policy statements adopted unanimously at the first European Counter Summit
Clarence Hotel, Dublin, Ireland
June 25th 1990
The European Communities (EC), specifically the Euratom Treaty of the European Communities, is pro-nuclear in its aims, therefore ruling out a move away from nuclear: Resolved to create the conditions necessary for the development of a powerful nuclear industry ..... etc. The result is active support, including financial, for installations like Sellafield, and the non-implementation of a nuclear installations inspectorate to control these plants. The Euratom Supply Agency arranges contracts for the sale of Plutonium and Uranium. The Commission foresees an increase in the proportion of electricity generated by nuclear. EC research is heavily weighted towards nuclear and carboniferous fuels and not into the application of non-polluting sustainable alternatives. The EC does relatively little to cut back energy consumption, and even resists attempts by countries like Denmark to increase building insulation standards. It promotes, and funds road construction, and the use of cars, rather than public transport, with the inevitable environmental consequences.
The 1992 Single Market will increase the use of energy, and therefore, by not encouraging renewable alternatives, the EC will be contributing further to the greenhouse effect, acid rain, and nuclear pollution. According to the instrument which created the Single Market - the SEA, the EC may not interfere with national policies regarding the exploitation of energy resources. This does not square with the projected image of a Green EC, and Mr. Haugheys Green Presidency of it.
Consumer and public health groups are growing more concerned at the ECs apparent support for Food irradiation, encouragement of genetic engineering, biotechnology, cloning, embryo research, pesticide-proof crops, deliberate releases, life-form patenting; animal testing, additives and chemicals in food & drink. Products banned, although produced within the EC are legally sold to the Third World, toxic waste is shipped there, and biotechnology tests are carried out there.
The EC has adopted the Lawnmower approach to harmonization of environmental standards, bringing them down to the lowest common denominator. The Commission is attempting to restrict the natural diversity of markets and of nature by standardizing everything from car emissions to seeds, thus increasing the risk of disease in crops, and the need for pesticides etc. The Internal Market is creating an open area for Bovine Spongiform, rabies, foot and mouth disease etc. While inhibiting individual member states from taking progressive environmental action the Commission itself takes no action in many areas, eg labelling for non-cruelty to animals, higher car emission standards in Holland and insulation standards in Denmark etc. In the USA, states can initiate legislative improvements, which is prevented in the EC. Member states cannot enforce labelling of known harmful substances without the ECs approval.
The EC is orientated towards large scale in agriculture (CAP), mariculture, forestry, and industry (Single Market) - resulting in serious pollution problems
Agriculture - intensive farming has given rise to problems with silage, slurry, fertilizers, pesticides, drugs, BST, feeds with additives, diseases, removal of hedgerows, loss of species, set-aside, mountains and lakes of surplus produce.
Forestry - while causing acidification of waters, excessive coniferisation will be low value when harvested, and only used for paper pulp; Portuguese face severe problems of soil erosion from intensive Eucalyptus plantations.
Mariculture - intensive Fin-fish farming has given rise to pollution problems from fish wastes, paints, pesticides and chemicals, foods, de-oxygenation, and also poses a risk to wild stocks by escapees and crossbreeding
Industry: - is one of the environments biggest problems, producing growing amounts of toxic chemicals with toxic waste incinerators, and also the general wastes from, production and packaging, the wasteful transport of goods - creating the need for more and bigger roads and bridges thus increasing noise pollution, air pollution and energy waste. The recent decision by the Council of Ministers to phase out CFCs by the year l997 is too little and too late. Essentially every five year delay now, will mean a twenty year delay before the Ozone layer regains equilibrium.
While industry and big businesses are consulted and have significant input into decision making, consumers, public health groups and environmentalists have no say whatsoever. There is no right to freedom of environmental information, and it is not guaranteed that the ECs E.P.A. will provide this or a role for environmentalists and interest groups.
Oblige member states to apply renewable non-polluting energy sources and major schemes for energy conservation. Move immediately to phase out nuclear power, stop trading in plutonium, use all of the funds previously applied to nuclear development for technical solutions to remove the nuclear waste problem from the planet surface, restrict nuclear fuel and waste transport to the cleanup only, ban waste reprocessing and set up a nuclear inspectorate to oversee the phase-out and ongoing waste management.
