Speech by Jerónimo de Sousa, General Secretary, Rally «No more submission to the European Union and the Euro»

No more submission to the European Union and the Euro on behalf of the workers' interests, the people and the country's development

No more submission to the European Union and the Euro on behalf of the workers' interests, the people and the country's development

Perhaps never as today is it necessary to give strength and materialize the banner that brings us here and that states "No more submission to the European Union and the Euro", in name of the interest of the workers, people, the development of the country, and national sovereignty and independence.

For long has the Country been at a cross-roads that demands taking options. The option between continuing the painful and drawn-out path that has led to impoverishment and a persistent crisis that the national policy of submission to the European Union and the Euro imposes, or beginning a new path with another policy – patriotic and left-wing – capable of promoting the development of the country and affirming the right of our people to decide its future, in a Europe that we wish be of cooperation between sovereign countries and equal in rights – a path of genuine rupture with the path followed to date by successive governments of PSD [Social Democrat Party], CDS [Popular Party] and PS [Socialist Party] and by the European Union, conceived to serve the big monopolies a
nd the great national and foreign interests, and not peoples.

Today, there is no propaganda maneuver that can mask the serious consequences and the disastrous results of the process of capitalist integration of the European Union for the lives of the peoples and for countries like Portugal.

The appraisal of these years of integration could not be worse: continued liquidation of the productive sector – industry, fisheries, agriculture – and the destruction of strategic sectors in which the country had acquired important knowledge; worse structural deficits; high and persistent unemployment; precariousness; greater public debt; greater indebtedness by companies and families; worse income distribution with loss of buying power of wages and pensions; greater poverty; greater regional imbalances.

A worsening process accelerated since joining the Euro, with which the longest cycle of economic stagnation of the country was inaugurated, with significant periods of recession and destruction of wealth that was never recovered. A cycle of acute and unparalleled offensive attacking worker's incomes, labor rights and the social functions of the State, that should guarantee the welfare of populations in their rights to health, education and social security – a time of particular violence against workers and the people, who have been taxed to pay a crisis they're not responsible for and to which they contributed nothing!

Reality demonstrates how fallacious were the speeches that since joining the EEC and recurrently, in each stage of the integration process, guaranteed greater economic and social cohesion and a Portugal in the frontlines of progress and development.

We were never mislead and today many give us reason when we stated that Maastricht, Nice, the Economic and Monetary Union, the Euro and the Lisbon Treaty, the deepening of the neoliberal, militarist and federalist nature of the European Union, would place Portugal in a situation of unbearable dependency and lead the Country towards a trajectory of destruction and national asphyxiation and of growing exploitation of workers, and an increasingly centralist and authoritarian European Union, evermore distant from the aspirations of peoples!

A European Union that is increasingly of big capital, exploitation, economic colonization and federalisation!

A European Union, whose dominant policy, increasingly anti-democratic, anti-social and of national oppression, is at the origin of the resurfacing of xenophobia and the growth of reactionary and extreme-right forces in the european space with its dark projects.

The most recent developments of the European Union are not only evidence of a scenario of deep crisis and growing instability, with the deepening of all its contradictions, but also reveal an insistence on the same policies of exploitation, impoverishment and submission and deny the idea that there is a change in the policies of the European Union and the Economic and Monetary Fund. A denial that is very clear in the threat of so-called sanctions upon Portugal and Spain, which persists, and the arrogance with which they speak about the legitimate option of the people of the United Kingdom in the referendum that dictated their exit from the European Union. Or still, in how quickly the inner circle of the directorate of the big powers – the french-german axis – marginaliz
ed the group of European Union countries, by calling, following the referendum, for a meeting of only the six founding countries.

Arrogance that is, at the same time, a disguise by those who want to seem strong given the failure of the European Union, where elements of disaggregation are increasingly clear. Arrogance expressed in the maneuvers that attempt an escape forward, even more centralizing and imperative for the remaining peoples and countries of the European Union.

