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

30 years after the signing of the Treaty of Accession to the EEC

30 years after the signing of the Treaty of Accession to the EEC

Today completes 30 years of the signing of the Treaty of Accession to the European Economic Community (EEC) by Portugal. Thirty years after there is no lack of balances, particularly by those who, in an idyllic view of the reality, try to erase the trail of the constraints and disastrous consequences resulting from it.

Thirty years later, life has proved and proves PCP right. Right about the political operation that was associated with the accession, seeking with this process of foreign pressure to justify the capitalist restoration and the attack on the April achievements. Right about what such membership would mean in economic terms as a factor of destruction of national production and worsening of dependency. Right about the denunciation we made about a promised and not executed "social cohesion".
Portugal's accession to the EEC and, later on, the steps taken towards the European capitalist integration, were accompanied by great propaganda manoeuvres. History will remember the speeches about "access to a market of 250 million people" and "approaching the living standards of Europe". The time of the tirades of Portugal entering the "club of the rich" and being "the frontrunners" (like at the time of joining the Euro), that Portugal would not lack "the necessary stimuli and aid" - as stated by Mário Soares, then Prime Minister of a PS/PSD government, in his speech on June 12, 1985.
Today 30 years later, reality has shown that these speeches had no basis to stand upon and deliberately ignored many of the contradictions from the start that were placed for the accession of Portugal to the Common Market and, later on, the European Union and the Euro, among other aspects of capitalist integration.
As we foresaw, sovereignty was severely mutilated. Core issues of the country's life are decided, or strongly conditioned, by the organs and bodies of the European Union and in particular by the Directory of powers led by Germany.
What the April revolution had opened of Portugal to the World and affirmed of peace and cooperation, as the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic enshrined, was abandoned and replaced by a logic of subordination to the interests of big European powers and of submission to the aggressive strategy of the US and NATO.
As we stated 30 years ago, joining the EEC/EU was not done to serve the interests of the workers and the people but the interests of the economic and financial groups, domestic and foreign. In these 30 years the monopoly groups recovered almost all their power. While multinationals settled in Portugal benefitting from significant compensations and with the aim of exploiting cheap labour, the State-run Business Sector was being dismantled and strategic sectors of our economy sold and handed to foreigners, as has just been once again shown with the decision of handing over TAP.
The Portuguese production fabric was severely weakened. Industry, fisheries and agriculture represented 38.4% of the GDP in 1985. In 2014 they represented a mere 15.9%. The national fishing fleet was reduced by 50% and employment in this sector has been drastically cut. The country with the largest Exclusive Economic Zone in Europe today imports about 70% of the fish it consumes. In agriculture we witnessed the gradual trend of strangling and concentration of agricultural production. In 30 years, 300,000 farms and about 500,000 hectares of Useful Agricultural Area were lost.
The entry into the EEC did not represent in fact a "vigorous development". Especially after the entry into the Euro, the country entered a vicious circle of economic stagnation, impoverishment and indebtedness. The structural deficit, as well as the production, energy or technology deficits, worsened, and the Portuguese debt, which at the time of accession was 52%, increased exponentially and today stands at 132% of the GDP.
Thirty years later, the reality that emerges from the life of the Portuguese is not that of the highly trumpeted European Union of "economic and social cohesion" nor of "approaching the living standards of Europe", but the loss of the purchasing power of wages, retirement payments and pensions that today are among the lowest in the European Union. Since 1985, and particularly since the entry into the Euro, the gap between the income of capital and labour has not stopped increasing. Portugal is today one of the most unequal countries and with one of the highest rates of unemployment in the entire EU, a country where a quarter of its citizens live in poverty.
Contrary to the promises of 30 years ago, the Portuguese people did not benefit from joining the EEC. This finding becomes more acute when we look at the past fifteen years with the entry into the Euro. In what is already the longest-running cycle of the country’s economic stagnation, marked by sharp periods of unrecovered recessions, the Portuguese were the victims of an unparalleled attack on labour incomes, their labour and social rights. The State was gradually emptied of its social functions with the attack on public services and the handing to big business of highly profitable sectors like healthcare.
