THE OTHER VOICES, MONTHLY EMAIL-NEWSLETTER OF THE INTERNATIONAL COALITION FOR A DIFFERENT
ISSUE 4, MAY 1997
This issue of The Other Voices gives you an insight to the myriad of activities taking
place all over Europe in the run-up to the EU Summit in Amsterdam. Space does not
allow more than a glimpse of the amount of activities taking place every day as part
of the European Marches against Unemployment, Social Exclusion and Poverty, which started
April 14th and are now steadily moving towards Amsterdam. Groups all over Europe
are mobilising for the final demonstration on June 14th and the alternative summit.
Busses will bring participants from Norway, Denmark, Spain, Sweden, France, Italy, and
many other countries. For the latest news on the alternative summit, check our www-site:
<http://www.snore.org/different-europe>. This homepage has links not only to that
of the European Marches, but now also to the official homepage of the Dutch Presidency
of the EU (or what is left of that after the succesfull attempt by France and other
EU governments to censor it).
---> NEWS ABOUT THE ALTERNATIVE SUMMIT <---
Lodging: be quick!
Due to the news coming in about the large numbers of participants that are likely
to come from many countries, the organising team is busy looking for additional space
for activities, indoor and outdoor. No doubt there will still be some bottlenecks,
but the activities during the alternative summit should be so many and so diverse that
there will always be something interesting to do for all participants. We call everybody
who wants to come to arrange sleeping places themselves if possible. We can send
a list of hotels, hostels and campings (book fast as Amsterdam will also be full of journalists,
delegates and tourists in June). We will also try to arrange as many free sleeping
places (matrasses on floors) as possible, but our capacity is limited. Get in touch with us as soon as possible if you want to make use of this possibility.
You should by now have received the preliminary programme for the alternative summit
(if not, get in touch with the secretariate). Speakers and workshops are still added
and a final version of the programme will be available in late May. New workshops
have been added following proposals from groups in Denmark, Finland, the UK and other
countries. Don't hesitate to propose other themes, the workshops with smaller groups
are an essential part of the fruitfull debates, networking and planning we hope to
achieve during the alternative summit.
Helping out the last week(s)
We could use help in many ways the last few weeks before the alternative summit. If
you want to come to Amsterdam a week or two before to help with the preparations,
we can offer simple lodging and many interesting tasks. Get in touch with Olivier
Hoedeman at the Dutch Coalition for a Different Europe.
---> INTERNATIONAL UPDATES <---
European Marches against Unemployment, Social Exclusion and Poverty
The marches started on April 14th from Northern Finland, Morocco and several other
"corners" of Europe. They have now moved up through France, Austria, Sweden, etc.
and are steadily approaching Amsterdam. The activities taking place during the marches
are impressively diverse and far too many too mention here. In total the marches will
pass through almost 1.000 towns in Europe, where local groups welcome them with debates,
demonstrations, happenings, press conferences, excursions, actions, picnics, street
theatre, etc. On June 1st the Marches arrive in the Netherlands and on June 14th they
are welcomed in Amsterdam by thousands of others in the final demonstration.
For excellent regular updates on the marches, you can subscribe to an email mailing
list in english: <marches97- email@example.com>. Even more frequent and extensive
reports are available on the mailing list in french language: <marches97- firstname.lastname@example.org>. Photo's can be received through the following mailing list: <email@example.com>.
Space does not allow an extensive report on the many exciting events taking place
every day in connection with the marches, but the following extract from the diary
of the Grenoble March (April 22nd) gives an idea:
"HALT!. Franco-Swiss frontier. No sign of life from the Customs control or even police.
The March is free to cross the border without any control whatsoever and take the
Geveva road. Arrived in Geneva, reception in a squat. Lunch with about 50 militants,
it's international and it's very festive. Morning: cortege of 200 demonstrators, crossing
the city to join a rally in front of the headquarters of the International Labour
Office (ILO). Decision taken to occupy an office, so that all the militants can get
together, and as expected a very lively discussion takes place. At the end of the evening,
a meal and a bed offered by the Geneva Town Hall. Geneva, 22nd April. Early morning.