Fund biodigestion in preference to sewage treatment. Force member states to support public transport systems, rather than roads and cars. All energy activities should lead to a massive reduction in the air and sea pollution loads, and acid rain.
Member states should ban food irradiation, the 250 additives unacceptable to UN/WHO Cancer Research Institute, animal testing, genetic engineering and its application in biotechnology, the patenting of life-forms, and the production as well as use of harmful goods (eg Mercury Soap).
Take the emphasis from the Single Market, and allow greater diversity - recognizing varying needs and skills of an area of very mixed cultures, and protect the diversity of Nature. Allow member states to have environmental standards as high as they wish, but not lower than a general level. Raise general standards for global environmental issues.
Take emphasis from the Single Market, and completely phase out CAP and set-aside. Agriculture - Oblige member states to phase out chemical fertilizers, ban pesticides and animal drugs, completely ban BST, phase out offal and additives in animal feeds. Assist organic and mixed farming and discourage the removal of hedgerows, assist biodigestion and research for same. Set limits in member states for animal area densities to restrict cruelty on intensive farms.
Mariculture - Member states should ban intensive Fin-fish-farming.
Forestry - the EC should stop all support for monoculture forestry, and put the emphasis on hardwoods in natural settings instead.
Industry - Member states should ban the introduction of any more toxic waste incinerators and phase out existing ones. Companies should be charged for producing toxic waste, and there should also be a charge on general wastes from production, and for the use of packaging. Energy charges should be imposed for the transport of goods, thus reducing waste, pollution and the need for so many roads and bridges. The use and production of all Ozone depleting substances should be banned by January l993 at the latest.`
Restore a Consumer Consultative Council in the EC, and broaden representation and role of European Environment Bureau and all other peoples groups in the drafting of legislation. Member states should implement an absolute right of access to all environmental information.
The basic economic thrust of the European Communities (EC), which is enshrined in the Treaty of Rome, is to maximize growth and to develop the Common Market for large-scale and multinational capital with its tendency to create false and unnecessary consumer wants, to waste resources and to pollute the environment, all in the interest of maximizing profit. Another reason why it is felt that we must encourage these mega-firms is to compete with the Japanese and Americans - a great race to destroy our respective countries and the Planet.
2. Removal of Barriers
The removal of barriers, while advantageous to the movement of people, is harmful when peripheral countries fail to compete due to transport costs and the small scale of their industries. Capital is drawn to the centre and will be more so because of Monetary Union, where it is concentrated in fewer hands. Small firms are handicapped, forced to compromise safety, wage and/or environmental standards, and are eventually either swallowed up in larger conglomerates, or put out of business. Goods travel unnecessary distances rather than being produced locally, and employment in peripheral regions is reduced. People in these regions have to be put on a Community Dole - through the Structural Funds. Such conditions suit employers, and cause a low wage economy for large numbers of workers.
3. Single Market
The EC Single Market, which is essentially wide ranging harmonization and standardization, (ie: conformity) is, ironically, the opposite of the diverse conditions necessary for real capitalist economic development and growth. The Single Market promotes ageing industry and economics of scale - standardized products, while consumer demands are moving in the opposite direction, to quality and wide choice with personalized service. The EC will not achieve its own questionable objective of real economic growth, because what it is creating is probably the most inappropriate environment for entrepreneurial activity (which is always local in nature and small scale to begin with). However, harmonization will inadvertently produce new niches for some entrepreneurs, while the large firms rationalize their production - a rather perverse benefit. It is no wonder that the EC has 10 - 12% unemployment, while it is only 2 - 5 % (and there are higher standards of living, better quality of environment and social legislation) in EFTA - a diverse peripheral grouping of independent countries.
4. Common Agricultural Policy
The EC Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is widely abused, and fraud within it may account for 10% of the EC budget. By boosting the prices of agricultural products, it encourages excessive production, consequent pollution due to intensive methods and the extensive storage of surpluses. The higher prices inflate food costs to the consumer effecting the poorest the most. Surpluses are dumped on international markets at knockdown prices, destroying local production elsewhere. The response has been an even crazier Set-Aside program, where the farmers are paid to leave some land lying idle, while the rest is overworked.
