Athens Declaration of the 1st Congress of the European Left Party in Athens, 2005
We, the European Left, gathered in Athens on the 29th and 30th of October, 2005, acknowledge that the crisis currently afflicting Europe has no borders, and that the neo-liberal policies decided upon in Brussels and by the national governments are to blame for it. These choices have been made over a period of many years, and the result is in front of our eyes, now.
We also acknowledge that the peoples of Europe, who have suffered most from these policies, are fighting against them and looking for alternatives. Europe needs to be re-established on a foundation of peace, democracy and full respect for social and human rights. This is our commitment and our hope: European citizens must take their destiny into their own hands.
This action and declaration of solidarity is likewise an appeal for unity addressed to all movements and left political forces that are striving to reverse priorities and to change the policies that have been implemented up to the present.
The European Left and its member parties are committed to fight together with social movements, trade unions, and political left forces for another Europe, which is possible. In this context, we fully support all European mobilizations and initiatives against neo-liberalism and war, particularly the Fourth European Social Forum to be held in Athens.
We are committed to eradicating the tragedy of unemployment and job insecurity. We are committed to fight against social exclusion, to support employment programmes, to work for the creation of new jobs, for the reduction of working hours, and the conversion of insecure and part-time work into steady, decently paid jobs. Therefore the European Left will develop its own set of proposals. We support all policies that fight and strive to stop job cuts and we also condemn fraudulent bankruptcies and relocations. We believe it is essential to preserve and rebuild social welfare systems (including public pensions) and to take life-long learning as a priority. We demand a new model of production, distribution and consumption.
We fight for the immediate withdrawal of the Bolkestein Directive and the GATS (General Agreement on Trade and Services)
The deregulation of employment in Europe and the social dumping in the developing countries are two sides of the same coin. Both give benefits exclusively to the multinationals, increasing competition among the working people and affecting women in particular. A specific programme must be drawn up to establish a new relationship between productive and reproductive work, equal wages to overcome the sexual division of labour.
Instead of relocation, we propose that working hours and conditions be improved, that production be subject to environmental considerations, and that welfare and wage systems be empowered. Greater transparency, improved democracy and more worker's power in the workplace are fundamental demands. It is by defending rights, not abolishing them, that we can achieve a more just world.
We insist on an urgent reorientation of EU budget and monetary policies. The European Central Bank should be democratically controlled and placed at the service of employment and of development, which should be free of the demands of the financial markets, with particular attention to the less developed EU regions. We demand an end to the stability pact, in favour of social policies at European level.
We promote the strengthening of public services at local, regional, national and European levels.
We are against privatisations and the neo-liberal directives that promote the commercialization of public resources and services such as water, energy, culture, education and health care. Basic services must not be regulated by profit, but by the quality levels demanded by the population. We oppose migration policies oriented to police action and the so-called fight against terrorism
The recent Lampedusa, Amsterdam and Melilla events, the situation of hundreds of so-called boat people in Italy and Greece and the deplorable conditions in the migrant detention centres reveal the inhuman cruelty and bankruptcy of Fortress Europe. A new policy must be formulated and implemented, based on respect for human dignity and equal labour rights that are an essential part of the labour movement in Europe, which will legalise all migrants and demand strategic support for development. We stand for a world without war and demand a European Peace policy against the military logic of the superpowers' warfare
We fight for the development of European cooperation and solidarity to promote peace. Europe does not need an aggressive alliance – one that disrupts and challenges the role of the UN – to secure peace and to establish peaceful relations with all countries of the world. We call on the people of Europe to demand that their countries withdraw from the NATO military structure, and that all NATO and US military bases be abolished. NATO, in its present form, is unacceptable and the demand for its abolition is absolutely essential.
Disarmament must become the primary issue in a Europe based on peace. The European Left demands a reduction of national military expenditure. Europe must be a continent free from weapons of mass destruction. All European armies must withdraw from Iraq immediately. The peace movement cannot slow down its actions. We are fully committed to its objectives, namely the mobilisation of public opinion in solidarity with the Palestinian people and the Israeli pacifist forces. There will be no peace in the region without a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, based on UN resolutions. This must be the European priority, within the framework of the quartet responsible for the "road map", as well as the destruction of the wall and the immediate withdrawal of foreign troops from the occupied territories.
We oppose the authoritarian offensive against civil liberties, social, labour and democratic rights.
The extraordinary legislation being approved by governments is an offensive against individual and collective rights that were the product of long democratic struggles. We will fight to stop this dangerous trend, for no security can be built that opposes freedom and democracy.
Yes, we can change Europe!
We, the European Left, are fully committed to this challenge.
Our perspective is peaceful, socialist, ecological and radically democratic.
Our perspective is also a feminist one, for gender equality and democracy in all domains of life are far from being real.
Our perspective recognises diversity in individual life options.
Our perspective is internationalist, opens Europe to the world and promotes cultural exchanges, cooperation and new solidarity.
Our perspective considers the Mediterranean a region fundamental to world peace.
Change is a necessity. There is a profound gap between citizens and political elites. The victory of the "No" forces against the Constitutional Treaty expresses the degree of this split. The majority of the population is not against Europe. The majority voted against the liberal and arrogant policies that have brought the crisis into our daily lives.
Today, the treaty is politically dead. This fact is the basis for an expanded debate on the present, so that the future of Europe can look forward to a new prosperity. We will participate in a broad citizens' movement that will work for a manifesto or a charter of the social and political rights appropriate to the Europe we want.
Yes, we can change Europe!
The parties signing the declaration are the following:
- Austria - Communist Party (KPO)
- Belgium - Communist Party (CPB)
- Czech Republic - Party of Democratic Socialism (SDS)
- Estonia - Left Party (ELP)
- France - Communist Party (PCF)
- Germany - Left Party/PDS
- Greece - Coalition of the Left, of Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos/SYN)
- Hungary - Workers Party
- Italy - Communist Refoundation
- Luxemburg - The Left (Dei Lenk)
- Portugal - Left Bloc (BE)
- Romania - Socialist Alliance Party (SAP)
- San Marino - Communist Refoundation
- Spain - United Left, Communist Party, United and Alternative Left of Catalunya (IUeA)
- Switzerland - Party of Labour