The ODP (Turkey) and the Espacio Alternativo current of the United Left (Spain) which were at Lisbon were unable to attend the meeting in Paris but continue to be associated with the ongoing process.
New participants were The Left (Luxembourg), Solidarities (Switzerland) and Manifesto (Greece).
The Left is a regroupment of the ex-CP, the USFI group and Greens which has one MP and local councillors. Solidarities is a substantial organisation which has local and cantonal councillors and also a strong presence in the trade union movement and in various campaigns. Manifesto is at the moment only a journal involving people from different backgrounds, not yet an organisation.
Also present was a member of the Socialist Party, Swedish section of the USFI, and a delegation from the London Socialist Alliance, also representing the Socialist Alliances of England. The delegation was composed of Greg Tucker (secretary) Marcus Larsen (chair) and Rob Hoveman, who also represented the SWP. The Socialist Party (England and Wales) was invited and was represented by an observer, who was in fact a Swedish comrade of the CWI who is currently studying in Paris.
Three other organisations sent apologies: Zutik (Basque Country), the Polish Socialist Party (PPS) and the Movement of Patriotic Unity from (Turkish-controlled) Northern Cyprus. Zutik is an organisation originating in a fusion of Maoist and Trotskyist groups, which has in the past collaborated with Herri Batasuna (political wing of ETA) but has recently broken with it because Herri Batasuna refuses to condemn ETA's current campaign of bombings and assassinations. It has a number of local councillors in the Basque Country. The PPS is a party of several thousand members with one MP. The Movement of Patriotic Unity unites people of different socialist backgrounds and obtained 4% of the votes in recent elections. They could not come to Paris because the offices of their newspaper had just been bombed. The Greek comrade was mandated to represent them. He explained that in Northern Cyprus there was what he described as an intifada of the Turkish Cypriot youth against the Turkish military occupation.
Ten years after the Maastricht Treaty the EU is preparing at the meeting in Nice, under the French presidency for a new stage: a European superpower.
Over these ten years the EU has shown the extent to which it is an anti-social and anti-democratic constitution, a war machine against the working and popular classes of Europe and the world.
The EU desperately continues to lack popular support and political legitimacy. The Danishno is the latest example of this. The recent European wide struggles against the neo-liberal policy of the EU and the growing resistance against the impact of capitalist globalisation, embodied by the IMF and the World Bank. The responsibility of this reactionary offensive lies with the national governments of the member states. The Social-Democratic parties, supported by some Communist Parties and Greens in government (France, Germany, Italy), have applied these liberal policies even more efficiently than the conservative bourgeois parties. A large part of the European trade union movement has backed them in doing this. The EFTU, instead of developing militant trade union activity, has aligned itself with the EC in the name of lesser evilism.
We anti-capitalist parties and movements in Europe struggle against the EUs institutions and policies. We struggle in favour of another Europe social, democratic, ,peaceful and based on workers solidarity a democratic, socialist society. We struggle for a radical change of policy; perspective and society. We struggle to stop immediately the autocratic machinery of the Council of Ministers and the permanent Intergovernmental Conference.
Nice opens a new stage in the history of the EU that openly shows its imperialist ambitions, defending, as they say, its interests all over the world. The conclusions drawn by the governments of the EU from the Balkan wars will be put into practice.
First, they are creating a European armed force, which will intervene as part of NATO or separately; but with its priority being to stabilise and hegemonise its own periphery. This policy of remilitarisation can only succeed if it is combined with a 'Euro-militarist ideological offensive. We will fight against the rise of the EUs military power as we have previously fought against the militarism of NATO and our own governments
Second, the Nice summit aims to carry through the economic conquest of Eastern Europe, imposing the neo-liberal rules of the EU upon these countries (the so-called acquis communitaire). For us Europe goes well beyond the EU. We are in favour of voluntarily uniting our continent, but through working class solidarity and co-operation. We are in favour of the free movement of people and are in favour of open immigration into the EU and of their right to full citizenship.
Third, European governments are playing a vanguard role in the WTO in growing inter-imperialist competition with the US and Japan (and some countries of the third world). The EU governments want to reform the Treaty (Article 133) and give a free hand to theCommission. It is clear that our struggle against the EU is part of the rising struggle against the impacts of capitalist globalisation, especially following the Seattle mobilisation, and in favour of internationalist solidarity with all oppressed and exploited people in the world.
Fourth,the reform of the EU institutions (the enlargement of qualified majority voting instead of the right of veto; a smaller Commission; reweighting of the countries in the Council of Ministers and giving more voting rights to the big three of Germany, France and Britain; the freer use of 'enhanced co-operation between some governments in some fields) paves the way for a cabinet of Germany, France and Britain and a much stronger executive leadership. This is the indispensable tool to lead this imperialist Europe in the coming economic, political and military battles on a world scale. We reject this anti-democratic reform as it strengthens the executive power in the EU.
Fifth, the proposed Charter of Fundamental Rights is a radical setback to the rights that the labour movement has won during the past 150 years. The right to work is replaced the freedom to work under any conditions; the right to a decent living wage and a viable minimum income is replaced by social assistance and philanthropy. The right to strike is not recognised at European level. This draft charter is a step backwards from most national and international legislation. This reactionary charter might become European ,law, taking precedence over national laws. The EC might have the right to enforce its application. The European Court of Justice would have the sovereign power to judge. This charter will be a powerful lever for the bosses and governments to undermine the rights of the working classes. We are opposed to the contents of the Charter and, logically, against its inclusion in the Treaty.
Each of us struggles in our country and all together on a European scale, to reverse this neo-liberal policy, in favour of the principle: social needs before profit. This means: the right to a stable and full-time job for everyone; a decent living wage and state pension (unemployment and sickness benefit), healthcare, housing, education and professional training. This will require: the redevelopment of the public sector and the reorganisation of state budgets, a massive redistribution of wealth from capital to labour and all the necessary anti-capitalist measures to change private property into social property.