The Guest Blog

European Socialist Youth calls on its leaders

Thousands of citizens have demonstrated in the streets against the signature of CETA, the new generation free trade agreement negotiated between the European Union and Canada. They were 15,000 in Brussels, 25,000 in Austria and 320,000 in Germany. One cannot say when such a big and diverse mobilisation ever occurred at the European level on yet a very technical issue.

Young Europeans strongly claim their active participation to the national and European stakes of our society. They express their willingness to see projects arise which foster hope for the future, their future. Yet, it is clear that CETA does not come close to fulfilling these hopes.

Upon the initiative of a young socialist of the City of Brussels, the capital of Europe, Young European socialists blow an alarm whistle towards the Leaders of their political family.

The CETA treaty, as it stands today, does not respect the red lines socialist values command, which are to:

  • Preserve the ability of states to produce laws and regulate, without being constantly threatened by financial sanctions
  • Mark a firm opposition to the Investor State Dispute Settlement mechanism (ISDS)
  • Reject the use of negative lists in free-trade agreements
  • Refuse all deterioration of sanitary and food norms, so as to protect public health and consumers’ interests
  • Exclude all public services and general interests from commodification, so as to protect their quality and diversity
  • Respect the rule of transparency in all free trade agreement negotiations, by including and informing the European Parliament, national and regional parliaments and civil society;
  • Include binding social and environmental norms into the treaties, as well as control and sanction mechanism in case these norms are not respected;
  • Protect and promote cultural diversity by referring to the UNESCO Convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expression.
  • Demand the absolute respect of data protection, and refuse all lowering of European and national norms on that matter.

These minimal preconditions will not be guaranteed by a simple declaration of clarification or any other appendix to this treaty, which would have uncertain legal value.

The European Commission is pressuring in an unjustifiable way governments which are currently opposing CETA. Until today, the Minister-President of Wallonia, Paul Magnette, and the Austrian Chancellor, Christian Kern, have made very clear declarations on their intention to block this treaty. This opposition is not that of an isolated government but reflects a strong popular movement. We encourage them to hold on firmly to their stance, and invite all other progressive leaders to join their resistance.

Socialists can be proud of the political battles they have led at the European level, whether against the Irak war in 2003, the Service directive, aka “Bolkestein” in 2006, or the Anti-Counterfeit agreement (ACTA) in 2012.

We fight for another Europe, which responds to the challenges young people and society as a whole face daily. Young European Socialists are decidedly in favour of a social Europe, which is economically and fiscally fair, and enables everyone to grow and live in a healthy environment.

Signatories :

Delphine Houba

Young Socialist of Brussels who initiated this opinion piece

Laura Slimani

President of Young European Socialists (YES)

Maxime Felon
President of Jeunes Socialistes (Belgium)

Aaron Ooms

President of JongSocialisten (Belgium)

Julia herr

President of Socialist Youth of Austria

Author :