Statement by Ângelo Alves, Member of the Political Committee of the CC, Press Conference

The Rome Summit, the European Commission’s White Paper and the 60th. anniversary of the Rome Treaties

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[The Heads of State and Government of the European Union 27 will meet on March 25 in Rome to mark the 60th. anniversary of the signing of the Treaties establishing the European Economic Community, now the European Union. As announced, they will adopt a Declaration on the future of the European Union.]

At a time when a wave of celebration and propaganda around the 60th. anniversary of the founding treaties of the European capitalist integration process is officially promoted, the situation of the workers and peoples of the European continent and the crises confronting this process of integration is a real example of the true class nature of the European Union, of a deepening of its contradictions and its inability to respond to the various problems of the peoples of Europe.

The crisis in which the European Union is immersed is so deep that its leaders and institutions are obliged to recognize it. However, this recognition is accompanied by an attempt to whitewash their own responsibilities, blaming the economic and social crisis, the refugee crisis, the growth of reactionary and xenophobic nationalisms, and terrorism as factors exogenous to the EEC/EU process.

The reality is quite the opposite. The very serious problems and huge risks that peoples in the various Member States of the European Union face are themselves a product of its nature, objectives, pillars, policies, and instruments. They are a direct result of decades of a process contrary to the interests of the peoples of Europe.

The process that we now know as the European Union is not - as they try to make us believe - a process of cooperation. On the contrary. It has never been determined by the interests of the workers and peoples of Europe, or by the values of solidarity, of convergence in social progress or peace. It is rather - and the reality shows - a process of economic and political domination, of concentration of capital and power, drawn according to the interests of the European monopolies and the directorate of the main capitalist powers in Europe, especially Germany .

It is impossible to conceal the reality of the huge and growing asymmetries in economic and social development among States. It is impossible to conceal that, instead of the proclaimed solidarity and convergence, what marks the European Union today is the imposition, threat, blackmail and divergence. It is impossible to conceal the serious social problems in most EU countries, such as unemployment, precariousness, poverty and social polarisation. The European Commission itself has had to acknowledge in its White Paper the general trend towards a decline in living conditions in the European Union, particularly among the new generations, and even if mitigated, the growing popular opposition to the European Union and its instruments of dominance, like the Euro.

The European Union is not a project with a social and democratic dimension. It is rather a process which in its development has confirmed that the European institutions and national governments are being subject to the interests and blackmail of big business, as evidenced by the contents of the troika's programmes, the recommendations in the context of the European semester with its privatizations, structural reform, intensification of exploitation and attack on social and labour rights, or the recurrent financial scandals demonstrating a complete promiscuity between European institutions and financial capital.
Dissertations on the so-called freedoms, democracy and alleged "European values" are demolished by the reality of inhumane policies - as in the case of refugees - of disregard for democracy and of attack on the sovereignty of States, and by an increasing affirmation of militarism and interventionism in an unfettered imperialist drive of the European Union.

The truth, which the ongoing propaganda manoeuvres try to conceal, is that the European Union is an exhausted process, eroded by insurmountable contradictions and that drags Europe into an unsustainable and dangerous situation.

It is on the basis of this analysis that the PCP states that any discussion on the "future of Europe" must start from an opposite assumption to what is presented today by the European institutions and which is supported in Portugal by PS, PSD and CDS.

The European Commission's White Paper, with its five scenarios and the timetable and objectives proposed in it, has as its main goal saving the European Union as an instrument of domination of the transnationals and great powers, leaving untouched its neoliberal, federalist and militarist pillars and some of its main instruments like the Single Market, Economic and Monetary Union and the so-called foreign and defence policy.

What is truly at issue with the Rome Declaration, and what will hold as the path to follow, is not the essence of the European Union's policies or its nature, but rather the institutional arrangement and distribution of power to enable to pursue the course that has led Europe into the current situation.
In fact, the five scenarios in the Commission's White Paper converge on a single goal of continuity and deepening of the European Union by means of new federalist steps forward, wholly or partly, of the European Union, notably by the enhancement of what the Treaties already foresee and that as reality already confirms exist - a European Union based on divergence and inequality, at two or more speeds, always determined by the directorate of powers and based their interests.

Once again, the European Union tries to impose a single thought regarding the debate on the paths of Europe. Once again, and like other historical moments, the theory of the external enemy is used to whitewash the European Union's own responsibilities, to further the concentration of power and enhance the militarist, securitary and imperialist assertion of the European Union. It also clearly portrays the view of the European Commission, the fact that it views the economic and social development of several non-European countries with increasing economic, commercial and demographic importance as a threat to Europe.

The PCP rejects the view envisaged for the Rome Declaration. What the peoples of Europe need is not more of the same, albeit with new garbs, with new arrangements of power or with new professions of faith around a false "social dimension" of the Common Market and EMU or of "democratic legitimacy” of the European Union.

