A Different Europe

Compass

Friday, 09 May 2014

differentEurope

Click here to read ‘A Different Europe’

With European elections less than two weeks away and Ukip’s lead in the polls, we have to reframe the debate around Europe and get on the front foot.

We need a better Europe that can tackle the big issues we face today including inequality and climate change. This is why we need a vision for Europe that is rooted in values of equality, democracy and sustainability.

To play our part in the conversation Compass has published ‘A Different Europe’ and we would love to hear your thoughts on it, click here to read it (PDF).

This publication is for everyone that wants to build a Good Society in Europe (it’s not too long!). We need you, as activists, thinkers and organisers to run with these ideas, develop and improve them and embed them in your own organisations. Just email us if we can help in any way to make this happen.

Here is a short summary of the main issues we have tried to tackle and it would be great to hear your thoughts:

•    How we get out of recession without further harming our planet
•    How to develop the resilience of local, regional, and national economies
•    Ensuring there is a greater sense of security for everyone
•    Learning from inspiring examples across Europe for example community energy schemes

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  1. Posted by John Marshall

    I would add something about our main responsibilities to future generations:
    Some resources left in the ground;
    A stable climate;
    An economy that works and is cognisant of the exponential nature of continuous growth as well as accepting a wide definition of well being.

    Hope this helps
    John Marshall

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  2. Posted by Matthew

    I aim to make a fuller comment when I’ve read all the content but from glancing at the headlines this piece seems to focus mostly on the economics (largely irrelevant) rather than the community and living aspects that make me want to remain part of Europe.

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  3. Posted by John B Davies

    If Europe, or anywhere else, is to have any sort of future the climate must be stabilised, both for the human population and for most other forms of life.

    Hence it is essential to slash greenhouse gas emissions very quickly and the best way to do this is to introduce a high carbon tax which goes to governments.

    The rapidity of the cuts is certain to reduce living standards with or without renewables and this has to be faced. Your documents implies that living standards are not going to fall. Whilst there must be greater equality and fairness there is no way to avoid a reduction in living standards.

    A democratic and fair Europe is vital but more essential is cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

    Much more detail could be given but first accepted that living standards are going to fall.

    John B Davies

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  4. Posted by Kerry Davies

    Even in this there is too little joined up thinking. For example of all the grants and schemes for PV panels, insulation and the like social housing is not qualified. Street lighting investment in LED would save millions and reduce energy load. EU wide initiatives are required to reach tipping point and co-ordinated efforts would have more political weight outside the EU.
    Sustainability is fine but economic sustainability during transition is equally as important as “green” issues. If we fail to provide food and shelter for the vulnerable then sooner or later the carbon footprint of burning cities could undo all progress overnight.
    Carbon tax is almost an essential but there have to be viable alternatives and here in the UK we have enormous tidal power which is basically ignored. Hydro is almost ignored and the high carbon production costs of wind power seem to be concentrated on to the detriment of other schemes.
    A good start but only a start and the EU adoption of just some aims would be valuable.

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  5. Posted by Nigel Speight

    On a quick read I agree with everything!
    Good luck
    How about renationalising energy and railways and keeping soem of our banks publicly owned>

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  6. Posted by dr david seddon

    I am positive about a European project that is democratic and progressive and Green – all three elements are potentially mutually reinforcing. we need a Europe that creates wellbeing for all of its people through a social-ist economy focused on efficiency in the use of resources (both human and material/natural) and effectiveness in the distribution of ‘value/wealth’ created directed by a broadly representative elected body and managed by a reduced and cost-effective bureaucracy located in one place – probably Brussels.

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  7. Posted by Maggie Watson

    I agree completely with document. The looming TTIP needs far more publicity in the UK or we will sleep-walk into agreeing to it.

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  8. Posted by Malcolm Kimber

    I have just had a quick read through and think that this is a splendid document which reflects my own thinking. I think that resource consumption (which always also has an energy consumption element) and consumerism are important issues. These are fueled by advertising, the media and the whole attitude within society about fashion, having the latest gizmos and “keeping up with the Jones”. Longtermism (and therefore quality and durability) issues apply here. I also think that we need more public ownership and less spurious competition in the energy and railway sectors.

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  9. Posted by Reg Coles-Watson

    UKIP will not make one tiny bit of differece if they get the majority of the British Votes in the Euro Elections. Apart from wantiong to take us out of the EU they have no other policies. Also they have hidden links to the BNP and English League which makes them a very dangerous group of people.

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  10. Posted by James Hynes

    I am glad that governments are at last beginning to think about taxing speculative financial transactions. Achieving that would open a path towards achieving the document’s other aims.

    Of course we nee a greener economy but sooner or later governments will have to face up to the fact that we will have to use nuclear energy or else energy hungry citizens will get very angry. Wind, solar and water will not supply all energy needs!

    Stop being afraid of global corporations as they pick off separate nations. Build inter-national alliances to stand up to the corporations. Prevent bullying by transnational power brokers who run the human race as it is!

    Think co-operatively not competitively. The word and the concept competitive should disappear into Orwell’s Memory Hole.

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  11. Posted by Sylvia

    I think you’ve done a great job of condensing major issues into a concise document! I would like to see some inclusion on feeding the worlds growing population. According to the UN we will need to produce 60% more food by 2050!

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  12. Posted by Dave Gray

    Agree with everything. We need a stronger European Parliament, with much more control over the Commission. One glaring omission – no mention of the obscene amounts of money spent on nuclear weapons by several Eupopean countries. Europe should be a nuclear free zone.

