27 January 2006

Political Union in the EU is the best way to reclaim our democracy.

The rich and powerful have many ways of skewing the political system in their favour. They control most of the media, they 'buy' political parties with 'donations' and they make the best use of dysfunctional electoral systems and resist more democratic alternatives.

But aside from this, has emerged a new even bigger threat to our democracy. Without cross border solidarity, each nation's ability to set its own tax and spending levels are being undermined by the sheer power of the super-rich and multi-national companies. The super-rich have long been allowed to avoid tax, the best known example is Rupert Murdoch and his company News International that despite making billions in profit, through creative accounting have paid no tax for decades. But worse than the tax havens that the financial elite use, they now are using their muscle to erode all taxation and social provision that places any sort of costs on their businesses.

Social dumping is the biggest threat to our democracy. It enables the super-rich to put downward pressure not just on tax levels, but also on environmental protection and health and safety conditions. Being a single nation is no longer powerful enough in the face of this supra-national power of the transnational elite of companies and super-rich.

Ever wondered why the foreign owners of our press are so fearful of the EU? Well this is the answer, it threatens their monopolistic control within countries and their trans-national ability to avoid paying their taxes.

This is why the EU has to be more than just a trading bloc, it is the best way to restore democratic accountability. The EU has many problems of transparency and accountability within its own archaic structures that were largely designed in the French mould of its most powerful founding nation. These are strictures that need to be overcome but they are surmountable. Without closer political unions like the EU, the threat from the multi-nationals is going to get insurmountable.

3 comments:

  1. The Blue Foxxx27/1/06 11:00 pm

    I agree the EU could potentially be a powerful force for social democracy, these values are far more ingrained in European culture than US culture.

    However, the constitution presented to the European public was an essentially 'new constitutionalist', neo-liberal project. Endorsing it would have put any hope of economic control well beyond the grasp of any national populace or national government, much in the way TRIPS and GATS agreements have done. What is needed is a *specific* sort of European solidarity, and this is not something Blair can contribute to.

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  2. The Blue Foxxx27/1/06 11:01 pm

    Ingrained or engrained?

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  3. Hi Neil, sorry to spam your comment box like this, I have been searching for your e-mail, but without luck.

    I am from the Party of European Socialists (speaking of a political Europe :-)) and would like to invite you - and other interested bloggers and activists - to give input to our manifesto for the 2009 European elections. If you're interested you're welcome to contact me or take a look at our YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnNm1EdBbIQ

    Hope to hear from you!

    Best,
    Rikke

    rikke.skovgaard (a) pes (dot) org

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