An arrogance of abusive and unacceptable encroachment in the affairs of our Country and the decisions of its legitimate institutions that affects in particular the dignity and interests of the Portuguese. The form and nature of the intervention of the President of the ECB about the Portuguese Constitution, the Portuguese electoral system and the labor relations, of the European Commission about the 35 hour workweek or the national minimum wage are, in fact, unacceptable. As are the permanent demands of additional measures of impoverishing the people, by either the European Commission or the Eurogroup or the ECB, who treat Portugal with the hubris of who treats a colony and aim to further the process of conditioning the Country. As are the maneuvers of encroachment, intrigue
and destabilization by the German foreign minister, who yesterday used such methods to force the punishment of the Country, in a vengeful attitude by who does not accept the smallest deviation from the authoritarian command of the directorate led by Germany, the monetarist orthodoxy and the exploitation of peoples.

A deliberate attitude to place the country on its knees and not only simple political games, which demands a firm repudiation and clear statement in defense of our sovereignty by those who are the main officials of our national institutions.

A similar statement of sovereignty and defense of the national interests following the threat of "sanctions" and extortion upon Portugal.

Regarding this announced possibility, the Portuguese Government must reject sanctions firmly and decidedly. As it must reject, in the name of Portugal, all the web of impositions and policing mechanisms of which the "sanctions" are an expression and consequence.

It should be remembered that the Parliament has already pronounced itself against the possibility of applying "sanctions" to Portugal. Therefore the Portuguese Government is not only mandated but has all the conditions and the obligation to firmly reject these attacks against the People and the Country!

To propose in this framework, as was done by BE [Left Block], a referendum "to take position against sanctions" is an admission of the possibility of capitulation before the European Union, that a referendum can legitimate the sanctions and other european impositions.

The experience of Greece, a year ago, demonstrates that the referendum should not be instrumentalized as a function of populist objectives and media protagonism, nor its realization replace or dispense with firm and coherent action by the Government in the defense of sovereignty and national interests.

PCP was the only Portuguese party that in important moments that deepened the process of capitalist integration, openly assumed and defended the realization of ample national debates and processes of consultations by referendum, and considers, as it has always considered, that the liberation of Portugal from foreign submission will interpret the interests of the Portuguese people and can count on its involvement and participation.

Recall that joining the EEC, the European Union and the Euro was not subject to a referendum in Portugal. Therefore, PCP defends that, presently, the decisions to be adopted by the Portuguese people regarding the defense of national interests, sovereignty and national independence, are not only not necessarily to be made by holding referenda, but also the national institutions have all the right and conditions to take the sovereign decisions most in agreement with the interests of the workers, people and Country. The coherent answer to all blackmail should not be one that opens the possibility of its acceptance and legitimation, but rather demand the immediate suspension and repeal, or exit of Portugal from all the instruments that follow.

The victory of the exit from the European Union in the United Kingdom referendum, held in a framework of enormous and unacceptable pressures by the large transnational economic groups, the financial capital and organizations such as the IMF, the OECD and the European Union itself, constitutes an event of great political importance for its peoples and the peoples of Europe.

A decision that is a victory over fear, inevitabilities, submission and catastrophism, and represents a deep shift in the process of capitalist integration in Europe, and a new stage of the struggle against the European Union of big capital and big powers, and for a Europe of workers and peoples.

We are aware of the multiple motives behind the call for this referendum, some manifestly reactionary, which PCP decidedly combats and repudiates, but what the results express, above all, is the rejection of the policies of the European Union. As well as underline the failure of an integration process that is increasingly in conflict with the interests and just aspirations of workers and peoples.

These results constitute, therefore, an opportunity to face and resolve the real problems of peoples, questioning the whole process of capitalist integration of the European Union and opening a new and different path of cooperation based on sovereign States that are equal in rights.

A path that should begin with the urgent call for an intergovernmental summit with the objective of institutionally enshrining the reversibility of Treaties, the immediate suspension and repeal of the Budgetary Treaty, as well as the repeal of the Lisbon Treaty.

In a framework where it is unsurpassably evident that the European Union does not answer the needs of workers and people, PCP affirms it is time to say enough to submission! That it is urgent and necessary that Portugal be prepared to free itself from the submission to the Euro!

Yes, Portugal, with the common currency, loses and mortgages the future! The Euro is a currency adequate for the needs and interests of European high finance and the large european economic groups. With an exchange rate tendentially adjusted to the productive and export capacity of Germany, its wage and productivity levels, its industrial and commercial profile and the demands of its financial institutions.

It does not serve the Portuguese workers and people, does not serve Portugal, nor Portuguese production.

