European Attac Network

“Seven principles to free our societies from the domination of financial markets”

Since 2007, a global crisis is shaking the world’s economy and the EU is at the center of it. Instead of being part of the solution the European Union is unable and unwilling to change its neoliberal orientation, worsening the economic, social and democratic crisis. Its economic policies are exacerbating the social, economic and ecological crisis, putting democracy at danger.

The European Central Bank (ECB) and the Euro are the symbols of these policies, which are handing the keys of the economy to private banks and financial markets under the pretext of a so-called public debt crisis.

At the same time, the Troika (the European Commission, the ECB and the IMF) and the governments of the EU are tearing apart social welfare and imposing destructive austerity measures, making people pay for debts for which they are not responsible.

The neoliberal model of European integration has worsened the gap between core and periphery countries and widened existing inequalities both in and outside of Europe by encouraging social, environmental and fiscal dumping.

EU governments have gone one step further in the denial of democracy, imposing technocratic processes on their peoples and Parliaments, sometimes even installing their own representatives (such as in Greece and Italy), to implement destructive debt reducing policies. The democratic functioning of the EU is further compromised by the creation of an informal directorate – the so-called ‘Frankfurt group’, consisting of Germany’s chancellor, France’s president, the head of ECT, the head of the Eurogroup, the head of the IMF and both EU presidents – which issues strategic policy decisions in the name of the urgency of the crisis. In this way, the already fragile legitimacy of the EU and its decision-making process is further undermined.

The European Attac Network is strongly opposed to the current form of European integration and to the Euro as it is currently functioning because they subordinate the interests and the needs of the people to the interests of financial markets.

The question whether to exit the Euro or to deepen the present form of European integration in no way addresses all core elements of the global crisis. The urgency now is to break free from domination by financial markets and promote a coordinated set of progressive economic, monetary, social and ecological policies. To this end, citizens and social movements have to struggle at national and European level to change the rules underlying the present economic and institutional system – and make another Europe possible!

To free our societies from the domination of financial markets and to coordinate progressive economic, monetary, social and ecological policies, we must pursue the following seven principles:

Remove public finances from financial markets: allow democratic public financing, through a democratically controlled central bank lending directly to governments.

Escape from the debt trap: end austerity policies and set up debt audits leading to debt cancellations. Banks and private financial actors need to take their share of losses.

Give state finances a sustainable basis: coordinated increase in taxation of wealth and corporate profits to promote tax cooperation with the goal to eradicate fiscal dumping. End tax evasion and implement a “financial embargo” of tax havens.

Disarm financial markets and put the banking sector under public control: forbid harmful speculative mechanisms (e.g. high-frequency trading, naked short selling, speculation on derivatives, over-the-counter agreements), and impose a tax on all financial transactions at a rate of at least 0.1%; strictly regulate banks (e.g. separate retail from investment banks, dismantle “too big to fail” banks).

Allow public and democratic financing of the economy: build up a public and cooperative banking sector under democratic control, to ensure the financing of social and economics needs, guarantee social rights and finance ecological transition. Trade policies should be revised to adhere to these objectives, in cooperation with developing countries.

Europe for the people, not for profits: Promote coordinated set of progressive economic and social policies, and reinstate and expand democratically controlled public services, to reduce imbalances, promote the ecological transition of economies, foster high quality employment, promote gender equality and expand basic social and economic rights (health, education, housing, mobility, food, access to water and energy, information, culture, social welfare etc.) and ensure that they are provided through a publicly owned-network of services.

Real democracy now: Engage in a constituent process aimed at democratizing decision-making at all levels; support and promote a public, transparent and accountable debate about visions forEurope and about alternative EU policies.