In February, DiEM25 Belgium held its first ‘DiEM25 asks’ event of 2018, at the Muntpunt Grand Café in Brussels. This is what we asked: Do we need to wait for EU reform to change Europe?
Instead of falling into a mix of despair and retreat in the face of the multiple crises and the extreme right, the participants constructively put together the elements of action needed to change Europe from the bottom-up, concretely.
1. First, the democratisation of Europe needs to happen at all levels
Contrary to those seeking relief in the national state or the pure market, the participants were convinced that only when progressive forces unite to design coherent policies at all political levels – from the local to the European level – can credible and sustainable political alternatives come to life. This is a call to all progressives in Europe to focus on the change we want: by democratising all policy levels and by creating a strong European progressive platform that connects people, ideas and policies. Only by joining forces and formulating a common vision for the 21st century can progressive change become a viable alternative.
2. Second, the increasing disintegration, militarisation and deregulation of and in Europe, goes hand in hand with its de-democratisation
Neither liberal democracies that only focus on procedural democratic rights nor regimes that focus solely on social rights, can be successful. The basis of democracy, human rights, consists of both democratic (e.g. right to vote) and social rights (e.g. right to basic resources). No sustainable change can be achieved if one is pursued without the other. DiEM25 is convinced that Europe is reformable and that the collapse of the EU would be even worse than staying in Europe. The rights of minorities, labour rights, freedom of association, freedom from violence and all others are on equal footing and the only legitimate moral basis for politics.
3. And third, we can already take concrete steps as of tomorrow, if we organise ourselves – be part of it!
Within the Lisbon Treaty, we could establish social and investment programmes that help people and initiatives that need it the most, everywhere in Europe. A Green Investment Programme could bring sustainable growth, necessary investment (Europe is under-investing) and climate change mitigation together. An anti-poverty programme would help all people affected by poverty (in some member states these may include the unemployed, in-work poverty, refugees, pensioners etc.) and increase purchasing power, refueling the European economy. And finally, a Digital Public Payments system for all taxpayers could reduce the State’s dependency on banks, helping to prevent future financial crises.
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