Ignacio Fernández Toxo: “Europe needs to be refunded for more democracy”
The President of the ETUC and Secretary General of the Spanish trade union Comisiones Obreras (CCOO) spoke on the first session of the 4th Congress of the EL held throughout the weekend in Madrid and welcomed the fact that the member organizations of the EL organized in his country this important event of the European left
He talked about the 27 million unemployed people in Europe, a dramatic situation that affects especially young people, women and immigrants. Toxo called this situation a regression of the social model and said that the neoliberal policies are responsible of this situation, because they are preoccupied exclusively by the balance of the public accounts.
For Toxo the crisis is not inevitable, it is the consequence of the economic policies "it is due to the political action on the economy," he said. And not only the action but also the omission of the left that didn`t offer an alternative design. And he yet said more, he explicitly blamed the ‘third ways’ for their identification with the conservative policies.
For Toxo, the crisis is not only economic, but affects all the levels and extends and deepens its impact, generating tremendous public distrust in institutions, politicians, unions and increasing populist proposals, including nationalism.
But the exit out of the crisis does not seem an easy task and certainly "there is no empirical evidence that we can get out of the crisis with austerity", Toxo said, and announced that we would need more than a decade to overcome the crisis in the best of the cases. Hence it can only be achieved with the development of an alternative discourse against the conservative liberal policies.
"The rescues generate inequality", Toxo said, hence the need for a different solution from the economy, able to stop the terrible crisis on employment. He called for an urgent investment plan to be financed by the Tobin Tax on banking transactions, Eurobonds and other European solidarity mechanisms. Toxo advocated greater state presence in the economy through fiscal redistribution policies, “because Europe needs to regain the social contract that has allowed the redistribution of wealth", Toxo said.
Finally, and consistent with his idea of the need for alternative policies against the conservative liberal discourse, Toxo called for the "democratic and constitutional re-foundation of the European Union" showing his solidarity with the ETUC work since it’s Congress in order to develop this alternative policies and the proposals for a new Europe with renewed ideas that will be measured, among others, in the forthcoming European elections.