Left Unity and the EU Referendum
Prime Minister David Cameron, has called the EU referendum for June 23rd. Left Unity will be campaigning for a ‘Remain’ vote and working alongside Another Europe is Possible.
Serious criticisms can be leveled against the European Union, but unfortunately this referendum is not driven by the desire to make the EU more just, democratic and equal. This referendum is driven by a widespread campaign of racism and bigotry against migrants, to cut back the EU’s commitment to the free movement of people. UKIP and the hard right of the Tory party argue that EU membership causes Britain to be ‘swamped’ by migrants because of the EU’s ‘freedom of movement’ policy. This same EU policy also allows 1.8 million Britons to live in other EU countries.
Cameron has negotiated with EU leaders to get a ‘better deal’ for Britain, but rather than securing an increase in the democracy and accountability of the EU institutions, or challenging the disastrous neo-liberal cuts agenda which has dominated the EU since the Maastricht Treaty in the early 1990s, he has focused on attacking migrants’ rights.
His ‘achievements’ from his negotiations add up to nothing more than a petty and vindictive assault on freedom of movement, pandering to the far right agenda.
He has negotiated to stop migrants from claiming in-work benefits for four years – a so-called ‘emergency break’ which can be applied for 7 years. He has negotiated a reduction in the amount of child benefit payable to the children of migrants, to the levels in the countries where they reside. This is in spite of the fact that people come to Britain to work hard, contribute to our economy and pay taxes into the system. This punitive child benefit system is a disgrace, an attack on children, their health and development.
We anticipate a carnival of racism and xenophobia as the referendum campaign hots up. Refugees from outside Fortress Europe will also come under attack, in spite of the fact that the British government is largely turning its back on them, even though their extreme distress often originates in the failed foreign policies of Britain and its allies in the Middle East.
Left Unity will do all it can to stand by migrants and refugees. We will work with others across Europe to welcome those driven from their homes by capitalist crisis and war.
A vote to ‘leave’ will not create the political space for a socialist Europe. The fragmentation of the EU would be on a right-wing, intolerant and nationalist basis. It would be a Europe of Le Pen, Farage, Orban and others on the right.
This is why we say that another Europe is possible, why we work in solidarity across Europe for a social Europe – extending people’s rights and improving living standards, and why we say there are no national solutions to Europe’s crisis.
Left Unity Principal Speaker, Felicity Dowling, said:
‘We stand with those who have most to lose in the EU referendum campaign: with the children of workers who have lost child benefit, with the migrants who face further unjust vilification as the debate rages.
‘We stand with the tens of thousands fleeing war in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere.
‘We stand together with British and European workers.’
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