A new start is needed for Europe: The European Left chart a way forward

Below is a Declaration of the Party of the European Left [EL] in which it charts a way forward for the EU after the Irish people rejected the Lisbon treaty, making it null and void. Member Parties of the EL are socialist, communist, red-green and other democratic left parties of the member states and associated states of the European Union. (EU) They work together and establish various forms of co-operation at all levels of political activity in Europe, based on the agreements, basic principles and political aims laid down in the EL Manifesto. Membership to the EL is open to any left party and political organisation in Europe that agrees with the aims and principles of the EL Manifesto and accepts the EL statutes.


The victory of the NO in Ireland is a chance for Europe. It must be seized.

The treaty of Lisbon cannot, and will not, be implemented. It was to be ratified by the 27 countries and the Irish people decided that their country would not do it. The will of the leaders of the European Union, affirmed by the Council of June 19, to continue the ratification process, by pressuring Ireland until it changes opinion, does not have any sense. There is no outcome, neither legal nor political, for this treaty.

The question put today thus consists in an alternative: either stagnation in the crisis or a new departure for Europe, starting from the opinion expressed by its people.

Indeed we need to draw the conclusions owing to the fact that, all these last years, as soon as the possibility was offered to the European people to express themselves about the destiny of Europe, they, starting from their experiment, refused to ratify the policies and the design of the European Union as they are currently proposed to them.

The Irish people are not isolated. On the contrary, they became the interpreter of the other European people to which their governments refused the right to decide by referendum. Their vote confirmed and prolonged the French and Dutch NO of 2005 by rejecting once again the policies of precarisation, pressures on wages and social rights, of attacks against public services, and alignment on NATO. It is indeed a call to real changes in Europe. As the watchword of the opponents to the treaty affirmed: “Say NO to this treaty for a better treaty”. It is the question which is raised from now on.

The French Presidency will start on July 1. The European Left proposes that instead of continuing with the arrogant and the blind way of the leaders of the European Union, it is the occasion for the decisions be to the height of the reality which has just been created: to stop from now on the ratification process of a null and void treaty and to open at large the construction of a new treaty for the European Union.

So that it finally corresponds to the aspirations and needs of the people, this new treaty must rest on other bases than the neoliberal and militaristic ones that were at the heart of the rejections of the successive past treaties. It must be elaborated in a completely new way for the European Union, by a democratic and popular process, ratified by referendum in each and every country. The next elections for the European Parliament must also be a moment of clarification concerning the different positions on the future of Europe. A new text will have to be ratified through referendum in every country. We propose for this purpose, without waiting, initiatives to be taken in order to undertake the work on this treaty. It should be elaborated in association between the European Parliament and the National Parliaments, starting from consultations of the citizens to make their requirements known.

Immediately, deep changes in the social, economic, monetary, environmental, and defence policies are essential. In opposition to this necessity, Nicolas Sarkozy affirms his willingness to keep the course of the “four priorities” which he had himself fixed when imagining that the adoption of “his” Lisbon treaty would be just but a formality. The continuation of the energy and transport public services’ dumping in place of a coherent energy and climatic policy, the shame directive as immigration policy, alignment on NATO as defence policy, orientations compatible with the WTO as agricultural policy… All these decisions are going against the requirements for a social, democratic, ecological, feminist Europe, as factor of peace and solidarity in the world. A Europe of peace and solidarity is more than ever what is needed as an exit to the current crisis.

Together, with all the forces, all those that wish it, let us work to this new departure for Europe.

Paris, June 20, 2008.


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