On 15th of January this year representatives of left European parties had gathered in Paris on invitation of the French Communist Party (PCF) to reorientate European integration policies (ND 16.1.1999).
They are standing up facing the challenges - intensification of competition between the people of Europe - which are arising due to the introduction of the Euro. This is the capitalist backside of the coin. There is an agreement that the economic integration - enforced by the euro - has to be accompanied with an equitable and social integration of solidarity to take advantage of the potentials of the Euro and to distribute them fairly. The most important instrument to accomplish this is the strengthening of labours' interests in the decision processes (industrial relations) within companies and public institutions. In German this means: improvement of the industrial relations laws, structural policies and active labour market policies as well as the shortening of working hours. Significant is also the improvement of EU regulations concerning social rights (i.e. EEC regulation 1408/71 - unemployment benefits within the EU etc.) and a basic income across Europe at the highest possible level.
A military component of the EU (WEU) is rejected.
The entrance of central European countries and of Cyprus to the EU are demanded.
The enlargement of the EU (Agenda 2000) is rather difficult. A successful integration of Europe has not only to take into account Western Europe or the justified interests of some central European countries. What is needed is a concept of integration for the whole of Europe! All of the countries of central Europe as well as the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) have to be considered. Furthermore there are important deficits of democracy within the EU. The EURO Parliament has not even a steady seat. The EU-bureaucracy even has to deal with corruption. The militarists are engaged in the development of an US independent military organization. As a first consequence of this the US have increased the military budget at the introduction of the Euro.
NATO has to remain the only military organization in Europe and to include all states of Europe as well as Canada and the USA, including also Russia, the Ukraine, Rumania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Ireland - all states of Europe! And NATO has to be changed into a collective security system.
Resulting from these problems, concerning the Agenda 2000 (enlargement of the EU), the negotiations with those countries who have already applied for membership should be lead at a multilateral level with a perspective to guarantee to the people of central Europe equal social and economic rights as enjoyed by EU citizens. In practice this means the creation of a New European Free Trade Area (NEFTA) with the EU and at least all central European countries as members. One should hope that the outcome of these multilateral negotiations is a Federation of Central European States with its own parliament - possibly in Prague. With the enlargement of the New Free Trade Area (NEFTA) and NATO the border controls should be abolished.
Naturally such a perspective is more appropriate to arrive at an integration for the whole of Europe.
This way NATO shall become the military branch of the OSCE.
No doubt Turkey has a distinct role, because of very strong human ties between Turkey and Germany. Turkey should join the EU. The deficits of democracy do not have to be overcome only by Turkey! Cyprus should join the EU as well and by this should be able to overcome its division.
An additional enlargement of the European Union would only be a second best solution on the way to social, economic, military and cultural integration of Europe.
The Treaty of Amsterdam has to be improved to guarantee important social rights. I assume this can be achieved with the sympathetic support of the Dutch government.
Klaus Hagendorf, EURODOS, Amsterdam, 8 February 1999.