Brussels, Monday 7th May – A new pan-European network committed to opposing the European Union's Austerity Treaty was launched today at the end of a two-day conference on the EU crisis .
Some 300 people from across Europe joined the two day event in Brussels to discuss the EU in Crisis – analysis, resistance and alternatives.
There was broad support for joined up action to oppose the Austerity Treaty, officially known as the Fiscal Pact, which was condemned for the damage it will inflict on European society, and there were calls to work together for the roll-back of undemocratic reforms on economic policy that promote austerity and attack social rights.
Opposition to the Pact – and to the related imposition of privatisation and welfare cuts – is growing across Europe, with Ireland due to vote in a referendum on the Treaty on 31 May. On 12 May, there will be a day of action, the Real Democracy Now Global Spring , and protests are planned against the activities of the European Central Bank later this month .
Kenneth Haar from Corporate Europe Observatory said:
“The treaty and the policy it represents are hitting the poorest in Europe the hardest. People in Greece, in Portugal and Spain are paying a particularly severe price, but these unjust polices will lead to more inequality, more poverty and disenfranchisement throughout the continent. It is time to stop listening to banks and big business. Low wages and social cuts are not going to rebuild Europe – it is a race to bottom and destroys everything we value.”
Organised jointly by Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) with the Transnational Institute (TNI), the conference marked the 15th anniversary of CEO.
Among the plans agreed at the conference is a pan-European campaign to denounce the lobby efforts of the banks to water down proposed regulation, and to stop decision makers caving into this pressure.
Water campaigners at the event also launched a campaign to stop the EU using the crisis to push for the privatisation of water services in Greece, Portugal and other EU member states, sending an open letter to the EU Commissioner Olli Rehn.
“This crisis could represent an opportunity for Europe to build fairer, greener, more democratic societies. This is the message that came from our conference, that we hear from the grassroots – and that Europe's politicians must listen to."
Contact: Kenneth Haar, Corporate Europe Observatory: tel: +45 23600631
 EU in Crisis: analysis, resistance and alternatives to corporate Europe, 5-6th May in Brussels, see: http://www.corporateeurope.org/
 The Real Democracy Now Global Spring day of action on the 12 May 2012 follows the protests by the Indignados on May 15 and October 15 2011.
 Action days against the European Central Bank are planned in Frankfurt, Germany, on May 16-19