What the discussion so far has shown, and reality proves, is that, in essence, the European Union cannot be reformed. What is needed is to question the whole process of capitalist integration. What is needed is to question Economic and Monetary Union and to seriously discuss its organised dissolution; what is needed is to question the core of capitalist integration - the single market - and its dynamics of divergence and asymmetry; what is needed is to question the common fisheries policy and the common agricultural policy, with all the consequences they have had on countries such as Portugal; what is needed is to reject a European Union trade policy based on the liberalization of world trade and the imposition of treaties such as CETA, which are highly damaging to various productive sectors, rights and sovereignty; what is needed is to reverse the militaristic and interventionist course of the European Union which, even in a context of contradictions, is confirmed as a European pillar of NATO and leads the States to unacceptable increases in military expenditure; what is needed is to abandon a policy of profoundly inhumane migration that, along with the social crisis, fuels reactionary and xenophobic agendas.

The scenarios in the White Paper of the European Commission do not address the real problems of the workers and peoples of Europe. On the contrary, they instrumentalize some of these problems - such as the growth of the extreme right-wing - trying to forge ahead policies of neoliberal, federalist and militaristic nature. An example of which are the lines already known in the draft of the Rome Declaration, which going beyond the phraseology on the "European Social Union" prioritize the advance of militarism, military and arms industry spending; the continuation of fortress Europe policy and migration policy; the further development of the common market and Economic and Monetary Union with its "structural reforms" and the advance of capitalist concentration in areas such as the environment and energy, among others.

The PCP rejects this path. Because it will further deepen inequalities and regression. Because on the political level it will enhance the causes of populism, nationalism and extreme right-wing. Because the line of attack on sovereignty and the right to development continues. And because, based on a militarist and imperialist European Union affirmation, it will contribute to an even greater instability and insecurity at the international level with great risks for the peoples of Europe.

The PCP rejects this attempt to circumscribe the debate on the future of Europe to a single path whose consequences are for all to see and which in itself is a threat to the future of the continent and its peoples. The PCP reaffirms that more European Union does not mean more Europe. On the contrary, the deepening of the process of capitalist integration is one of the main factors of social regression, of increasing poverty and of mass unemployment. A process that in the last decades has brought back war, terrorism, racism and xenophobia to the European continent. It is this reality that in Portugal, PS, PSD and CDS insist on concealing, reviving the discourses of "Portugal in Europe" or the "front platoon".

The PCP believes that it is a dangerous delusion, or a deliberate lie, to assert that national interests defend themselves in the framework of the strengthening of the European Union. The European Union and the Euro have meant and mean brutal constraints against national interests. The strengthening of the European Union and the Euro will not bring about a solidarity that has never existed, but will reinforce the prevalence of the interests of transnational corporations and of the main powers of the European Union in the context of international dispute and negotiation, to the detriment and even sacrifice of the interests of Portugal and the Portuguese people.

At a particularly delicate time in the history of the European continent, the need is to advance to new forms of cooperation between sovereign and equal in rights States. New forms of cooperation that articulate democratic and progressive ruptures at national and international levels, aimed at building a new political, institutional framework, of economic cooperation, of solidarity, for social and economic development, peace and friendship among peoples.

Portugal does not have to be subjected to the brutality of further impositions imposed in the framework of the Economic and Monetary Union and its instruments and mechanisms of interference, blackmail and extortion. As the recent and renewed pressure from the Eurogroup has shown, this is an uninterrupted and cyclical process of a political and ideological nature, contrary to national interests. Besides the insult and an exercise in xenophobia and arrogance, the statements of the President of the Eurogroup are a clear demonstration of the ideology that presides over the process of imposition, economic colonisation and concentration of power in the European Union.

The country cannot tolerate more insults, blackmail and interference.

The solution to national problems, and in general of the peoples of Europe, is to set free from instruments that constrain the development of States, disregard their sovereignty, history and culture and impose neoliberalism as a doctrine. It involves the dissolution of EMU and the restoration by the States of monetary and budgetary sovereignty, adjusting economic policies to the specific needs of every people and State, and mutually advantageous economic and trade relations. It involves the renegotiation of the debt, upholding the interests of every people and State, ending the vicious circle of indebtedness, impoverishment and economic asphyxia. It involves the definition of policies to stimulate production that ensure core elements of sovereignty in the economic, food, energy fields, among others. It involves the recovery of the public control of banking and strategic sectors of the economy, removing them from domination by the multinationals and the logic of private profit placing them at the service of progress and development. It involves the adoption of foreign policies in accordance with the interest of each people, ending with the subordination to NATO and the interests of its great powers, to bring to international relations the values ​​of peace, respect for the sovereignty and independence of States, and the defence of United Nations Charter.

The PCP has great confidence in the struggle of the workers and peoples. Contrary to what they try to suggest, the path that was imposed on Portugal and Europe is not an inevitability. What emerge from the national and European reality are the need and the possibility of a different course. Nothing or anyone can deny the sovereign right of Portugal to decide on its development and affirmation as an independent nation. In this path, the PCP will continue to firmly combat all supranational impositions and to fight for the interests of the workers and the people, for a developed and sovereign Portugal.

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