Appeal to the left parties in the European Parliament: don't support militarization!
Progressive parties in the European Parliament passed a resolution in response to the European long-term budget, rightly denouncing a number of austerity measures, but also demanding more money for the militarization of the EU. A call from peace forces not to agree.
On 23 July, the vast majority of the Left Group (GUE/NGL) in the European Parliament approved, together with the social democratic (S&D), Green and rightist (EPP, Renew) parties, a resolution which opposes the ‘European deal’ of 21 July, in which the Council of the European heads of state and government reached an agreement on a European recovery plan and the multi-annual budget.
There is indeed much to be said against this deal, which was a compromise to meet the concerns of the ‘frugal’ member states, led by the Netherlands, which explain the problems of southern states like Italy and Spain as the consequence of their ‘irresponsible’ budgetary policy. The deal implied the reduction of a number of items of the recovery plan and the EU budget, including health and climate. That is a valid reason for opposition, also from the left. But the resolution of the European Parliament requests not only the restoration of the original amounts of money for socially responsible causes, but also for absolutely indefensible ones. The two most reprehensible items are the European Defence Fund and the Integrated Border Management Fund.
The Defence Fund is a surreptitious way of channelling European money to the military industry under the guise of ‘industrial policy’. The 21 July deal grants ‘only’ 7 billion for this fund. The military-industrial lobby is of course disappointed, because initially 13 billion € was foreseen. We cannot accept that left and progressive parties support a request for more money for the militarization of Europe.
And there is the ‘Integrated Border Management Fund’. By endorsing the Parliament resolution, the left-wing group calls for the strengthening of Frontex, the EU’s increasingly militarised approach to migration and asylum policy, responsible for thousands of drowning people in the Mediterranean, for outsourcing border surveillance to dictatorial regimes. This policy that has already been condemned by several humanitarian organisations, and can in no way be supported by progressive forces.
It should also be remarked that the resolution is silent on the conditions which, according to the European deal of 21 July, will be attached to the allocation of grants and loans from the Recovery Fund to the Member States. By supporting the resolution, one keeps quiet about this ‘money in exchange for neoliberal reforms’ horse trade.
We conclude that the resolution fundamentally contradicts progressive views in general, and the programmes of left-wing parties in the EU in particular. By approving it, the already severely weakened left in Europe makes itself superfluous.
The signatories of this call urge the left fraction in the European Parliament and its member parties to seriously reconsider their strategic options. We also appeal to the progressive forces in the social democratic, green and other parties to resist the militarization of Europe and an increasingly inhuman and antisocial policy.
Agir pour la Paix (Belgium), Belgische Coalitie stop uranium wapens, Bruxelles Panthères, Comité Surveillance OTAN, (Belgium), Communist Party of Finland, International Coordinating Committee of “No to war – no to NATO”, Leuvense Vredesbeweging (Belgium), Links Ecologisch Forum (LEF, Belgium), Mouvement Citoyen Palestine (Belgium), Socialist Democracy (Ireland), Stop Wapenhandel (Netherlands); Vredesactie (Belgium), Vrede vzw (Belgium)
Dirk Adriaensens, Brussells Tribunal (Belgium); Tassos Anastassiadis, member TPT, journalist (Greece); Karel Arnaut, antropologist, KU Leuven (Belgium); Jean Batou, solidaritéS/Ensemble à Gauche, member Geneva Parliament (Switzerland); Reiner Braun, Kampagne Stopp Air Base Ramstein (Germany); Ingeborg Breines, former president International Peace Bureau (Norway); Bob Brown, All-African People’s Revolutionary Party (USA); Marijke Colle, ecofeminist, member SAP (Belgium); Filip De Bodt, Climaxi (Belgium); Ludo De Brabander, Vrede (Belgium); Lieven De Cauter, Philosopher, RITCS, School of Arts, & Department of Architecture KULeuven; Herman De Ley, Em. Professor, Ghent University (Belgium); Klaus Dräger, former policy advisor of the GUE/NGL on employment & social affairs (Germany); Yannis Felekis, member TPT, immigrant support activist (Greece); Pierre Galand, former senator Parti Socialiste (Belgium); Eloi Glorieux, former member Flemish Parliament, peace and ecological activist; Kees Hudig, editor Globalinfo.nl (Netherlands); Anton Jäger, University of Cambridge/Université Libre de Bruxelles; Ulla Jelpke, member of German Parliament (DIE LINKE); Dimitris Konstantakopoulos, editor defenddemocracy.press, former member of the Secretariat of SYRIZA (Greece); Stathis Kouvélakis; Costas Lapavitsas, Prof. of Economics, SOAS (London), former member of the Greek Parliament; Tamara Lorincz, PhD candidate, Wilfrid Laurier University, (Canada); Herman Michiel, editor Ander Europa (Belgium); Anne Morelli, honorary professor ULB (Belgium); Karl-Heinz Peil, Friedens- und Zukunftswerkstatt (Frankfurt, Germany); Lucien Perpette, member Fourth International (Slovenia); Stefanie Prezioso, member Swiss Parliament; Matthias Reichl, press speaker, Center for Encounter and active Non-Violence (Austria); Nordine Saïdi, decolonial activist (Belgium); Catherine Samary, Alter-European economist (France); Ingeborg Schellmann, member Attac (Germany); Rae Street, activist against NATO (UK); Daniel Tanuro, ecosocialist, author, member Gauche Anticapitaliste (Belgium); Eric Toussaint, spokesperson CADTM International; José Van Leeuwen, Docp/BDS, Netherlands, Willy Verbeek, president Beweging.net Herent (Belgium); Andy Vermaut, climate and peace initiative Pimpampoentje, president PostVersa (Belgium); Marie-Dominique Vernhes, in the name of 12 members of the working group ‘Europa’ of Attac Germany; Asbjørn Wahl, author and trade union adviser (Norway); Prof. David Webb, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (UK); Andreas Wehr, Marx-Engels-Zentrum Berlin; Thomas Weyts, member SAP (Belgium); Thodoris Zeis, member TPT, lawyer, refugees and immigrant support (Greece); Bob Zomerplaag, Enschede voor Vrede (Netherlands).