8 December 2011

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Europe: 24 Hours To Save Our Democracy!

Dear friends, 


In 24 hours, our leaders may wave through a terrifying Merkel/Sarkozy plan that would abolish our right to choose sane economic policies. But, together, we can stop our leaders trashing our democracy and our jobs.


Panicked by big banks, Europe's governments want to change our constitutions and the EU treaty to permanently ban vital public spending. This is nuts: in the 1930s such spending was precisely what allowed Europe and the US to escape the Great DepressionEurope needs to toughen up and regulate the banks, not tie our governments' hands to make them happy.



We live in a democracy -- so Europe's leaders should not be able agree to this plan themselves -- they need to come up with solutions that have the approval of the people or our Parliament. We only have 24 hours to save our democracies from this attack -- our massive call today can force leaders to respect democracy, regulate the banks, reject austerity, and invest in our future. Our demands will be delivered to the leaders and media outside tomorrow's meeting. 



The Merkel/Sarkozy plan bans governments from deficit spending over 3% of GDP. This is common practice of almost all governments and a needed tactic to allow for stimulus spending in hard times. It's true that a few Eurozone countries have taken this too far and seriously over-spent, and Europe needs to stop that happening again. But the tough economic decisions Europe needs must be taken by strong, democratic, accountable institutions, not rammed down our throats during an economic crisis. Even Germany has repeatedly violated its own promises to limit its debt and deficit. Keeping those promises would have only made things worse in a tight economy.
 
The big banks who have the power to buy government bonds and bring calm to the markets, have already toppled three European governments -- let's make that the limit. If Germany allows it, the European Central Bank can do what other central banks do -- intervene to guarantee government bonds and face down the markets. Since Italy isn't bankrupt the bank can even make money on this. If the ECB buys time the EU can find a more sensible and democratic way out of the current crisis. Some of the Merkel Sarkozy proposals -- for example a tax on financial speculation -- start us off in that direction. They should build on that and rewrite the package.



This is about the survival of the European welfare state, which represents our core values and helps stabilise our economies when recessions hit. If the new constitutions and treaties are agreed to this week, some government would face referenda or Parliamentary votes, but others would simply implement the changes. This means many of our governments would have to keep cutting spending on unemployment insurance, pensions and health, worsening the recession. It's a no brainer. For the sake of our democracies, our societies and our economies, we have to say no now, before it's too late. 



Reasonable people can disagree about the best way to protect us all from national overspending and crippling debt. But imposing austerity measures that we already know won't work and tying the hands of our democracy is not the answer. Over and over again, our community has stood up and won real accountability from our leaders when they have tried to bypass us -- now we must come together and demand to be heard once again. 


With hope, 

Loup Dargent
On behalf of Alex, Emma, Ricken, Jamie, Pascal, Giulia, Stephanie, Laura and the rest of the Avaaz team. 

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