MEPs discuss protests across Europe this week

Following an appeal signed by 16 MEPs from the Left Group in the European Parliament (GUE/NGL), this week (21 to 26 June) has been designated as a “Week of Protest & Solidarity” across Europe – in opposition to the attacks on working people across Europe and in solidarity with the struggle in Greece.

Protest and solidarity actions are taking place across Europe around the demands of:

  • Workers, pensioners, the unemployed, students, youth and those socially excluded must not pay for the crisis – Make the super rich and bankers pay
  • Solidarity with the working people of Greece and for the unity of working people across Europe
  • No cutbacks, wage cuts, unemployment & increases in the retirement age
  • No to privatisation of public services
  • End the dictatorship of the financial markets, credit ratings institutions and IMF
  • Stop the bailouts of the banks – nationalise the banks and financial institutions in the interests of working people
  • Explaining the need for united action across Europe, Nikolaos Chountis, MEP for Syriza in Greece, declared:

 

“Greece is the guinea pig for imposing very harsh austerity measures to achieve not only fiscal discipline imposed by the Stability Pact, but also to achieve competitiveness with “Chinese terms”, ie to drop the labour costs and reduce labour and social rights. This policy is generalised in other European countries, the problem is no longer a Greek problem, but a European one. If there is not a coordinated and collective response to that, the forces of capital will gain significant strategic territory.”

Speaking about the planned protest in Ireland, Joe Higgins MEP for the Socialist Party said:

“Saturday in Ireland will see a national demonstration as part of the week of action in Dublin. There is enormous anger at the savage cutbacks and attacks of the government, while bankers and speculators continue to be bailed out. This week of action highlights the potential for united action to be built across Europe. Together, thousands of workers across Europe are rejecting the dictatorship of the financial markets supported by the neo-liberal IMF, EU and right-wing governments. They are demanding that public services, workers’ wages and living standards must take priority – not the profits of big business, speculators, bankers and developers.”

Nikolaos Chountis explained the details of the planned protests in Greece this week:

“In Greece the mobilisations are taking place with different demonstrations and actions in all the cities across Greece. For example, on Wednesday evening, 23 June in Athens and other cities, there are going to be massive demonstrations and rallies to fight the neo-liberal reform of the social security and pension system. On Friday night, there will be a public rally in Athens with trade unionists, MPs, MEPs and representatives of the movements and civil society. On Sunday there will be major demonstrations across the country against the privatisations of public services and in particular against the privatisation of the rail network.”

Miguel Portas, MEP for the Left Bloc described the actions taking place in Portugal this week:

“The Left Bloc will widely distribute 200,000 copies of a newspaper about the crisis of the sovereign debt in Greece and the answers of the Left to the Stability Programmes in the different countries, including Portugal. In our country we have answered the Second Package of Stability Measures with very concrete answers in relation to fiscal justice, reduction of military expenditure and the end of public-private partnerships. We also support public investment and collective labour agreements as a key instrument for the fight against unemployment and the support of employment with rights.”

Protests and actions are taking place this week in the following European countries: Austria, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Sweden.