European Union

The Prime Minister has bought herself some time with another Brexit deadline extension. But workers and youth cannot afford to suffer any more of this chaos. We need a general election and a socialist Labour government now! According to Tory Brexiteers, Britain was supposed to be riding the waves of sovereignty and independence, having freed itself from the leviathan of the European Union. Instead, Theresa May and her ragtag government find themselves lost at sea - and with no hope on the horizon.

Just over 25 years after its foundation, the European Union looks like it could be falling apart under the weight of its own contradictions. Everywhere you look, the major parties are coming under increased pressure due to the heightening of the class struggle as a result of 10 years of crisis. This has meant that, in one country after another, the ruling class can no longer rule in the old way.

A crunch point is approaching in the ongoing saga surrounding the highly-indebted Italian economy. This could spark a revival of the dormant euro crisis.

Less than three weeks after she survived an ultimately toothless rebellion by her pro-European MPs, Theresa May has embarked on a collision course with the hard-Brexit-wing of her party, provoking the deepest crisis her government has faced since last year’s general election.

It wasn’t long ago that Germany was considered one of the few countries with a stable political situation. On the surface at least, with high economic growth and a dominant position within Europe, everything seemed to be going well for the German ruling class. However, this stability is turning into its opposite.

Italy’s public debt stands at a staggering €2.3tn, or 132 percent of GDP: the third largest in the world after Japan and Greece. Furthermore, Italy’s banks hold the largest share of Europe's non-performing loans, totalling €224bn. Unlike Greece, which is a relatively small player in Europe, Italy has the third-largest economy in the Eurozone, contributing more than 15 percent of its overall GDP. Italy has now become a huge risk to the financial stability of the whole of the European Union.

Over the past weekend, nearly 2,000 people arrived in Spain by sea, most travelling in totally inadequate boats for the journey, risking their lives in the process. The vessel Aquarius drew media attention after the newly installed president, Pedro Sánchez, decided to allow its passengers in after Italy refused to let them shore up. The ship was carrying 629 people, 123 of them under 18, who were mainly travelling on their own.

Re-visiting the question of the United States of Europe in the wake of the war and the creation of the Soviet Union, Trotsky once again put forward the slogan of a “United States of Europe” in his 1923 article, "Is the Time Ripe for the Slogan: ‘The United States of Europe’" published in Pravda. Again, Trotsky emphasises the revolutionary significance of the demand for the democratic unification of Europe but this time with an even clearer class content, asserting that the demand for a United States of Europe cannot be isolated from the demand for a “Workers’ Government”.

 As Josh Holroyd discusses, the future for both the UK and EU under capitalism is one of stagnation, slump, and austerity. The chaos of Brexit is a precursor to further crises in Europe as the system continues to unravel.

Despite Labour riding high in the polls, Corbyn’s critics are desperate to appease big business and the banks by remaining in the European Union and maintaining the status quo. As a result of vocal outrage from the right-wing of the party, Labour have made a U-turn on the question of Brexit. Corbyn and the Left should be fighting for a socialist alternative.

The imperialist military interventions in Iraq, Syria and Libya were portrayed by Western leaders as “humanitarian” operations to restore democracy and human rights. But what has instead occurred is the exact opposite with the rise of different degrees of barbarism in all three countries. Just like in Syria and Iraq, we are now also witnessing the rise of slave-like conditions in Libya on a systematic level.

The die is cast. In her letter, hand-delivered this afternoon to the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, Theresa May has announced the beginning of Brexit negotiations under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, marking a point of no return for both British and European capitalism.

At the congress of the Pakistani section of the IMT on December 3rd, Fred Weston delivered the introductory speech analysing the world situation in the light of the recent victory of Trump in the US presidential elections, the role of Russia in Syria, the crisis of the EU and the general deepening crisis of world capitalism. We provide here two videos of the introductory speech and the summing up of the discussion.

On 9th January, Martin McGuinness, Deputy First Minister of the Stormont Assembly in Belfast, resigned in protest against the ongoing Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scandal. As the Assembly was unable to elect a new Deputy, new elections have been triggered, as required under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, which are now scheduled for 2nd March.

After months of vexed speculation over the possible terms of Britain’s departure from the EU, Prime Minister May mounted the podium on Tuesday to announce her grand Brexit plan to the world. In a 45-minute speech, May set out her vision for a “stronger, fairer, more united and more outward looking” Britain; a “global Britain” which will “re-discover its role as a great trading nation”.