How romanique! Breakfast on lake Leman in a boat owned by the elected representatives of Geneva. At 11 demonstration in front of the World Trade Organisation (WTO)
with about 100 people with debat. At 12h pic-nic in the WTO park, and also end of
morning. Afternoon. Cortege of about 300 people, setting out to go through Geneva
and denounce rampant neo-liberalism. Action - sticking posters up outside and inside Macdonald's,
place covered with slogans denouncing the exploitation of staff. Split up of cortege
outside ARTAMIS, a factory, which is now a housing 200 associations, all sharing
a communal life, with culltural activities."
For more information on the marches, contact: Marches Europeennes
104 rue des Couronnes
Tel : + 33 1 44 62 63 44
Fax : + 33 1 44 62 63 45
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
NEWS FROM DENMARK
The Initiative for a Different Europe is working hard to prepare the Danish part of
the European marches and a big departure for Amsterdam. The form of the march in
this country is a bicycle tour, 18 May to 2 June, linking events in at least 20 towns
and cities along two routes. Local trade unions, associations and left wing organizations
are signing up to receive the bikers. A relatively broad-based bicycle demonstration
will mark the beginning of the march. This will take place in Copenhagen on 18 May,
anniversary of the 1993 Maastricht referendum (2 June being the 5th anniversary of the
1992 No victory). "We are demonstrating * against the EMU, Schengen and European
army; * for a different Europe based on open debate and real democracy; everyone's
right to work, welfare and a clean environment; real equality between women and men; no racism
or discrimination; an open Europe of solidarity towards the East and the South."
The call for the demonstration has been issued by our Initiative, by Trade Unionists
against the EU and by the Copenhagen branches of the major anti-Maastricht movements
(June Movement, People's Movement). Speakers include two MEP's, one MP and (so we
hope) a representative of the Belgian Renault workers. The end of the tour will be celebrated
by a rally and concert in Esbjerg. After the 2nd June we will establish a link with
the North-German march via Kiel and Hamburg.
We are leafletting on 1st May, and a second issue of our 8-page campaign newspaper
is being produced. In order to finance cheap bus fares to Amsterdam, we are selling
"Tickets to a different Europe", each one symbolically representing 10 march kilometers.
As a ticket activist you get a reduction of up to one third of what you sell. Address:
For et Andet Europa, Griffenfeldsgade 41,DK-2200 Copenhagen N. Fax 31 39 76 94. E-mail:
NEWS FROM ITALY
On 16 April all the different political and social areas interested in the marches
towards Amsterdam (communists, greens, social centers, etc.) gathered in Villaggio
Globale, the "historical" place of Hunger Gathering last november in Rome. A public
meeting was held (with communist and green MPs too) about the appeal to youth for a different
Europe, which represented the third step in the Italian marches against unemployment.
On 13 May a public debate will take place in the university of Rome, followed by
a big concert meeting at the end of the month. The idea is to make this coalition (some
more interested in the marches, some in the counter summit) able to continue together
through the 2nd Intercontinental meeting against neoliberalism (in Spain next 25/7-3/8), and to become a bigger coalition till the Summit of Peoples in 1999. For information
about italian participation in the counter summit: Giovani Verdi, tel.+39-6-2426177,fax
4819155 or 68803023, e-mail: email@example.com Villaggio Globale tel.+39-6-5757233, fax 57300329, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
NEWS FROM FINLAND
Finland became a member of the EU on 1st of January 1995 after a referendum with 57%
in favour and 43 % against membership. The entire political and economic elite pressed
hard for membership, and all siginificant parties, trade unions and companies in
Finland remain committed to very EU-friendly policies. Nevertheless, popular sentiments
are far from enthusiastic and a clear majority of Finns do not want Finland to support
or join into the planned further steps of EU-integration - notably the monetary union and the defense union. We have therefore in Finland a tremenduous gap between the
euroscepticism of the people at large and the euro-enthusiasm of our elite. The most
important response to this situation right now is a campaign for referenda in Finland
in 1998 on "Maastricht II" (i.e. the Treaty revision to be decided at the Amsterdam
summit) and on Finnish membership in the EMU.
