DiEM25 Ghent discussed local problems

On 3 October 2018, DiEM25 Ghent met with Dr Tine de Moor, Professor for Economic and Social History at the University of Utrecht.

The evening began with a screening of the documentary “Our common good”. It presented citizen initiatives with solidarity at their core. Several citizens collectives were presented: energy cooperatives, care cooperatives as well as agricultural associations.

Afterwards, we discussed European budgetary rules which lead to local authorities being basically unable to invest because costs cannot be distributed over a longer period of time. This is why billionaires like Fernand Huts (Huts is the owner of the company “Katoen Natie”) could buy highly valuable land from the public social services centres (CAPS) for almost nothing.

“The situation would be less precarious if Europe would not insist as much on their budgetary rules. Why can local public authorities not take up some debts in order to finance a productive, long-term infrastructure that is also good for the economy,” said Paul de Grauwe. The European budgetary rules, which don’t even work, keep important investments from happening in the town of Gent.

After constructive debates, everyone agreed on several developpements:
– Privatisation goes on and on: the individual is left with the responsibility.
– We have to anticipate more privatisations in the future, de-privatising is expensive.
– The trade unions and health insurance providers are the last bastion against privatisation.
– The resistance against neoliberal politics grows.

DiEM25 and its European Spring partners from France, Denmark, Germany etc. stand for a politics against austerity, neoliberalism and further privatisations. And we will bring our New Deal programme to the ballot box for the European elections 2019.