Ready for Europe

20 January 2009

Ready for Europe

On 4th June elections will be held for the European Parliament. These elections are growing in importance, because Europe is playing an ever greater role, whether you want it to or not. In the 1950s it was a matter of six countries which had made agreements over economic cooperation. In 2009 it's twenty-seven member states, 750 Euro-MPs and a European Commission with countless officials in its employ. Around this circle at least 10,000 lobbyists from corporations and organisations.

By Jasper van Dijk

Jasper van DijkThe European Union has become a political corporation in which thousands of people earn their crust. If only for that reason it's important that the SP has a presence in Brussels: as a watchdog against unnecessary bureaucracy and shows of strength, but also as the pioneer of a more intelligent, slimmed-down Europe. .

European politicians have a tendency to take more power upon themselves. They describe 'more Europe' as inevitable and dream up, at a considerable distance, all sorts of measures for more than 500 million inhabitants: over the thickness of a bicycle chain, for a ban on cigarette lighters or on the degree to which a banana must bend. And even, if they can, over a common defence policy or the privatisation of public services.

That we in Europe are cooperating in the area of environmental policy, the economy and security is good. But cooperation must be voluntary. The supporters of 'more Europe' take no satisfaction from this. They want more power for Brussels and less power for the member states. This is leading to more interference, to a forced sell-off of public services such as public transport, health care, energy and social housing - because the free market is sacred in Brussels.

Now that the referendum on the European Constitution is almost four years in the past, you notice that the other big parties – the PvdA (Labour), the Christian Democratic CDA, and the right-wing liberals of the VVD are slowly returning to their old positions. If we don't remind them, they would really like to forget the lessons of that referendum. In that case the unnecessary interference, removal of powers from the member states and undemocratic decision-making will continue in Brussels. In short, the SP is ready for Europe.

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