The European Revolt Against the Neoliberal EU
In the following video Sharmini Peries from The Real News Network interviews Catarina Principe and provides a context to the growing movements against the neoliberal EU, what must be pursued, and how it can be achieved. Catarina Principe is a social movement activist from Portugal. She is a member of Bloco de Esquerda (Portugal) and Die Linke (Germany), and a consulting editor for Jacobin. Catarina is the co-editor of the new book Europe in Revolt.
These and other questions are addressed in the following video:
For the full transcript of the video, click here.
Notable excerpts from the video:
Catarina Principe about the European project:
“(…)it has always been a neoliberal project, but has been able to disguise itself with a kind of, like, social political project. And that is kind of, like, cracking up, especially since last year, when SYRIZA tried to negotiate to end austerity, and the threat imposed by the European Union clearly demolished it. So what we see today in Europe is a sort of a pluralization of politics. So we have the growth of the far right, as we know, for example, in Britain, but we also have the growth of the far left. So in that sense Europe is in revolt, because there is a turmoil that we don’t know exactly where it’s going to end.”
Catarina Principe about whether or not the revolt can be seen as transcontinental:
“Yes and no. So I think it does in the sense of a lot of it are questions that have to do with the way that the European Union has been structured for the last decades and the limitations that the European Union imposes. So if we’re looking, for example, at Southern Europe, the similarities are very big. So entering the European Union for us has meant the destruction of our productive sector, over-dependency on the core countries, like Germany or France. And that has forced us to take, for example, huge amount of debt that now has been, like, forced into us to pay off very quickly with very high interest rates. And that’s how the crisis in Southern Europe have developed. So for sure in Southern Europe there are very strong similarities with the imposition of austerity policies also. In the core it’s a bit different, because the positions between, for example, Germany or Portugal are very different in the structured economy of the European Union.”
Catarina Principe about the strength of the protests in France:
“They’re very strong. They’re probably some of the stronger protests we’ve seen in France in the last many years. And I think there’s two very amazing things. On the one hand is that it is a sort of–like, it’s reclaiming against this feeling and this flare from the /akəmˈpadəz/, from the people that occupy the squares, a little bit like Occupy here also. There are some connections to that. But at the same time, we see a very clear intervention of the trade unions and the trade unions trying to–and the movement and the trade unions trying to work together. And that is a very interesting experience. And it’s not been a common thing in Europe. It’s been difficult to navigate the space between the unions and the movements. So I think that is a very good qualitative jump in what is happening.”
As a journalist and executive producer, Sharmini harnesses the power of research and policy institutions, independent media, social movements, universities, and academics to form strategic partnerships for innovative programming at TRNN. Prior to joining TRNN, she served as the executive director of The International Freedom of Expression Exchange, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, the Royal Commission on Systemic Racism in the Criminal Justice System, the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants and managed the Human Rights Code Review Task Force in Ontario. Sharmini also worked as Economic and Trade Advisor to President Chavez and the government of Venezuela from 2003-2007. She has an MA and PhD (EBD) from York University (Canada).
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