Since 1973, an unfair EC fishing quota system has been in operation, where for instance Ireland has 25% of the EC catch in its waters, but only receives 4%. Currently, Spain has 60,000 tons of fishing vessels under construction while Ireland has been told to reduce its fleet by a third.
There are structural defects in Western Countries (eg: Ireland), where there is an imbalance between capital taxation (which shifts the economy towards higher employment), and labour based taxation (which destroys employment). The EC increases VAT levels to fund itself, and is attempting to harmonize all such indirect taxes whether or not the resulting levels are appropriate to all members states, in terms of reducing employment. Again the poor are the worst affected. The EC does relatively little in proposing company taxation, wealth taxation or land tax, which would tend to create employment - again a supposed objective. This supports the thesis that the EC answers to big business interests.
7. The Third World
The EC countries and institutions are major lenders of finance to the Third World, and are recipients of interest on these loans from hard pressed underdeveloped nations. The aid sent to help those nations, which is less than the interest on loans that is returned, frequently damages them further by being tied to supplies from the donor country, by financing the planting of cash crops on good land, which then finances loan repayments and interest instead of feeding the recipient country, or by funding ecologically catastrophic projects such as massive dams. The recipient nations become more dependent on aid, less able to feed themselves, more damaging to their own environments and less well off than before. The EC Countries are centres for trade in Third World products such as tea, and influence the terms of trade in these commodities in their own favour. Further the EC erects barriers to the importation (fortress Europe) of some commodities from the Third World, which reduces the ability of those supplier countries to repay their debts. To worsen the blow, the EC gets rid of some of its own rather gross food surpluses by sending them to the Third World, thereby damaging local production capacity. Such economic and political dependency relationships are consolidated through treaties such as the EC - ACP Treaty (Lomé Convention) of 1975, or EC - African States and Madagascar (Yaoundé) of 1963. The GATT Treaty similarly affects the developing nations by, for example, pressing them towards larger farm sizes.
1. Economic Decentralization
The EC must make a major shift in its basic thinking away from large scale industry, encourage national and local administrations to promote real local entrepreneurial and co-operative activity, and not allow itself to be drawn into a fight to the death with Japan or the USA. It must, as a region, develop greater self sufficiency, and promote small scale sufficiency within its constituent parts, where capital would be encouraged to stay for local investment. Its role in the economic arena would thereby be considerably reduced, mainly due to the fact that such matters are best dealt with more locally. It should however develop a role as a policeman for trans-national corporations (TNCs), fitting that role into a global context, overseeing their decline in scale, and not see itself as an agent for these corporations.
It should achieve this by a combination of: national import and transport taxes, encouraging national and local energy, internal transport, pollution and capital taxation, with large firms paying more tax per unit of production. The EC should stop harmonization and encourage diversity, stop Monetary and Economic Union, permit exchange controls as before, and help to form a global TNC control body in the UN.
Reduce EC indirect taxes (VAT), except on energy resources; encourage state to introduce land taxes, capital and wealth taxes and to reduce income taxes; phase out structural funds as a Community Dole. Reductions in unemployment would make for a fairer wage economy.
3. Common Agricultural Policy, and Fishing
Phase out CAP and Set-Aside far more rapidly, with a view to absorbing the existing surpluses internally in the process. Give member states priority in their own fishing grounds.
4. The Third World
Phase out, and encourage member states to also phase out lending to the Third World, treating any further funds to them as grant-aid. EC based lending institutions should all cancel their existing debts and interest payments, and the member states should take the responsibility for treating those payments as grant-aid also. Simultaneously, since the debts will have been cancelled, the member states should phase out aid itself, except for disasters, and for limited educational aid. In the ACP, GATT and other Treaty reviews, the member states should reconsider the terms of trade with the Third World favourably, but should expect lower imports from there since their debts would be cancelled, and they would have less need for making exports to the EC states. The EC should stop all shipments of food surpluses to Third World and elsewhere, except for some disaster aid.
