Fortunately, I got the message quite quickly. My Latin teacher especially, was keeping an eye on me and warned me right at the start that if I wanted to finish my final year without problems, I should change my strategy. I shouldn’t draw attention to myself in class too much and only if I was convinced the answer was correct, should I attempt to be the first to answer the question. This strategy paid off and I finished secondary school right on track.
Twenty years later I notice that our politicians also know how to use this strategy when attending their European “class”. They have difficulty in reporting back the imposed economies because they haven’t achieved them and they fear coming under the scrutiny of angry commissioners. Those who don’t perform, for example Greece, go to the bottom of the class and get punished. The countries who want money, have to achieve a social massacre in order to get it. There remains no choice for those who don’t comply but to be expelled from the class.
Out of fear, not one Belgian minister will make firm statements or a well-argued and forceful speech. Those who get in the limelight or dare to hold opposing views, are watched with special attention. That’s why European technocrats can do what they like without being challenged.
The European parliament took the initiative to handle the problem by putting countries under supervision which is legal and probably completely democratic. However, where Belgium is concerned, where is it written that the social protection of the most vulnerable groups of our society (unemployed, sick people, retired) must be reduced? In which (European) party programme does it state that our wages cannot increase with the cost of living? The views of Olli Rehn and the ratings agencies don’t take democracy into account.
Are there any political parties who dare to raise their hands and who can show working people where all this is written in order to prove to us that we have actually chosen this programme? But we keep silent and watch how at first in Greece thousands and thousands of workers end up in poverty. And after Greece other countries will follow and become bottom of the class.
We are far away from a social Europe. Moreover, courage and vision are seldom rewarded.
From: ‚Raak‘ March 2012, Member Magazine KWB (Belgium)
Koenraad Coppens, President KWB