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Year 2000 No. 208, December 6, 2000 Archive Search Home Page

At the National Consultative Conference 2000:

Unity in Action

Workers' Daily Internet Edition : Article Index :

At the National Consultative Conference 2000:
Unity in Action

Nice Intergovernmental Conference:
Who Will Win Out?

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At the National Consultative Conference 2000:

Unity in Action

The Central Committee of RCPB(ML) has invited representatives of the Central Committee of the New Communist Party of Britain, as well as other forces in the communist movement in Britain, to attend the National Consultative Conference 2000. It has also issued an open invitation, through its leadership, to all activists of NCP to participate in the Conference. This is an important step in the context of the necessity of the times to consolidate the Communist Party on the new historical basis.

Andy Brooks, General Secretary of NCP, pointed out in relation to the theme of the Conference and the preoccupations of the communists, the importance of projecting the communist alternative. This relates, he said, not just to the issues involved in developing unity in action, but also to give concrete instances of what this alternative entails. He stressed that the emancipation of the working people, which must be their own act, is inseparable from the masses of the people taking up this alternative.

National Consultative Conference 2000
An Invitation to Participate

Article Index

Nice Intergovernmental Conference:

Who Will Win Out?

The European Council of the heads of state and government of the European Union begins tomorrow, December 7, in Nice, France. It is scheduled to meet from December 7 – 9, though commentators are pointing out that it is bound to run into extra time because of the contradictions between the European leaders.

The Nice European Council will represent the conclusion of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) which began work on February 14. The aim of the IGC is to work out the new arrangements which will be necessary to make an enlarged European Union work. There are 13 countries from central and eastern Europe waiting in the wings to join the present 15-member EU bloc. The dilemma facing the European "big powers" (the big four being Britain, France, Germany and Italy) is how to strengthen and enlarge the European Union as a bloc serving the interests of European monopoly capital, while at the same time trying to ensure their respective aims to be the leading players in this bloc.

The New Arrangements

It is in this context that the arguments are taking place on where the European governments are prepared to draw their "red lines" on issues where they are not prepared to enter into deals and compromises. These are the issues where the extension of qualified majority voting (QMV) is proposed, as opposed to unanimity being reached. Involved are such questions as taxation, social security policy, aid to poorer regions, cultural and financial matters, and immigration and border controls.

The re-weighting of votes in the Council is another thorny issue. The reforms proposed are to revise the weighting of votes in favour of the larger states, with Germany getting the lion’s share. This arrangement is naturally being opposed by those who will lose out.

Also at issue are the size and composition of the Commission, the executive of the Council, under an enlarged EU, where it is proposed that the "big powers" would lose their privilege to have two Commissioners each, to the other states’ one, and the capping of the size of the Commission, so that not all states are represented at any one time.

The Role of the British Government

In the run-up to the Nice Summit, the British government has launched its own offensive on Europe. Tony Blair has held talks with the German Chancellor, the French President, the Spanish Prime Minister, as well as the Finnish Prime Minister. Both Tony Blair and Robin Cook have given a number of speeches and interviews.

The aim of the government is summed up in its slogan "stronger in Europe, stronger in the world", and aims to become the leading player in an integrated and enlarged EU by 2010. It has sided with the French government in pushing a European identity for the armed forces of the Western European Union, as well as the "Rapid Reaction Force". At the same time, it has seen its interests served by not joining the single currency, in order to keep its options open with regard to its links and ties with the Commonwealth countries, the countries of Eastern Europe, as well as the Far East.

The Stand of the Working Class

The British working class has a very important role to play in opposing the plans of Britain and the other big powers to strengthen and enlarge the European Union to the east. It cannot get embroiled in the dog-fights between the different sections of European finance capital, but must strive to put in place its own arrangements.

The working class must oppose the national chauvinism which emanates from the English bourgeoisie, which is seeking to strengthen the reactionary role of Britain. As part of this, it cannot line up behind the position that Britain’s independence and democracy is at stake, but must underline that the path of social revolution to establish the sovereignty of the peoples of England, Scotland and Wales is essential. It must also grasp that the strengthening of the European Union is also directed against social progress, and in particular the independent movement of the working class to establish socialism.

At the same time, it must fully unite under its leadership all those forces which are demanding the withdrawal from and dismantling of the EU as a dangerous economic, political and military bloc.

Who Will Win Out?

The struggle between the various European powers over the Nice Summit is a reflection that the contradictions between them are intensifying, even as they try to dominate Europe for their own purposes. The war against Yugoslavia was one example where these contradictions expressed themselves in open conflict. The drive to a "united Europe" in this sense is accompanied with very dangerous consequences. At the same time, the big powers, together with the United States, have their aim to utilise an integrated EU to threaten and dominate Asia. However, the countries of Asia have also set out on their path to establishing a multi-polar world, and are determined not to be dominated. The road is not so simple for the European powers.

The democratic and progressive forces must strengthen their unity in charting the way out of the crisis and in the struggle to exercise sovereignty over their own affairs, which entails smashing all the schemes of the EU powers to impose their own neo-liberal values, as well as averting the danger which the contradictions between these powers is intensifying.

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