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Response to pampango (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 10:31 AM

2. Reaction to Cameron from Euclid Tsakalotos, Greek left-wing Syriza MP

Since 2008, inside and outside the eurozone, opposition to austerity policies has been labelled populist, in a cynical exercise to conflate the popular with populism. But it is successive British leaders who have raised populism with respect to the EU to a fine art. The dream of a Europe as a vast "free" market with limited social rights, or "a more flexible, adaptable and open European Union", has been the goal. Hollowing out democracy has been the means.

Greater integration implies a willingness to share sovereignty; the central question is whether this will be accompanied by the creation of a European public space and new democratic institutions. The UK prime minister's understanding of the "national interest" and his opposition to a two-speed Europe has nothing to do such democratic accountability.

European peoples in the south can vote for any government they want - as long as the policies of austerity remain untouched; the same policies, that is, which have led to such a spectacular failure in the UK. It is the opposition movements who are truly displaying "courage and conviction", but in order bring back an agenda of jobs, wages and pensions, and even more, to return some control over economic policy to ordinary people.

There is a democratic deficit within the EU. But David Cameron is on the side of those elites and financial markets that want to deepen that deficit still further.


There are also reactions from conservatives in Germany, Finland and the Czech Republic; a French socialist; a Dutch correspondent and a Spanish social scientist.

From the French socialist MEP (Pervenche Beres):

Mr Cameron seems to forget that the EU is a union of freedom and a free market, not a union of markets or an open relationship.

By establishing a link between the results of the next general elections in 2015 and the potential organisation of an in/out referendum in 2017, he is trying to regain confidence among his own party, by arousing resentment against the EU in the British population.

The basis of the proposed referendum will be a future renegotiation of the relationship between the EU and the United Kingdom; does he really imagine that his country can have full access to the internal market without contributing to the European budget, and rejecting a common regulatory framework for the financial services which had a major responsibility for the current crisis?

We cannot afford this kind of "Europe on demand" project.

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