The Euro deprives States of the monetary, financial, trade and budgetary instruments to promote a development that takes into account national realities.

In Portugal, it reduced public and private investment to historic minimums.

The Euro also conditioned the productive activity with its excessive valuations, raised export prices, replaced national production with imports (instead of replacing imports by national production), contributed to ruin industry, agriculture and fisheries.

It stimulates foreign debt, the exit of capital and financial speculation.

In the absence of a national central bank with all prerogatives, it submits the Country either to blackmail by the "markets", that is speculators, or blackmail by the ECB, the European Union and the IMF.

We cannot pretend that this problem doesn't exist.

Recovering monetary sovereignty is refusing disaster. It is not conforming with subdevelopment, nor with the submission of the Country.

It is not a sufficient condition, but is a necessary condition to recover from retardation, fight exploitation, impoverishment, stagnation and dependency.

A lot will depend also on the policies that are put into practice. Therefore we consider the liberation from submission to the Euro as a component of the patriotic and left-wing policy we propose for the Country.

Specifically with the public control of the banking sector, progressively widening public property and management, reorienting its activity towards public financing instead of speculation, supporting with criteria the small and medium companies and families.

A foreign monopolistic dominion that is increasingly present in the reality of the national financial system with a enormous operation of concentration of the banking sector that is in process. An operation they call the Banking Union. After having deprived the countries of the European Union from their monetary policy and conditioning their budgetary policy, the time has come to remove the possibility of determining the role of the banks.

Gradually, peoples are deprived of fundamental instruments in determining their future.

We saw this recently in BANIF, with the European Union deciding its integration in a large Spanish bank with the Portuguese people paying the bill!

We also see now the blackmail and pressures of the European Union and ECB, that under the pretext of the necessary recapitalization of the Caixa Geral de Depósitos, impose a process of restructuring that will entail the privatization of new areas, layoffs and its weakening and decharacterization.

An operation that PSD with the support of CDS objectively masks with their maneuver proposing a Parliamentary Inquiry of Caixa Geral de Depósitos, aiming its destabilization and disgrace and in particular fighting the urgent need to guarantee the public control of the banking sector and confuse the Portuguese about the consequences of its monopolist control.

With an innocent face, we have seen them asking questions about matters they know well, as if they were not responsible for the political options and guidelines, and for the management of the Caixa through all these years. A blatant politicization of management that PCP often denounced, as well as the disastrous and unexplainable options to finance highly problematic private businesses, including the use of Caixa in the resolution of the serious problem created in BPN.

As we have often stated, the banking sector is either public or it is not national!

Renegotiating the debt is another structural need!

Portugal cannot pay annually in interests almost as much or more than it spends on health and education.

It needs to renegotiate the public debt, its deadlines, interest rates and amounts, substantially reducing the annual volume of charges and foreign debt, freeing funds for investment and the social functions of the State, and stop the bleeding of resources abroad.

It is not enough to fight indebtedness, it is necessary to fight the causes of indebtedness. It is necessary that the Country produce and grow!

It needs to eliminate the obstacles to growth and guarantee dignified living conditions for the Portuguese.

It needs a policy that decidedly promotes investment and recovers from the retardation verified in the recent years. That incentivises the increase of national production, its diversification and its affirmation in replacing foreign production.

The submission to the Euro, the colossal debt, the monopolist domination over the banking sector are three mechanisms of dependence and subjection to large financial capital, to large european economic groups that benefit from them. Instead of instruments at the service of workers, people and the Country. Three results, to a large degree, of the impositions of the European Union. And whose resolution collides with the objectives, guidelines, policy and pressures of the European Union.

Three conditions that force upon the supranational level what should be resolved nationally. The same currency for countries with very different wages and productivity, productive and export capacity, industrial and commercial profiles. The same rules for less indebted states and ultra-indebted states. The same demands for european megabanks and national banks.

Portugal needs to free itself from the Stability and Growth Pact, the Budgetary Treaty and its heirs, from the policy of exploitation and impoverishment, from constraints upon investment and productive activity.

It needs to free itself from this new danger that is the so-called Transatlantic Treaty – TTIP – which is being negotiated with the USA and the European Union and that encloses serious threats, not only environmental and against public services, but to diversified sectors of the transformative industry and national agrofoods, which will be exposed to added competition.

