European Forum 2020
A joint initiative plan for a fairer and a greener Europe
The fourth annual European Forum of Left, Green, and Progressive Forces, the first held completely online, has brought together over 1500 people from 57 countries around Europe, and beyond, to address the health, social, economic and environmental crises facing the continent. More than 950 individuals participated in 54 hours of debate. A total of 22 events were live-streamed across social media platforms and shared by 480 accounts.
160 speakers, moderators and rapporteurs, of which 83 were women and 77 men, led the discussions. The Final Declaration of the Forum, approved by over 140 members of progressive, left and green political parties, trade unions, NGOs and social movements, brings together the outcomes of these debates. It recognizes the urgent need to defend and promote a better Europe, a common space built on social, egalitarian and sustainable foundations, a Union that is fully democratic and plays its part in the construction of a world at peace.
Workers have seen their wages and working conditions, as well as their work-life balance, collapse during the last decades. This tendency is only exacerbated by COVID-19.
A meaningful recovery from the pandemic means reversing this trend. For the Forum, a crucial first step is to support European Citizens’ Initiative, which is campaigning for free access to vaccines and treatments for all. It is calling for concrete legislative action and needs one million signatures to get on the European Commission’s agenda.
But after the vaccine has been rolled out, Europeans need a permanent social safety net that protects them from precariousness, low wages and inequality. To that end, the Forum calls for an end to fiscal austerity pacts and to the politics of endless indebtedness, together with deeper coordination and convergence between all States as a means to ensure social and economic protection to millions of workers. As a step in this direction, an upcoming conference will debate the cancellation of illegitimate public debt and set up an open discussion on the criteria for its classification, and also tackle the new financing conditions for economies, within the framework of recasting the role and mission of the European Central Bank.
A more progressive tax system is key to a fair ecological transition. Europe needs a green plan that guarantees compliance with the Paris Agreement and achieves climate neutrality from 2040, ensuring the transition to 100% renewable energy, linking all green aid to the creation of jobs with fair wages and labour rights. This means taxing big capital and multinational companies together with the abolition of tax havens inside and outside the EU, in tandem with prioritizing internal and regional markets and shortening supply chains to reduce foreign dependency through economic, social and environmental plans. Two events in 2021 will highlight these objectives:
The main demand of this year’s Mayday will be for greater taxation of large companies to help those sectors most affected by the crisis.
World Environment Day on 5th June will be an important opportunity for the left and progressive groups to come together with the environmental movement, as during the Forum, and make a stand for a green Europe.
Also on the agenda for 2021 is International Women’s day. On 8th March, women across the continent will demand a Europe free of patriarchy and the protection of women from the consequences of the crisis, particularly given how it has reinforced regressive gender roles.
Defending public freedoms and citizens’ rights against authoritarianism is more important than ever;Europe must take action against racism and xenophobia. Europe deserves a new, just and sustainable migration policy based on solidarity, and the development of an immigration system that allows for regularization.
Progressive Europe’s history of anti-racism and anti-fascism will be at the center of an event to be organized at the Mathausen concentration camp to mark the victory of Europe against Nazism and fascism on 8th May.
The war and persecution of the past must never be repeated. Priority must go to reactivating international disarmament agreements and supporting initiatives for a new policy collective security, based on détente, peace, and cooperation between Europe and its neighbours, as well as the dismantling of military bases and the reduction of military spending. This means fully committing to the founding Charter of the UN, rejecting the measures of blockade and embargo that the US maintains against Cuba and other countries, measures that have been rejected by the UN as contrary to international law .
Europe is at a turning point. The continent faces multiple crises: the climate, health, economic, social and political systems. The convergence of different political currents (greens, progressives, communists, and socialists, feminists) is crucial to defending and promoting a Europe built on social, egalitarian and sustainable foundations, that is both democratic and anti-militarist.
Stay tuned for information about the implementation of the 2021 action plan !