The EU can’t be ‘reformed’ to benefit workers

No amount of tinkering will change the European Union’s neoliberal heart, says Communist Party of Britain chairman Bill Greenshields

There are those in the movement who kid themselves that the EU can be turned into a social democratic project to improve working people’s lives. It can’t. It is, and was always designed to be, a thoroughly anti-democratic corporate juggernaut out of the control of the people of Europe, and very much in the control of European capital.

Some others want to believe that any structure that crosses national borders must in some way be internationalist at heart. What they neglect is the class origin, ownership and purpose of such structures – a bit of a serious omission.

This is in stark class contrast to the call by big finance capital, reported by CityUK, “strongly in favour” of continued EU membership.
Britain is just 20 per cent of the way into the ruling class austerity measures, part of the EU-orchestrated attack on all  workers. The EU has used Greece as a testing ground for cataclysmic austerity.

Greek people are on average almost 40 per cent poorer than before the EU, European Central Bank and IMF troika imposed strict austerity.
EU-led cuts, mass privatisation and tax rises have created massive unemployment and eroded domestic consumption which accounts for about three-quarters of GDP. Yet the troika announced that it’s not enough. The EU uses the economic crisis to accelerate neoliberal “globalisation” structural adjustment.

Nothing must hinder the free movement of goods, capital, services and people. EU treaties allow corporate capitalism to operate unhindered by any use by workers of national democratic structures. These are the EU’s unreformable foundations.

Just about all the motions passed at TUC Congress – for the renationalisation of our railways and postal services, for trade union rights and an end to austerity – are prevented by EU rules. Decisions of the European Court of Justice take us back over 100 years to the Taff Vale judgement when any trade union activity was declared by the bosses to be “restraint of trade.”

Price freezes, let alone nationalisation, are incompatible with the EU market – expressly forbidden by its rules. With a “liberalised” energy policy, the EU will not allow imported energy to be subject to price restrictions by national governments.

Ultimately the EU has one business model – privatisation, deregulation and driving down wages, policies that Ukip and the Tory Eurosceptics support 100 per cent. Ukip seeks to hide its anti-working-class, anti-public-sector policies behind its anti-EU rhetoric.

Eurosceptic Tories are concerned that further European integration might hamper US penetration of euro financial markets. Both are dominated by monopoly corporate and financial interests. Neither stand for working people – thus the essential call to leave the EU and rebuild Britain with socialist policies.
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