.

The questions of democracy and legitimacy of the economic governance were of great significance during the discussions. All the participants agreed on how all the institutions – related with the economic governance to deal with the crisis – made the democratic deficit deeper and more profound. These institutions represent the direct attack on the democratic foundations of the European Union and its Member States.

To sum up, two different points of view of the radical left can be abstracted from the debates in relation to the total evaluation of the EU project.

The position of abandoning the European framework may have two motives:

  1. The European project is inherently invalid.
  2. The radical left will never make its strategy prevail in terms of gaining a majority within Europe; this is more likely to happen within the national framework of some individual European countries. 

The position of remaining within the European framework entails the following:

  1. Europe is also a space of European people’s solidarity and common struggles.
  2. The political struggles within the European institutions are consistent with the struggles within individual countries, within the national states. If we consider states as a political battlefield, we consider also the European context as such.  

The main goal for now is not to pick a final side on this debate, but rather to create the space for a dialogue that is needed within the European Left, without taboos and exclusions. All kind of actors should be involved in this procedure, politicians, social movements, progressive NGOs, activists, trade unionists. The European Left should rethink about its very identity so to rebuild the social and political alliances that are necessary on the road towards the social and political emancipation.

transform!’s project on the New Economic Governance of the EU

Several preparatory meetings have been held in Brussels for the preparation of this particular workshop.

From the very beginning of this activity it was suggested that the final outcome would be a report that will compose a critical analysis of the European economic governance. The report’s analysis will be the result of a broad spectrum of different opinions and perspectives collected in the various meetings and activities of the working group.

The report will be published in January 2017 and a wide group of academics and researchers who have expressed their interest are contributing in this effort. This is also the considerable added value of this initiative: to open a debate of such a kind to a broad spectrum of participants and actors, the vast majority of them collaborating with transform! for the very first time. Considering the fact that the workshop was attended also by GUE/NGL’s MEP Paloma López and members of GUE’s staff, there is a strong will for the cooperation between the two entities (transform! and GUE/NGL) to be strengthened. transform!, as a European political foundation of the left, and the political foundation related to the Party of the European Left is willing to contribute, by all possible means, to the political work of the left parties throughout the European Parliament. transform! should assume a more active role within GUE/NGL’s planning and political strategy by providing a high quality expertise, as it is a reference point within the European left think tanks.