1. Loss of National Democracy
The European Communities (EC) constitutes an assault on national and local democracy, whereby the powers to make basic decisions on most aspects of our lives are moving from the national parliaments and local authorities to the EC institutions. This move is quite unnecessary in regard to most issues, which could just as easily be decided on locally, and is as a result creating a huge, expensive and powerful unaccountable bureaucracy in Brussels. The only logic determining this antidemocratic move is the relentless pursuit of a total Single Market, which is an economic objective of questionable value. There is also a lack of democracy within the EC institutional framework as constituted. The Council of Ministers decides usually by qualified majority vote, in secret, and is not accountable as a collective to either the European Parliament or national parliaments or local authorities. Neither the appointing country nor the electorate can replace members of the European Commission, they are not elected and not accountable to the electors, while they initiate and consider all legislation, and also operate in secret.
There is no guaranteed Freedom of Information in the EC and all the main institutions work in secret ultimately releasing their decisions as a fait a complit. The security discussions are totally secret, as well as being out of democratic control. Moves towards freedom of environmental information are being watered down.
The EC has developed unparalleled impact on and use of the media. Al though the right to communicate views through any medium is a basic human right enshrined in the UN and other Human Rights Declarations, the EC has regulations on the control of licensing operators of broadcasting stations.
4. Civil Liberties
The EC is co-ordinating restrictions on civil liberties and the expansion of police control. The Interior (Justice) Ministers, through the so-called Trevi talks, are developing intelligence service and police co-operation, Europe-wide computer based data exchange, EC ID cards, and joint surveillance. The Rhodes Group of Ministers are producing the secret Palma Report, which apparently contains some 73 points on security questions with relation to the opening of Community borders, which will further erode basic human rights in the EC.
There is a serious effect on the rights of immigrants in the EC. The Schengen Agreement, already signed by Germany, France and the Benelux, will enable governments to close borders on refugees seeking help and asylum. Refugees refused asylum in one EC country won't get asylum in any other EC country. Borders won't be open to immigrants, who will be discriminated against and denied many democratic rights.
6. Social Charter
Attempts to introduce a Social Charter of Workers Fundamental Rights have been watered down severely, and the diluted Charter has then been accepted by all members except Britain.
7. German Unity
German unity raises fears for the security of Europe, though in reality no more so than a nuclear armed France, USSR or UK. The peace movement in Germany East and West would prefer a decentralized, disarmed, demilitarized and neutral German Confederation, within a demilitarized Europe, rather than the current effective annexing of East Germany by West Germany into NATO, against the stated preferences of the Soviet Union. There are concerns for Polands Western border.
8. EC Expansion
Expansion of the EC is based on acceptance by applicants of terms strictly set by the EC regarding political and economic structures, rather than democratically laying the foundations of an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe as called for in the preamble to the EEC Treaty.
9. Local Disputes
Europe is not a haven of peace, and there are many local disputes like Northern Ireland, the Basque country and so on, which are not addressed in any way by the EC.
10. Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe
The focus for the future of Europe is the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE), also called the Helsinki process, which includes all of the countries of Europe except Albania, as well as the USA and Canada. We are concerned that the April meeting of the CSCE process in Bonn indicated that it is forming itself into a larger replica of the EC, particularly in the economic and environmental spheres. It will promote nuclear energy, and facilitate unhindered capital movements such as profit repatriation.
The EC has criticized nationalism, and proceeded to establish a bogus EC nationalism in its place, using a flag, passport, currency, anthem, teams, logos and general propaganda. Its assault on democracy is also giving rise to more rather than less nationalism.
1. Restore Democracy
Support the right of any member state to veto any Council of Ministers decision, to protect the interests particularly of smaller and economically weaker nations, and to preserve proper democratic control. Halt any further loss of democracy through Monetary, Economic and Political Union or the development of a European superpower.
2. Merge EC, CSCE, EFTA and Council of Europe
Support and develop national and local democracy where politicians can be replaced at election-time if the people are not satisfied with them, and move it towards more participative and decentralized structures. Keep national and local control over all decisions which can best be dealt with at national and local level; ie most decisions. The reduced EC structure should merge with EFTA, the Council of Europe and the CSCE, it should be fully controlled by an appropriately structured democratic Assembly, and it should deal only with issues where international co-operation, legislation and enforcement are absolutely required:
- protecting the global environment, including the Arctic and Antarctic regions, especially
regarding the greenhouse effect, ozone layer and nuclear radiation;
- enforcing basic human and rights as per the UN and European Declarations, and social
rights as per the original Social Charter;
- restricting the scale and activities of trans-national corporations (TNCs);
- guaranteeing the democracy of international communications and media;
- working towards limiting the growth of World population;
- arbitrating in local and international dispute settlements;
- working for disarmament through peace, and not through strength;
- enforcing the laws of the sea, airspace and outer space.
