This pamphlet seeks to assess the challenges posed to the trade union and labour movement by Cameron’s renegotiation of British membership of the European Union (EU). This renegotiation, it is argued, will significantly worsen the impact of the EU on working people – not just in Britain but very probably elsewhere in the EU as well.
The question trade unionists now have to answer is whether the human costs and consequences of EU membership on these new terms justifies their continuing support. The pamphlet will consider: l How far ‘Social Europe’ delivers sufficient benefits to counteract the consequences of the EU’s austerity economics – and will continue to do so after Cameron’s renegotiation.
• How far the EU has been, and still is, a force for peace and a guarantor of political stability in Europe.
• Whether leaving the EU would deprive Britain of key markets and result in large-scale job losses.
• Whether there are substantial economic and political gains to be secured from leaving – and how far EU austerity and privatisation rules would still apply to trade with the EU.
• How far the Left in the EU still has the strength to change the EU from the inside.
• How far the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a oneoff project and can by modified and limited by the EU and how far it is in fact integral to the wider politics of the EU.
The pamphlet concludes that whatever benefits may once have derived from EU membership, they are far outweighed by the negative consequences of continuing membership.
This pamphlet ends with a warning. The EU’s imposition of neo-liberal policies on all governments, including those led by the traditional parties of the Left, has resulted in the collapse of support for social democracy. In the coming referendum voters will be asked to support an even more neo-liberal and probusiness EU. Politically, such an outcome would pose an additional danger that Cameron would use it to argue that the electorate has voted in support of the EU’s so-called free market policies and therefore against Labour’s programme for public ownership and enhanced public spending.
This is why it is so essential to put forward and win a positive, progressive case against Cameron’s EU – a vision of renewed democracy, a restored welfare state and a redevelopment of public control over the economy, a vision that can combat racism, cynicism and division and unite all working people.
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