The campaign organisation and ideas are now under preparation within a coordination
group with representatives from a few dozen NGOs, trade unions and party organizations.
The coordination team consists of people from non-racist groups from the entire political spectrum as well as activists from environment, peace, womens', solidarity,
cultural and democracy groups. No really heavy-weight organizations in terms of money
or resources or membership have however joined the cooperation so far. The campaign
will be launched in May or June. The main acticity will be the gathering of signatures
on a mass petition for new referenda. For more information, contact Thomas Wallgren,
Mannerheimv. 93. L22, 00270 Helsinki, Finland. Tel/fax: +358 9 2413236. Email: thomas.wallgren@Helsinki.FI
---> SHORT NEWS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS <---
NGO SHADOW CONFERENCE TO THE OSCE PARLAMENTARY ASSEMBLY
Europe is going through a period of great change. NATO is planning a strategic enlargement
towards the east. The Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) of the European Union could
lead to a deepening of the EU into a federation with a common defence based on nuclear deterrence. The development towards an ecologically sustainable Europe has
been very slow, despite many years of hard work by environmental movements and organisations.
In order to discuss these matters, and more importantly to debate which institutions should be coordinating European issues of security and safety in the future,
we call on all sections of peace and environmtal movements, activists and others
interested in shaping the future of Europe to attend a conference held in Warzaw
on July 4th - 8th 1997. It will be a shadow conference to the OSCE parlamentary assembly being
held in warzaw between July 5th - 9th since we think it would be useful to discuss
the role and the importance of this institution as a common framework for cooperation
in Europe. Europe is changing - we want to take part in the process of shaping a more
democratic, environmentally sustainable, nuclear free Europe. The programme includes,
among many more, the following themes and speakers: * OSCE as the All-European Concept
for Security (Maj Briit Theorin, Swedish MEP)
* NATO Expansion - Risks and Costs (Rae Street, chair CND international advisory group)
* Cooperation for Ecological Sustainability in Europe (Per Gahrton, Swedish MEP)
* Neutrality as a Security Concept
* Nuclear Free Zones in Europe
For more information, contact Ulla Klotzer, Alternative to EU, PB 42, 00211 Helsinki,
Finland. Phone: +358 9 682 3422, fax: +358 9 682 3544. Applicatiosn before 20/5.
GLOBAL DAYS OF ACTION AGAINST GENE-FOODS
Activists from 27 nations organized actions and press events against gene-foods and
genetic engineering during the Global Days of Action (GDA) April 13-27. Next to actions
in countries like US, India, Malaysia and New Zealand, a lot happened in Europe,
many of these actions focused against the EU's role in promoting gene-foods. On April
18 in Amsterdam a group of protestors from the Dutch Coalition for a Different Europe
delivered a huge genetically engineered corn cob to the Barbizon Hotel--where the
European Union's environment ministers were meeting over the weekend. In Spain, nationwide
actions were coordinated by AEDENAT, the Ecological Association for the Defense of
Nature and received significant media coverage. Simultaneous April 22 street actions
and petition gathering took place in front of government buildings in Madrid, Cordoba,
Granada, Malaga, Sevilla, Valladolid, Zaragoza, Oviedo, Logrono, Santander, and Burgos.
