Sunday, October 6, 2013

EU Democracy?

Cyprus` experience and European decisions

Article by Andros Kyprianou, General Secretary of the C.C. of AKEL
In Cyprus, for various reasons there is a lack of information on the decisions taken in the European Union. Even when this information is presented, it is often inadequate. More often than not, the analysis is biased. The official reading of EU decisions is usually characterised by wishful thinking and based on mere declarations. To the people these decisions do not correspond to their own reality. But behind these declarations lies the essence, which now implemented in practice, affects everyone.

Besides, there are two sides to these decisions. On the one hand, one truth stating the following: Our people have seen from their own experience how these decisions are taken when the haircut on deposits was called a "solidarity fee". It was at that time when the political attacks against workers, small and middle strata and young people were labelled as the "policy of consolidating the economy". Since the current government does not understand, or rather pretends it doesn't understand that this is the reality, given that it didn't react to or oppose this policy. Consequently, it assumes the full responsibility for the major decisions taken to the detriment of the Cypriot people.

The second truth states that no serious policy decision of the European Union is taken without a clash; a conflict of interests, between states and ruling classes depending on their power, mainly economic power. This power depends on the level of development of the productive forces of each country and other factors.
Germany imposes its position, not because it is a "bad" country - on the contrary. The economic system itself and political decisions, including the new Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (2009), create the preconditions for the domination of the strong over the weak. The role of small states, in general the role of the weak in this equation, either of the workers or the poor, is very limited.

The terms adopted with the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union favour the powerful and the mighty. The Treaty was not approved by a referendum, or through popular consultation. This is not by chance. In the only country where a referendum was held, namely Ireland, the "No" vote of the people was turned into a yes vote, when a second referendum was imposed on the country and people. Neither was the French "No" vote heeded and respected. On the contrary, it served as the pretext to eliminate the possibility of holding a referendum in every state. The so-called unbridled competitiveness included in the Treaty, namely exploitation at its full development under capitalism, is the framework we are living today, four years after its adoption and in the midst of the severe economic crisis.

The concentration of powers in the directorate of Brussels which in turn serves the interests of the powerful is another result of the Treaty. The imposition of the neoliberal orthodoxy declaring that states must enforce surplus budgets, implement cuts in social policies and an aggressive policy on wages and rights is the consequence of handing this power over to the ruling circles of Brussels. AKEL voted against the Treaty and was subsequently criticized for its position. Today, a more calm and prudent reflection can demonstrate what its implementation has led to.

However, when the people realize their own strength and power, then the real prospect for fundamental changes will exist. Such awareness seems to be growing in many EU countries. Today, 67% of Europeans, according to the latest barometer conducted in the EU, believe that their voice is not being heard by the EU. Cypriots share the same view, as reflected in the record figure of 89% of the population. 72% of Europeans believe that the situation in the EU is negative, whilst 98% of Cypriots consider the situation in Cyprus as negative.

Recognizing the real situation offers the basis for the waging of political and social struggle which can lead to change, regardless of whether the ruling forces in the European Union and the government do not even want to hear about this. For them, everything will continue as planned with some "collateral damage"... For the people though?

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