Portugal needs to gain means and instruments to surpass retardation and subdevelopment, dependence and its current vulnerability. That implies facing the European Union, who constrains our capacity to produce, our liberty to distribute the created wealth, our capacity and freedom to choose the path that, as a people, we wish to follow.

Therefore, we affirm: - It is time to say enough! Enough submission to the European Union and its instruments of domination!

Portugal needs to give greater strength to this struggle to free the Country!

Portugal needs to give greater strength to PCP to resolve the national problems!

Greater strength to advance the achievement of the necessary solutions to ensure employment, rights, production, development, sovereignty!

An important victory achieved in October, with the struggle and vote of the Portuguese, can and should be potentiated, transforming it into an opportunity to give answers and solutions to the serious problems that the Country faces.

This new stage of national life, marked by the removal of the PSD/CDS government and the change to the composition of Parliament, overcoming the current constraints and blocks upon the development of the Country should be tackled head on, conscious that they will be harder to solve the more the solution is postponed.

With the initiative of our Party, committed to not losing any opportunity to improve the living conditions of the workers and the people, it was possible to create conditions to contain the path of impoverishment and exploitation that was being imposed upon the Portuguese and advance and resolve, also with its proposals and initiatives, urgent problems of workers and people.

In the first months of the new stage of national life, positive steps have been given that we cannot underestimate and that have led to the elimination of wage cuts in the Public Administration; the increase of the minimum wage; the reduction of health care costs; the reinforcement of social benefits and unfreezing pensions; the change to the regime of disability protection; elimination of the IRS additional tax upon workers in general; the progressive gratuity of school books and the interdiction upon the increase of the maximum and minimum university tuition, among many others, such as the 35 hours that tomorrow will be regained by all workers that had them and a path will be opened for all those that never had them to gain them!

That is a motive of confidence!

Confidence that it is possible, with the struggle of workers and our people, to tread ahead, defending, regaining and conquering rights and go further, as is necessary, and for which we fight, answering other serious social problems, regarding which PCP has presented legislative proposals and initiatives aimed at fighting precariousness; at considering the many years of contributions with the possibility of retirement without penalties at 40 years; a real increase of pensions; support measures for young families and children, with the broadening and reinforcement of maternity and paternity leave, the creation of a prematurity leave and investment in a childcare network; ensuring housing for people older than 65 avoiding eviction, among others.

But the situation the country has reached, to be definitively altered, needs a real rupture with the path followed thus far by successive governments of PSD, CDS and PS – an effective rupture with decades of right wing policies and national submission!

Life demonstrates that we are far from having a policy capable of answering the deep problems that persist in the Country, today worsened as a consequences of the policies of social and economic regression of the previous government of PSD/CDS, but are far also because of options of the PS government, namely the submission to the Euro and European Union and of not confronting the interests of big capital that condition the possibilities of solution to this central and urgent problem, far from the imperious promotion of economic growth and employment.

The evolution of the most recent situation in the Country reveals very low levels of investment, indispensable to propel economic activity and create employment.

PSD and CDS mystify, with the lack of confidence of capitalists and the strength of markets in result of the new majority formed in Parliament. They cover-up that during their government private investment fell 24% and public investment even more! They cover-up that a decade and a half ago the Country practically stopped growing!

No! It is not worth mystifying or masking reality!

No, there is no solution without a rupture with the fundamental axes of the process of european capitalist integration! Within the Euro, the economic governance, the european semesters, prior view of budgets, Portugal is tied to stagnation and recession, the undermining of its potential, underdevelopment, impoverishment, dependency and national submission!

On the part of PCP we will continue to intervene seriously, with commitment and responsibility to return to the Country that which belongs to the Country, opening roads for a patriotic and left-wing policy.

The Portuguese people is not condemned to a present and future of dependency and submission to the interests of big capital and the big powers.

It is possible to open new paths of economic and social development that, based on a real conception of development of national production of intensification and diversification of the economic relations in the Country, guarantee that the workers and Portuguese people have development, dignity and social justice.

Assuming its responsibilities before the workers and the people, PCP, with its proposals and action, affirms itself as an aggregating force of convergence of democrats and patriots, and the protagonist force of alternative that Portugal needs!

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