Within the next three months, the Brexit negotiations with the European Union will officially start. The plan is to leave within two years, nothing more, nothing less.“Brexit means Brexit” according to Theresa May. We are told that there will be either “soft” Brexit, where Britain has access to the Single Market or “hard” Brexit, where we don’t. However there is a more probable third option: “train-crash” Brexit, where there is a failure to reach a deal and Britain crashes out of the European Union – with chaotic and drastic consequences.

In advance of the upcoming referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union, Alan Woods - editor of In Defence of Marxism - explains the real motivations of the Stay and Leave camps, which are both dominated and led by reactionaries. The EU referendum is a fight between two wings of the Tory Party. Rather than supporting either of these, it is the task of Marxists to tell the truth, expose the lies and hypocrisy on both sides, and fight for a Socialist Europe.

In 2015, roughly 1.5 million migrants and refugees were estimated to have arrived in Europe from various countries, particularly Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. Images of desperate people massing at train stations, struggling with police or worse have filled our newspapers and television screens on an almost daily basis as the terrible humanitarian crisis unfolds.

The Schengen agreement, regarded alongside monetary union as one of the twin pillars of the European Union, is on the brink of collapse. Its looming suspension marks the latest stage in the crisis of the European Union.

The recent European Parliament elections have caused shock waves in the continent’s political landscape. Big victories were scored by anti-establishment parties in countries such as France, Greece and the UK provoking alarm in the mainstream political parties. The argument that these elections represent a sharp swing to the right – and even fascism – is entirely false.

Tsipras has been chosen by the Party of the European Left (EL) as candidate for the Presidency of the European Union. Does his programme offer a solution to the problems facing workers across Europe?

All the talk about the European crisis finally “turning the corner” has gone up in smoke as crisis ruturns big time to Europe. In the aftermath of the collapse of the Dutch government over its austerity budget and the uncertainly surrounding the French Presidential elections, the political battle over austerity has moved from Europe’s peripheral south to the heart of the eurozone itself.

Two days ago Angela Merkel was warning that peace in Europe could be endangered if an agreement was not reached at the EU summit on how to manage the crisis that has engulfed the euro and the whole of the EU economy. Speaking to the German parliament she said, “No one should think that a further half century of peace and prosperity is assured. It isn't. And that's why I say if the euro fails, Europe will fail, and that mustn't happen." Some of the more serious strategists of capital have even raised the prospect that the euro could break up. The 27 EU leaders on Wednesday night, however, finally produced a three part deal.

The following leaflet is to be distributed by supporters of Der Funke at the IUSY festival in Austria next week. The leaflet explains the need for a socialist answer to the crisis, rather than the bail-outs and austerity programs that are put forward by various Social Democratic or Socialist parties around Europe.

The Euro zone is in a mess. After a year of huge financial bail outs intended to calm the markets, the latter are very unstable, with a marked downward tendency. Signs of slowing global growth, and the continuing euro zone debt crisis, have caused the markets to slump. The nervousness of the markets is an accurate reflection of the growing anxiety of the bourgeois about the economic prospects for Europe.

The title of The Economist article said it all: “Europe: More pain, little gain”. All over Europe, governments are struggling to bring huge deficits under control. In order to do this, they pass the bill to the working class and the middle class. Gradually the truth is beginning to dawn on the workers. They are faced with a whole period of cuts and attacks on living standards. And they are reacting.

On September 29 more than 100,000 trade unionists from 27 different countries marched through Brussels in protest against the austerity measures being imposed by governments across the whole of Europe. The turnout was far greater than the trade union organisers had expected and it reveals the seething anger that is spreading throughout the whole of the European working class.

Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets across Europe as strikes and demonstrations caused widespread disruption. The main action came in Belgium, Greece, and Spain with trade unions fighting against austerity measures that will have devastating consequences for the jobs and lives of working people. Strikes or protests took place in 37 countries, including Portugal, Ireland, Slovenia and Lithuania.

The European Union, along with powers like the USA and Japan, has long had a policy of establishing economic relations with former colonies that impose the will of imperialism on the economic development of these countries. Supposedly instruments designed for “poverty alleviation”; in reality their main purpose is to open the markets of these poorer countries to goods flowing in from the advanced capitalist nations.

