Location France France

European Workers Conference (Paris, 12 and 13 May 2018)

Final Declaration

Meeting 25 years after the signing of the Maastricht Treaty, we, workers (1), youth and labour movement activists from Belarus, Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Macedonia, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, the Spanish State, Switzerland and Turkey, meeting in Paris on 12 and 13 May 2018, have responded to the appeal issued by activists from France, Germany and Italy, which said:

This Europe is not our Europe. As activists for democracy within the labour movement we are internationalists: all the workers of Europe are our class brothers and sisters. We want a Europe that is open to all, both from within the EU’s borders and from outside (…). We want a Europe of the workers and democracy without borders and restrictions, a free alliance of the free peoples and nations and the free workers throughout Europe.

Having concluded our deliberations, we note the following:

Like all of the workers and peoples of Europe, we desire peace and fraternity between the peoples. But we note that 25 years after the murderous wars that broke up Yugoslavia, once again war is on the agenda. War once again threatens the Balkans. War is being waged by the governments of the big powers and by the European Commission, lining up behind Trump (and his predecessors), in the Middle East and in Africa. War that is responsible for the forced exile of tens of thousands of refugees who are being welcomed with baton-blows and razor wire. War that has led Trump to demand and obtain increases in military budgets equivalent to 2 per cent of countries’ gross domestic product. We say: never again! The peoples of Europe do not want war! They want a Europe of fraternal peace with the peoples of the world!

We desire democracy and the peoples’ right to self-determination. But we note that behind the grand speeches about democracy, the European Union and its institutions have lined up with one voice behind the Spanish monarchy and the Rajoy government, refusing the Catalan people the right to determine their own future and to live in a Republic, which they expressed in the referendum of 1 October 2017. The European Union supports the repression and is condoning the fact that dozens of political prisoners are rotting in Spanish prisons! We say: Respect the peoples’ right to self- determination! Free all the Catalan political prisoners! Cancel all the legal prosecutions and allow the exiles to return!

We desire equal rights and the preservation of working women’s gains. But we are obliged to note that in fact it is in the name of European directives hypocritically calling for “gender equality” that those rights are being ripped to shreds, from the ban on nightwork for women in industry being called into question, via the closing down of day-care centres, to the restriction of maternity leave. We demand the restoration of all of the social and democratic rights of working women!

We desire labour rights for all, especially a guarantee that the younger generations will enjoy all of the rights, gains and benefits won through more than 150 years of class struggle. But the fact is that nobody can deny that in every country of the European Union, and even in other countries through the EU’s Association Agreements, every single right has been put into question one after the other, in the name of the sacrosanct “free and undistorted competition” of the European treaties and in the name of servicing the debt for the benefit of the bankers serving the interests of the capitalist system. This policy has been largely accompanied by the misnamed European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC). The privatisation of public enterprises and public services (schools, hospitals, the post office, the railways…), the calling into question of Labour Codes and collective bargaining agreements (and its consequences: the spread of lay-offs and precarious and temporary employment), but also the calling into question of democratic rights, are now the rule in every country where the European directives are being applied. We say: Defend and win back all of the rights and gains won through the class struggle! Renationalise everything that has been privatised! No to the diktats of the treaties and the European directives! Ban lay-offs and precarious and temporary employment! Independence for the labour organisations!

So truly, no, this Europe is not our Europe!
 It is the Europe of Capital and war.
 To this Europe of war, of the European treaties and institutions, to this “prison of the peoples”, we counterpose

the Workers’ International and the fight for a Europe of the workers and democracy.
 We hereby make a commitment to fight against the escalation to war. The task of mobilising the workers against warmongering falls to the workers, the peoples and the labour organisations. We accept this task.

In 2019, European elections will take place. Beyond the legitimate positions and commitments which each person may have in their own country in relation to this choice, for us it will be an opportunity for us to come together once again to say that this Europe is not our Europe, and to advance the cause of a Workers’ Europe.

We propose that in April 2019 we hold a big international rally in Strasbourg, the seat of the European Union’s “Parliament”, where we will give a platform to all those who, like us, say

This Europe is not our Europe! Repeal the European treaties and the European directives! For a Europe of the workers and democracy! Down with war, down with exploitation!
 For a free union of the peoples and workers of the whole of Europe!

In order to coordinate the exchange of information between us and to maintain our link of labour unity, we hereby constitute ourselves as the European Liaison Committee for a Workers’ Europe.

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(1) Workers, i.e. all those – manual and intellectual wage-earners, unemployed people who have been deprived of a job, both active and retired, young workers in training – who can only make a living by selling their labour-power.

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