The country lost its weight in the European Union, the debt soared, the tertiarization and finantialization of the economy deepened. Portugal, deprived of instruments of monetary policy, unable to dispose of strategic economic levers, bound to the criteria of the Stability Pact and surrogates, with an increasingly foreign dependent economy, victim of an ECB policy linked to the banking interests and of the great powers like Germany, has been transformed, with the connivance and active participation of PS and PSD/CDS governments, yes, as an "example" of regression, impoverishment and submission to interests other than those of the Portuguese people.
The right-wing policy that for almost four decades has been implemented by PS, PSD and CDS is inseparable from the European capitalist integration. Both are faces of the same class option, contrary to the interests and aspirations of the Portuguese people, and feed one another. The Portuguese political forces that supported and support the capitalist integration process are the same as those that since 1976 have tried to revert many of the economic, social and political achievements of the April Revolution.
It is not by chance that PS, PSD and CDS have been united in the defence of the EEC, the European Union and its neoliberal, federalist and militaristic pillars; is not by chance that three years ago they were united in signing the Pact of Aggression; It is not by chance that they have converged on the adoption of the Budget Treaty and now converge on the essential lines of deepening the EMU, the Banking and Financial Union and the creation of the so-called European Monetary Fund. No wonder, therefore, and it is also not by chance that these same parties are now practically united in their electoral programmes around the same policy that defends and enhances the Euro, accepts and applies the Budget Treaty and subjects to the rules of the so-called Economic Governance.
If there is right and accurate assessment of these 30 years, it is that the right-wing policy in its domestic and foreign aspects, does not serve the interests of the workers and the people.
But, beyond the exhausted and contrary to the national interest policies, there is another balance to be made. A balance that is not included in the statistics. A balance that makes us face the future of Portugal with great confidence, because in these 30 years, despite the injustices, constraints, adversities and appeals to conformism and surrender, the Portuguese people never gave up fighting for their living conditions , for their dignity, for the development of their country and for the defence of national independence and sovereignty.
What, 30 years after the Treaty of Accession, emerges from the reality we live in is the awareness by increasingly large sections of the population that the path that was imposed on Portugal and Europe is not an inevitability. What emerges from the national and international reality is that another path is possible to ensure development, progress and social justice, a path based on respect for sovereignty, independence, identity and rights of peoples, which bets on cooperation among equals, social convergence, a true mutual support and mutually beneficial relations and of peace.
The PCP will continue to firmly combat all supranational impositions and enforce the interests of the workers and the people.
The PCP reaffirms the inalienable right of the Portuguese people to decide their own destiny and choose the path that ensures their right to a sovereign development. A right that no integration however advanced its stage of development can expropriate. A right inseparable from the rupture with the right-wing policy and the European capitalist integration.
To the PCP, there is no hesitation. It is on the side of the workers and the people that the PCP stands. Not, like PS, PSD and CDS, on the side of those who impose exploitation, impoverishment and a policy of subordination and submission to the EU integration process, the interests of the monopolies and the directory of powers that serve them.
Thirty years later, what emerges as a reliable factor of confidence in the future of Portugal is the strength of its People. A force resulting from the wills, actions and struggles of increasingly more patriots and democrats, that wants to put an end to the impoverishment, regression and submission, and pave the way for a patriotic and left-wing political alternative to hand back to the Portuguese what is rightfully theirs - social and labour rights, the right to economic development and instruments of national sovereignty - and which, at the same time, contributes to building a Europe of peace and cooperation among sovereign states with equal rights, a Europe of workers and of peoples. Strength, alternative and hope that echoed this past 6th June in the streets of Lisbon and confirming CDU as the Strength of the People, a strength that, with work, honesty and competence, is able to assume all the responsibilities that the people wish to give it and which is ready for the difficult and complex battles that Portugal faces.