3. Part of Global Structure
The resulting structure would form the European region in a more comprehensive and effective UN organization. The question of enlargement would effectively be catered for by this merging. The new structure would not require extensive competence in the economic sphere, should not entertain the contradiction environmentally sustainable economic growth, and should not promote nuclear power.
4. German Unity
Concerning the question of German Unity, all such desires for union or separation within or between countries should be facilitated, once those decisions are truly democratic in nature. The EC should specify a preference for a decentralized, disarmed, demilitarized and neutral German Confederation, within a demilitarized Europe, and the members should pursue that line at the CSCE.
5. Local Disputes
European Political Union can not be seen as a substitute for proper reunifications, such as between the two halves of Ireland. Localities must take, and be allowed to take, greater control of their own affairs, especially where there is a separatist dispute in hand, as in the Basque territory.
6. Freedom of Information
Introduce unhindered Freedom of Information throughout the local, national and EC structures.
7. Civil Liberties
Move towards dismantling intelligence services, as they are inherently antidemocratic and used by governments against democratic movements which question the status quo. No ID cards should be introduced, and national passports, social welfare cards or driving licences should not be used for this purpose either. The EC passport should be scrapped, and the trappings of an EC nationalism should be abandoned as dangerous.
Equal rights for immigrants, politically and economically and oppose any attempts to restrict the right of political asylum for refugees.
9. Decision Making
Professional and industrial groups and consumer, environmental and peoples organizations should be consulted in a democracy - All EC laws should be submitted to the organizations concerned for consultation.
The Continent of Europe is emerging from a Cold War which had divided it into two nuclear-armed camps. There is now real hope that these divisions can be healed and replaced by a unity based on co-operation. There is also real hope that genuine disarmament measures can lead to a nuclear-free Europe.
The European Communities (EC) should not aspire to any defence role. In view of this, those countries applying to join the European Community should not be discriminated against because of their military status -- whether they be neutral, members of the Warsaw Pact, or members of NATO.
The EC should promote measures which will encourage and facilitate its member-states to convert military production into civil production, with special emphasis on job-creation.
We oppose neutral members involvement in European Political co-operation (EPC) in which EC foreign policy is co-ordinated. No country can be genuinely neutral unless it has an independent foreign policy.
3. Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe
At the upcoming Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE) - at which matters of military security will be discussed - the EC should not be putting forward joint security proposals because such issues are outside the ambit of the EC. Ireland, as the only neutral in the EC, should participate at the CSCE Conference either as a member of the Neutral and Non-Aligned (NNA) grouping or put forward its own proposals.
We believe that all matters concerning security in Europe should be dealt with through the CSCE process, so long as it is not a surrogate for any military alliance.
The EC should co-operate with the United Nations in tightening up inspection procedures on all phases of the nuclear cycle to ensure both safety and non-diversion of nuclear materials.
5. Military Links
Neither the EC, nor CSCE should establish formal, institutional links with any military alliance (e.g. Western European Union, NATO, Warsaw Pact).
The participants of The Other European Summit agree that German Unification must not be used to incorporate East Germany into NATO since this would pose a threat to the Soviet Union. Instead all military alliances should be dissolved given the fact that there is no enemy in Europe today, and in the medium term all armies should be abolished.
Note on Hong Kong and Macao:
Britain is not accepting the people of Hong Kong when the colony returns to China in 1997, while Portugal on the other hand is allowing the Macao people to return when that colony returns to China a few years later. The EC has allowed itself to become a party to this anomalous situation, by accepting Britain's ruling that the Macao people who come to Portugal may not come to the UK, even when there is total free movement of people in the EC.
Senator Brendan Ryan
Michael Hindley MEP
Jens Peter Bonde MEP
Herman Verbeek MEP
John de Courcy Ireland (representing)
Freda Meissner-Blau & Josef Iraschko
Peter Lund (observing)
Patricia McKenna MEP, European Parliament Offices, Molesworth St., Dublin 2, Ireland
Tel: +353 1 6616833
Fax: +353 1 6763969
reissued March 1999
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