Under capitalism there is a steady unremitting pressure on workers’ living standards from the capitalist class, particularly as they compete with one another, and with bosses all around the world, to cut costs - especially labour costs. This need for employers to attack the wages and conditions of European workers has been intensified by the onset of crisis.

Present-day economic conditions demand that the working class fight back. The interests of the ruling class and the working class are irreconcilable. The bourgeois are screaming, "more cuts, more cuts" and the workers shout back "Enough is enough". The stage has been set for a "Hot Spring" in Europe.

On April 5 while the EU finance ministers and bankers were meeting in Brdo pri Kranju (Slovenia) 35,000 workers from all over Europe marched through Ljubljana demanding higher wages as inflation eats into their living standards. A delegation of the IMT from Austria, Italy and Switzerland was present.

A recent bulletin of the European Central Bank (ECB) dealt with the causes of recent increases in the rate of inflation within the "Eurozone". It is no surprise to find that what they are concerned about are wage increases. Like the high priests in the past they try to cover up reality and make us believe in a fantasy world.

This Saturday, April 5, European finance ministers will hold a meeting in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) has called for a demonstration to demand better wages and conditions for workers in Europe on the same day. Supporters of the International Marxist Tendency from Italy, Austria and Switzerland will join the protest and give out the following leaflet in five different languages (English, Slovenian, Italian,...

The Visegrad Four are Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, ex-Stalinist countries who have joined the European Union and are also preparing the conditions for entry into the Euro. The way they are doing it is by attacking viciously all the social gains of the workers. Sooner or later this will lead to an explosion of the class struggle.

The Visegrad Four are Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, ex-Stalinist countries who have joined the European Union and are also preparing the conditions for entry into the Euro. The way they are doing it is by attacking viciously all the social gains of the workers. Sooner or later this will lead to an explosion of the class struggle.

Last week’s European summit ended in tears as negotiations on the European Union budget collapsed. The usual diplomatic talk was nowhere to be seen at what will become known as the summit where the whole integration process in the EU was halted in its tracks. Maarten Vanheuverswyn looks at the conflicting national interests that are at the heart of this crisis.

The reaction of the media and the politicians to the massive “no” votes against the European Constitution in France and the Netherlands reveals the nature of our “elites”. However, all the propaganda was to no avail. A few days after the “non” vote in France, the same thing happened in the Netherlands.

The referendum in France on the European Constitution has resulted in a decisive defeat for the ruling class. In spite of a particularly intense campaign by the media, the UMP government and the right-wing of the Socialist Party, 55% of voters have rejected the treaty.

We republish this article on the referundum on the EEC Common Market, written by Ted Grant in 1979. The article explains that the struggle against a capitalist common market needs to be linked to the struggle of changing society on socialist lines, as the struggle against the European Constitution today must also be.

We are publishing this article which appears in the recent edition of the French Marxist magazine La Riposte looking at the prospects of a European Constitution. How have the Communist and Socialist Parties of France responded to it, and what does it mean for the working class?

The vote for the German SPD in the recent European elections revealed a disastrous collapse. It is the price the party pays for pushing a Blairite agenda of cuts and attacks on the welfare state. The German workers do not want this. Large numbers abstained, rather than vote for the Christian Democrats, who also lost votes. On the left, the PDS recovered from its bad showing in 1999.

The recent European elections reveal one common feature: the defeat of whoever is in power (apart from Greece and Spain where this had already happened in elections earlier this year). The workers of Europe voted against the same policies. They are fed up of cuts in pensions, healthcare, education and a general worsening of their living standards. The elections are a clear indication of the mood developing in society.

Bush's war in Iraq split the European Union and NATO into two. Now after Aznar lost his job as Spanish Prime Minister, and Berlusconi has been dramatically weakened does this mean that the European powers can find a common ground? In reality they all hang together because divided they could not survive in the world market, but there are still deep divisions. By Claudio Bellotti, Originally published in FalceMartello number 176, May 27, 2004.

After eighteen months of trying to patch together an agreement between the member states, the talks on the EU constitution collapsed last weekend in Brussels. Different excuses have been given for the collapse, but the real causes are to be found in the fundamental economic contradictions that are emerging between the EU member states. The European Union is now revealing its true face. It is a tool in the hands of the multinationals and of each national bourgeoisie with which to impose their attacks on the living standards of the masses.