Reject EU austerity law and the anti-democratic European Union

Joint statement of the Communist Party of Ireland and Communist Party of Britain

The Communist Party of Ireland and the Communist Party of Britain condemn the decision of the December 17 EU summit to seek to amend the European Union Constitutional Treaty without holding national referendums. This represents a blatant disregard of any form of democracy and confirms what those who opposed to the Lisbon Treaty said would happen. It is a further erosion of democracy. 
     The amendment, which requires “strict conditionality” for any form of bailout, will still further strengthen the pro-monopoly, anti-democratic character of the EU. It empowers the EU Commission to take direct control of a member state’s economic and social policy and to use that power to drive down wages and pensions, take control of tax policy and to privatise public assets. 
     In the case of Ireland strict time frames have been imposed, locking the Irish people into a very specific neo-liberal economic model dominated by policies which impose suffering on the less well off in Irish society. The imposed conditions are driven by deficit level targets, as evidenced by the strong emphasis on deadlines for policy and legislative changes. They are coercive, as cash disbursements will depend on the implementation of the agreement, and there is virtually no political flexibility to allow for changes to the content of the agreement imposed upon the Irish people by both the EU and IMF. Vast arbitrary powers have been given to the lenders and savage obligations have been placed upon the people. Capital has rights and labour has obligations. 
     The proposed amendment will now embed in Treaty law the practice of forcing working people to pay for deficits caused by the very rich and finance capital, worsening the underlying problems of inequality and poverty. Across the EU it will strengthen the position of the giant monopolies, enable them to buy up privatised assets and smaller firms and increase still further the problems of uneven development. It will intensify the EU Treaty’s deflationary character and deepen recession. 
     We call for the broadest possible campaign to demand that referendums be held and for this Treaty change to be rejected. The action of the December 2010 EU Summit underlines the inherently anti-democratic character of the EU and the need for working people to consider alternative forms of international economic co-operation that can protect our democratic rights and open the way to popular sovereignty.