Motions were introduced in more than 500 city councils and provincial parliaments,
and public speeches and forums in Gijon (Asturias), Marbella (Malaga), Daganzo (Madrid),
Almeria (University), Ecija (Sevilla), and other cities. In Austria, a variety of
actions were carried out by Global 2000 and Greenpeace including a successful national referendum on April 14 in which 1.2 million Austrian citizens voiced their rejection
of gene- foods and the patenting of life forms. In Belgium, educational and lobbying
actions were carried out by a number of groups, including a European-wide press release by the CPE, the Brussels- based European Farmers Coordination. In the UK, many
actions focused on Monsanto, one of the TNCs most active in pushing for gene-foods.
Monsanto's corporate offices were occupied by 50 demonstrators in London April 21.
There was a nationwide telephone lobbying of Monsanto and other biotech corporations on
April 21-22 which completely blocked corporate phone lines for the entire two days.
In Denmark, a successful protest march was carried out April 24 by the Danish environmental organization Ecotopia starting at Monsanto's headquarters in Copenhagen. Also lots
of actions and other events in Germany, Croatia, Hungary, Georgia, Switzerland, Poland,
Italy and Greece. For a full report, contact Ronnie Cummins, Pure Food Campaign USA, tel (218) 226-4164, fax (218) 226-4157, email: (email@example.com), world wide web:
IN DEBATE WITH THE EUROPEAN GREENS
Shortly before the EU Summit, the Green Members of the European Parliament will have
a meeting in Amsterdam. They will enter into debate with Dutch politicians, organisations,
scientists and among themselves, on a number of themes about which the EU Heads of State and Government hope to sign a new treaty in June. At the EU Summit you are
not invited, the Green Group in contrary welcomes you to take part. The programme:
Wednesday June 4th, 11-13: EUROPEAN ASYLUM AND MIGRATION POLICY with Claudia Roth
(Gruene, Germany), Gianni Tamino (Verdi, Italy), Leoni Sipkes (MP GroenLinks), Jaap Hoeksma
(vice-chairman Vluchtelingenwerk), Rene Danen (Nederland Bekent Kleur, Platform naar
een Ander Europa). Chair: Joost Lagendijk (GroenLinks) Wednesday June 4th, 15-17:
EUROPEAN DRUGSPOLICY with Daniel Cohn-Bendit (Gruene, Germany), Malou Lindholm (Miljoepartiet,
Sweden), Mohamed Rabbae (MP GroenLinks), Tim Boekhout van Solingen (expert French
& Swedish drugs policy, UvA), Swedish expert on drugs. Chair: Nel van Dijk (MEP GroenLinks)
THURSDAY JUNE 5TH, 9.30-13: 'DEPARLEMENTARISING' EUROPE? with Magda Aelvoet (Agalev,
Belgium), Johannes Voggenhuber (Gruene, Austria), Paul Kapteyn (EU expert UvA), Michael
Zeeman (Volkskrant), Maarten van Traa (MP PvdA), W.F. van Eekelen (chairman Eur.
Movement NL, MP VVD).Chair: Marjan Brouwer (vice- chairperson GroenLinks)
THURSDAY June 5th, 15-18.00: EMPLOYMENT AND EMU wih Frieder Otto Wolf (Gruene, Germany),
Heidi Hautala (Vihreae Liitto, Finland), Edith Mueller (Gruene, Germany), Robert
Went (Group of 70 economists against EMU), prof. dr. A. Bakker (vice- director De
Nederlandsche Bank), Dorette Corbey (Bouw- en Houtbond FNV). Chair: Nel van Dijk (MEP
GroenLinks) Place: De Rode Hoed, Keizersgracht 102, Amsterdam. Free entrance. Simultanous
translation available: Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Swedish, Finnish.
Information: Richard Wouters, tel. +31 30-2399917, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
"Europe, Inc. - Dangerous Liaisons between EU Institutions and Industry" is the title
of a new 72-page report on corporate lobbying and the European Union. The report,
published by the Amsterdam-based Corporate Europe Observatory, has a large section
on the activities of corporate lobby groups concerning the revision of the Maastricht Treaty.