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  13. Posted by rose hill

    We need to stay in Europe but not in its present form. As I see it the only party promising this is the conservative party . What is the alternative?? Also I agree we need Trade Unions but we need fair Unions who can accept that getting their own way is not the best way for the Country as a whole.

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  14. Posted by Richard Heller

    Mentioned this earlier but where are proposals for reform of the CAP (still over 40% of EU Budget, still favouring rich farmers, still hitting developing countries, still keeping food prices too high for EU consumers)?

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  15. Posted by Mark H Burton

    I’m afraid this doesn’t quite ‘cut it’ for me:-
    There is no compelling vision of what society should be like.
    It doesn’t level on the kind of cuts to consumption that are needed, peddling the myth that we can survive on this planet without a massive reduction in size of the economy as we know it.
    It is silent on the woeful inadequacy of the EU’s 20% decarbonisation target although it implies the inadequacy of the ETS.
    It says nothing about Europe as an imperialist power centre in a still colonial world.
    I could go on – there is a lot to agree with but as one of the other commentators notes it is insufficiently joined up. No doubt this comes from it being a brief manifesto-like intervention but I can’t see an organising vision here.

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  16. Posted by Alan Taylor

    My fear is that if UKIP does win a substantial number of seats in the EU elections there will be an even bigger call for the UK to quit the EU. If this were to happen does UKIP and its supporters, honestly believe that companies such as General Motors, Nissan, Honda and many more multinational companies will remain in the UK, I don’t think so and we will become the poor man of Europe. Look what’s happening recently in Australia.

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  17. Posted by Chris Wynne

    I agree with some, but not all of the points in general. I do think we need to make the EU more open to scrutiny by ordinary people, who by and large see the EU as a ‘Gravy Train’, which I think it is at times, this play’s into the hand of UKIP. If we don’t act now we will end up… ‘throwing the baby out with the bath water’ which will only serve those who want to see us revert back to the bad old days of greed and excess.

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  18. Posted by Tony Toft

    I agree with most of the things said, We desperately need to stay in Europe. We are already a parochial, backward looking country compared to most of our European neighbours and if we leave the EU this will rapidly get worse. It would make sense, economically, for all of Europe’s military forces to combine and share the costs which are becoming increasingly unsustainable for most countries to finance effectively on their own. Each country could maintain a small independent military force to act as a home guard if necessary. An independent nuclear deterrent would make no sense in a stable EU that cooperates effectively with individual member states in a proper democratic set up. In this country we no longer have a true democracy as our political system is not fit for purpose. If a nuclear deterrent is still deemed necessary then this should be a shared cost and responsibility.

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  19. Posted by Frank Adam

    Given the latest from Monsieur Piketty that Marx was right over the trends of “Capital in the 21st Century” even if his followers made a dog’s breakfast of practical politicking; and given the national alarm of both France and Britain about the attempts to buy out Alstom and Xneca Astra, the sooner we in the €U close ranks and defend our economic sovereignty, the better!!!

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  20. Posted by Anne Eardley

    Well done, inspiring vision. But the challenge of engaging and enthusing the public who are mainly unaware of the positive potential benefits of the EU is huge.

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  21. Posted by Anne Cooper

    I am interested in much higher levels of transparency and accountability
    Proper auditing of expenditure and monitoring of outcomes
    holding MEPs to account for expenses
    If this is not in place you can forget the rest – it will be a farce – at the moment the EU feels like some ridiculous gravy train for clapped out MPs with ludicrous obsession about federalism and less about trade and competition unless it is to create excessive bureacracy and interfering legislation – the EU feels shambolic

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  22. Posted by Anne Cooper

    In response to Sylvia’s post about our need to feed a growing population it all sounds apocalyptic. 60% increase in human population – OMG – what about increasing education and the need for reducing human population to allow other species to also co-exist on the planet – I find the relentless increase of populations in the developing world where people barely exist below the poverty line deeply depressing especially as these countries are run by corrupt despots half the time- this all sounds so idealistic – we need to look at the hard facts – diminishing resources, climate change, deforestation, I dont know about the EU sounds like the whole planet needs to get a grip – but unlikely.

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  23. Posted by Chris Kitcher

    Just two issues that I feel need to be highlighted

    1) Any new legislation that improves individual protection regarding pay, safety, working times needs to have a formalised enforcement regime to apply them.

    2) The EU needs to have a policy of ensuring that employers are working towards paying a decent living wage thereby eliminating the need for working tax credits etc. This at the EU level could be introduced over a decade.

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  24. Posted by Bill Redmond

    I agree with everything you say. The difficulty lies in implementation. The UK government has no interest in changing the status quo, and persuading people to change the culture in the necessary ways, when we have a press which is also committed to the present system, is extraordinarily difficult. That does not mean we should not try, but we are going to have to find innovative ways of getting our message across.

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  25. Posted by Richard Heller

    Not sure if comment received a moment ago, noting total contrast of our document’s rejection of TTIP and Labour European election manifesto endorsing it.

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  26. Posted by John Weeks

    As I show in my new book, Economics of the 1%, the governance further integration of economic policy among the EU countries, especially a common EU fiscal policy, is a progressive’s nightmare. From the original Maastricht criteria to the recent fiscal pact, the effect of these measures to institutionalize neoliberal restrictions on pubic policy, and remove those policies from democratic accountability and transparency.

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