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Gantry 5

 

The European Union's recovery plan: A capitalist plan against workers

The European Commission is proposing a so-called “recovery” plan of 750 billion euros. Of this sum borrowed between 2021 and 2024 by issuing Eurobonds on the financial markets 250 billion will be loaned,

500 billion (in fact 433 billion) will be transferred through the European budget channel to the Member States most affected by the Covid- 19. These sums are to be compared with the EU budget of about1100 billion euros which is financed by the Member States.
This proposal may seem generous but it’s only on the face of it. Loans are hardly a help for highly indebted states. Refunds must start from 2028. Above all, the 433 billion in subsidies will be conditional on investment plans and structural reforms which we know will be tools for corporate restructuring and capitalist concentration to the detriment of employees. The investment plans must meet the objectives of the "Green deal" and the energy transition defined by the EU in the form of aid to private companies. The structural reforms that are the fetish of the dominant capitalist forces are responsible for the failure of the states to respond to the Covid health crisis in particular through liquidation and / or privatization of public services. Obviously for capital, "the day after" and the day before are like two peas in a pod! To increase their competitiveness in the global competition exacerbated particularly with US and Asian companies, European companies imperatively need to get rid of everything that hinders the profit of capital: employees' social rights are therefore particularly targeted, so are wages, with many companies playing off employment against lower wages!
The repayment of this loan will be made by the Member States from 2028 on the basis of their contributions to the financing of the Union and not on the basis of the share they have received.
This so-called principle of solidarity comes up against the reality of each State's debt. In other words, those who are the least indebted do not want to pay for the others. In order to get its plan accepted and bypass the opposition of the Netherlands, Austria, Sweden and Denmark, the European Commission has been very generous in distributing aid to the countries of central and eastern Europe which have been less affected by the Covid than the countries of southern Europe.
Thus Spain and Italy particularly affected by the Covid are only in 8th and 12th place in the table of direct financial aid. France 18th estimates that the 39 billion allocated are a minimum. The negotiations between the Member States will be particularly tough. The validation of the plan requires the unanimous agreement of the heads of State and government as well as the approval of the European parliament and the national parliaments in order to be operational in 2021.
It is therefore a financing plan for European companies via their States on an axis already defined by the EU (digital and energy transition); a plan conditioned on labor deregulation reforms with the objective of moving to a new phase of restructuring and concentration of capital in the context of confrontations within imperialism and especially between the USA and China.
The reactions to this plan, generally favorable, indicate a new step in European capitalist "solidarity" and are very significant of the tendency to formalize the European super-state and anti-democratic structure. This path, which in France was rejected fifteen years ago with the NO to the referendum on the European constitution, is increasingly the form imposed by capital in Europe to regulate and defend its interests. In France, the political forces support the plan even if some, like the PCF add to it a criticism refusing a new austerity: but can this plan mean anything else? While the socialist group in the European parliament states in a press release: "The delegation of the social and ecological left welcomes the Franco-German proposal for a recovery plan amounting to 500 billion euros". Claiming that Europe can be social is to deliberately forget that it is an imperialist construction at the service of capitalist monopolies. Its structure, its organization and its ideology were entirely constructed at the end of the 2nd World War, for the interests of capital and against employees.
At union level support is unanimously voiced. In a joint declaration, the German DGB unions and the five French confederations approve the plan: The German trade union confederation DGB and the five French centrals CFDT, CFTC, CGT, FO and Unsa call, in a joint declaration, for a"economic, fiscal and budgetary convergence of the Member States of the European Union" and call for a recovery strategy which goes "beyond the 500 billion euros announced by France and Germany". They go even further by claiming: "In this context, the Franco-German initiative for European recovery, presented by the French President and the German Chancellor on May 18, must materialize through the modernization of European economic models, by placing the ecological transition at the heart of the new growth strategy of the European Union (EU). It is a long-standing demand of European trade unionism, we can only welcome it. "
This commitment with the German and French governments places the trade union organizations in the wake of the strategy of capital. No wonder this statement has stirred up the CGT, causing the expression of disagreement from several professional and territorial federations.
For our part, we alert the employees to the content of this plan meant for more exploitation and less democracy. We say that without the class struggle against capital to bring it down, it is illusory to think that "salvation" will come from "solidarity" within European capital! Class struggle or class collaboration: you have to choose and for us the choice is clear!