Europe, Inc. gives a disturbing insight into the systematic way in which transnational
corporations, through bodies like the European Roundtable of Industrialists, work to shape European Union policies in their interest. Price: 15 guilders (incl. postage)
or an equivalent (270 BF, 5 UK pound, 50 Danish Crowns, etc.). With orders of more
than 10 copies, there is a reduced price of 12,50 guilders per copy (incl. postage). Copies can be ordered from: Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), c/o A SEED Europe,
P.O. Box 92066, 1090 AB Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Email: email@example.com World Wide
Web (available in late May):
---> CONTACT ADDRESS <---
If you have proposals for activities during the alternative summit or questions, get
in touch with us at the following address:
Dutch Coalition for a Different Europe,
P.O. Box 54, 1000 AB Amsterdam, The Netherlands Tel: +31 20 4222712
Fax: +31 20 4223171
Visitors address (please phone first): Damrak 83-1, Amsterdam (150 metres from Central
---> AGENDA OF UPCOMING EVENTS <---
* 9 May (Day of Europe), many places in Europe: A SEED Action Day * 9 May, Bonn: national
meeting of German Coalition for a Different Europe
* 10 May, Madrid: National Assembly of the Spanish Movement aginst Maastricht and
Economic Globalisation * 22 - 23 May, Brussels: Assembly on the Appeal for Full Em-
* 23 May, Noordwijk: Press conference on IGC by Permanent Forum of Civil Society and
Dutch Coalition for a Different Europe * 4 & 5 June, Amsterdam: In Debate with the
European Greens * 12 - 17 June, Amsterdam: Top van Onderop, alternative summit Towards
a Different Europe including, among a lot of other events:
- 12 & 13/6: "Speak out against racism", European-wide an- ti-racism conference. Themes
are "Fortress Europe", "Everyday Racism" and Institutional Racism" with speakers
from various countries.
- 14/6: European demonstration against unemployment, job inse- curity and social exclusion
- 16/6: demonstration for greening the treaty * 14 & 15/6, Amsterdam: Socialist Party-conference
on alternatives to neoliberal Europe
* 15/6: festival for gays and lesbians rights in Europe (press conference, music,
speakers, dance, performances) organised by GALA (Gays and Lesbians Association)
* 15/6, Amsterdam: Autonoom Centrum demonstration/action at the "border hostel", the
refugee prison in south-east Amsterdam. * 4-8 July, Warzaw: NGO shadow conference
to the OSCE parlamentary assembly
* 7-8 July, Madrid: alternative summit parallel to NATO Summit on WEU and expansion
to Central and Eastern Europe. Information: Spanish Movement against the Europe of
Maastricht and Economic Globalisation, Ramon Duran, AEDENAT, Campomanes 13-II, 28013
* 26 July - August 2, Spain: 2nd Assembly for Humanity and Against Neoliberalism,
in Madrid and several other towns. Information: El Lokal, c/ La Cera 1, bis, 08001
Barcelona. Fax: +39 93 3290643, hhtp://wwww.pangea.org.encuentro
--->THE NEXT ISSUE OF THE OTHER VOICES<--- CONTRIBUTIONS BEFORE MAY 26th!
WHAT WE WOULD LIKE FROM YOU:
* news from your organisation or network: activities and campaign news related to
European Union and Maastricht-II * news from the debate in your country: Maastricht-II,
EMU, etc. * ideas for international cooperation
Your contributions should preferably be short and condensed, with a contact address
where people can receive more informa-tion.
ALSO FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE DUTCH COALITION FOR A DIF- FERENT EUROPE ARE EXTREMELY
WELCOME: Postbank NL 7609478, att. Platform Naar een Ander Europa, Amsterdam
---> OPINION <---
European Union: more market, less environment
On April 30th the Commission announced its plans to complete the Single Market in
time for the start of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) in 1999. A central element
of these plans is the liberalisation of the European Union's energy markets. Such
a liberalisation will cause energy prices to fall by up to 30 percent over the next few years.
