People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 43

October 28, 2007

PCP Opposes The EU Treaty

Asks For Holding Of A Referendum


THE European Union summit held in Lisbon recently arrived at an agreement on the EU Treaty after prolonged negotiations and wrangling among the leaders. The new Treaty is expected to be signed on December 13, 2007, in Lisbon and will be called 'Lisbon Treaty'.


This agreement on the proposed treaty is being presented as "historic" and as a great accomplishment by the Socialist Party/Sócrates government of Portugal. “This is a victory for Europe. We are getting out of a blind alley. We no longer have an institutional crisis”, said Portuguese prime minister Jose Socrates, who as holder of the EU rotating presidency acted as the host of the meeting.


After the European constitution was rejected by voters in France and Netherlands in referendums held in 2005, this agreement is being seen as a significant step forward. “This is a historic agreement. Now Europe can defend its interests in the age of globalisation”, said head of European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso. Once the text of the agreement is signed by EU prime ministers and heads of state on December 13, it will need to be ratified by all member states, by either parliamentary votes or referendums.


The Political Commission of the Central Committee of the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) reacting to the agreement stated that it is a meticulously prepared fabrication to elude the peoples of the European Union and to cover up the devastating consequences of its right-wing policies. The way the Portugal government is drumming up support for the agreement also seeks to hide the growing discontentment and struggle that is developing from the North to the South of the country, and which had a truly historic massive expression in the form of a huge protest on the doors of the summit.


The PCP termed the agreement around the so-called "reform treaty" as not good but bad news for Portugal and the Portuguese. It noted as particularly grave and significant the identical positions expressed by the Socialist (social democrat) and Social-Democrat Party (right wing) on this matter.


For Portugal, the treaty, if signed and ratified, will mean new and serious losses of sovereignty, it stated. It would also result in loss of positions in the European Union institutions, namely by the end of the rotating presidencies of the Council, the loss of a permanent Commission member, and a reduction in the number of deputies in the European Parliament. The PCP felt that the agreement would also entail a deepening of the process of European capitalist integration at the service of big capital and the great powers, beginning with Germany, which led this whole negotiation process. It would mean a reinforcement of neo-liberalism, federalism and militarism, and a new step towards the configuration of the European Union as an economic-political-military imperialist block entangled with NATO and the US to dominate the world.


The agreement now announced is an important step in consummating a cynical process. The agreed text is no more and no less than the so-called "constitutional treaty", rejected earlier with the decisive contribution of the French and Dutch "No". It is now being presented with new clothes to facilitate its anti-democratic imposition on the peoples of Europe, stated the PCP.


The PCP also announced its resolve to pursue its fight against a process of integration and a treaty so profoundly contrary to sovereignty, to national interests, and to the cause of social progress and peace in Europe and the world.


The PCP demanded a broad national debate and a popular consultation that can give the Portuguese people the possibility of pronouncing itself on the treaty through a binding referendum. Holding referenda is a democratic imperative, broadly claimed throughout the European Union. A demand which found important expression in the recent joint position that upon PCP's indicative , was subscribed by 29 communist, workers’, progressive and Left parties from European Union and also in the meeting of the European United Left / Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL), held on October 16-18, 2007 in Lisbon.


An immediate decision is required on this issue. Now that the treaty's text in known in its entirety, the Portugal government has no further pretext to continue to elude its electoral commitment to hold a referendum. It is not serious that José Sócrates invoked the fact that the treaty has not yet been signed in order to continue to postpone a decision on the indispensable democratic debate and popular consultation.


“The 18th of October and Portugal are negatively associated with the approval of the European Union treaty. But this date is positively marked by news of important popular struggles in other countries of Europe. In Portugal and for the Portuguese it will mainly be marked by the historic manifestation summoned by the CGTP (General Trade-Union Confederation), which brought together more than 200 thousand people in a demonstration of great combativeness, trust in the reasons for struggle, and affirmation of hope for a better future”, stated the Political Committee of the Portuguese Communist Party.