This makes the plans for a European ecotax of a few percent absolutely incredible
and will make stabilisation of the EU's CO2-emissions virtually impossible.
More and more the Single Market -- the removal of non-tariff barriers to the free
movement of goods, services, persons and capital -- is turning into an environmental
disaster. The European Commission estimates that the Single Market will bring about
a doubling of transport between 1995 and 2010. The predicted increase of transport of goods
is even bigger: 125%. The European Commision uses these growth figures to justify
its plans for the construction of new Trans-European Networks which comprise 15,000
km of new motorways. According to a Greenpeace report (Missing Greenlinks, 1995) the
growth of road transport will raise CO2 emissions in the EU by 50-60 percent.
And the Single Market causing a boom in air traffic as well! The Commission reckons
with a doubling of the number of air passengers to 800 million per year in 2010.
Since April 1st 1997, air traffic completely falls under the Single Market rules.
Ironically the Commission, which wants to prove the benefits of the Single Market by showing
a lowering of consumer prices, is now trying to force European airlines to cut what
it calls 'excessive fares' (European Voice, 27 Feb - 5 March 1997). In the meantime
a kerosine tax is still being debated with no sign of it being adopted in the near future.
So much for environemental policies.
More market, less policy
The rules of the Single Market make it very difficult for individual member states
to have environmental policies which go beyond the consensus which can be reached
on a European level.
At present, both the Geman and the Danish government are under strong pressure by
the European Commission: the Germans because of their rules on packaging and the
Danes because of a ban on canned drinks. The Commission interprets these measures
as hidden import barriers which are in conflict with Single Market rules.
Austria, Finland and Sweden, the newcomers which joined the Union in 1994 face another
problem. During the accession negotiations these countries got special derogations
from EU 'green' legislation. They are allowed to retain existing environmental standards which are stricter than the EU-norms until 1 January 1999. The transition period
would be used to bring up the European standards to the level of the newcomers, a
promise which was confirmed several times by Environment Commissioner Ritt Bjerregaard.
Two years later the three new member states are getting worried that the EU won't
live up to its promises. Industrial lobby groups go all out to prevent a raising
of EU environmental standards. In the last week of April a group of high-ranking
Austrian, Finnish and Swedish government representatives paid a visit to Brussels, to convey their
governments' concerns to Marius Enthoven, Director-General for the Environment. Not
that the diplomats had that much illusions about what they could reach. The European
Voice quotes a Finnish representative who said that legally the Commission can force
the three newcomers to take on the lower EU standards in 1999 The Fin derived some
hope from the observation that such a decision would be "politically very embarrassing".
In the conflict over the German packaging rules and the Danish ban on canned drinks
the Commission has less powers. If the countries don't give in to the pressure, the
Commission has to appeal at the European Court of Justice. But behind the scenes
efforts are being made to change this situation. In late April the Italian government put
forward a proposal to grant the Commission thepower to sanction countries which are
breaking Single Market rules. This proposal is now being secretly discussed in European
capitals. If these ideas win support from enough member states, Rome plans to table
them at the IGC negotiations. Proponents of an Ecological Europe can only hope that
the Italian plan will fail, as it will very effectively prevent national environmental
policies going beyond the European lowest common denominator.
The Single Market as it has been designed in the Maastricht Treaty is squarely opposed
to moves towards a more sustainable society. Therefore during the Amsterdam EU Summit
the European environmental movement will ... for its proposal to change article 100a of the Maastricht Treaty in such a way that member states can go beyond European
directives which have been agreed within the context of the Single Market. The Single
Market has to be rolled back to reach a Sustainable Europe!
Working Group Ecological Europe, Dutch Coalition for a Different Europe
Platform Naar een Ander Europa, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Brought to you by freeteam,
made by: André
last updated: Tuesday, 13-May-97 11:49:24 MET DST
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