We are at a moment of profound crisis and necessary transformation for the European socialist movement.

This year the concept of a social and democratic Europe has been devastated by  simultaneous crises of legitimacy. These have left its future severely in question.

Internally to the European Union, events in Greece revealed a European system that disregards principles of democracy, equality among states and people and basic social solidarity.

Secondly, the continuing deaths of thousands of people in the Mediterranean have exposed European governments’ appalling failure to respect human life. We are being exposed to our complicity in a grotesquely unequal and unsustainable political and economic system.

Finally, and most importantly for us as Young European Socialists, a common thread runs through all of these crises: the failure of social-democratic parties and social-democratic leaders to stand up for our values or to provide a convincing alternative.

It is no longer a question of wanting or hoping to change the system. The very survival of democracy, human dignity and the possibility of socialism in Europe are in serious question. Socialist values in Europe are facing bankruptcy unless we change our vision and our approach to politics.


Social democratic parties are failing

Social democrats must stand by their basic values and present a more coherent understanding of what we stand for. In numerous areas social democrats are failing  to do this -whether  in the Eurozone and the Greece crisis, migration, combatting the far right, TTIP or simply are basic approach to party politics.

We have forgotten how to act as ourselves. Instead we have adopted  the habit of simply reacting. We allow conservatives to set the agenda and we react within their language. We become fixated with technicalities and the short-term over our own ideological goals. Even on the occasion that we do have  coherent ideas we often fail on implementation and compromise our values.


We stand for democracy and transparency within our organisations and should not forget our basic values. Dependence on simply rehearsed and empty phrases, and orchestrated or false unity, undermines the trust that people have in our political parties and our authenticity.


After Greece and the Eurozone crisis: change to save European democracy

The treatment of Greece by the rest of Europe this summer was a turning point for Europe. The ideals of equality between states and democratic legitimacy in the European Union were devastated. Our parties  failed to demonstrate the solidarity that was needed by the Greek people. Many social-democratic parties and party leaders cooperated in a process in which the Greek people were deliberately punished for democratic choices which challenged the existing economic framework of European Union.

It is now essential to change the European Union and the rules of the Eurozone. The only  alternative to change is the continuation of a democratically bankrupt system in which socialist policies are becoming essentially forbidden.

As part of this process of challenging the existing system we will work for the creation of the widest possible coalitions of leftist and progressive political and civil society organisations committed to changing the unacceptable current situation in the European Union.

We have established a Eurozone working group.  This working group will develop and campaign for a framework for the Eurozone which is democratic and equal; in which full employment with quality jobs can be achieved and which tackles all systematic imbalances of power and wealth.


Migration and international solidarity

First of all it must be recognised that Europe shares responsibility for migration crisis through its international activities and its structural relationship with Africa, the Middle-East and the developing world. European international activities have allowed and often exacerbated many of the wars, violence and oppression from which refugees are now fleeing while its economic, agricultural and tax policies have undermined other regions’ economic development.

Europe’s policies and attitude to migration are and will continue to be a powerful demonstration the  values which it really stands for. The continuing deaths of refugees in the Mediterranean are an indictment of the European Union and European governments.

Governments need to act on the principle of solidarity and implement  coordinated procedures for welcoming and recognizing refugees all over Europe.

We support the right of freedom of movement of all peoples in the world.  As a shorter-term solution we call all European governments to implement a genuinely effective and substantial system of quotas for refugees.

Not only do we call for an end to the European Union’s current Triton operation in the Mediterranean and for the implementation of a programme focussed on rescuing refugees and saving lives as the Italian government’s previous  Mare Nostrum policy had been, but we also call for the creation of safe and legal routes to Europe.

We demand far greater solidarity with southern countries such as Italy, Greece and Turkey in coordinating and supporting the arrival of refugees. We call for an end to the Dublin regulations on asylum which undermine solidarity between countries and deny basic rights to refugees. We call for common and decent standards of accommodation for refugees arriving in Europe.

We call for legislation to protect the rights of all LGBTQIA* asylum seekers. People should not be forced to prove their sexual orientation and  LGBTQIA* asylum seekers should provided with safe space housing.

Their rights should be understood in terms of the social discrimination  they have faced rather than simply the legal situation in their countries of origin. Education on LGBTQIA* rights should be provided for all social workers, migration officials, police and other public officials who they deal with.

Besides the governments and politicians there is also a key role on the media in this debate and humanitarian catastrophe. Migration is portrayed in largely negative terms publicly and in the media. Refugees are depicted in capitalist terms–as only coming to take away our jobs and live on our social system.

We must resist all dehumanising discourse and language in the description of the migration crisis and of refugees. This cannot be solved while social democrats and socialists continue to adapt to right-wing rhetoric and fail to provide their own alternative vision.

In this debate we must concentrate on the real problem of politics and the reason why people are leaving their countries. We must resist a discourse in which refugees themselves are presented as the main problem of the  migration crisis. Instead we should tackle the fundamental problems:  wars, oppression and an unequal international  economic and political system.


Against the TTIP

We oppose the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) as it is a mechanism for deregulation, commodification and increased corporate power.

We particularly oppose the proposal for an  Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) in which  corporations would have the power to sue democratic governments over regulations affecting their profits in private courts.  We are opposed not simply to private courts to but any procedures for “investor protection” -public or private- which would place corporate profits above democratic sovereignty. Corporations should be accountable to democratic governments, not the other way round.

We also oppose any measures of “regulatory harmonisation” which would  promote a race to the bottom in terms of environmental, social and economic standards in Europe.

The TTIP negotiation process is also undemocratic and is not transparent. It is primarily being driven by, for and in the interests of the corporations.

We also oppose the wider process, of which TTIP is an example , in which global capital is being more and more empowered by international legal systems which increasingly restrict the ability of democratic governments to oppose them.

Rather than measures like TTIP, we should respond to “globalisation” through greater international solidarity, communication and cooperation between ordinary people who  are disempowered by the current international economic and political system


More and better rights for workers: the need for a  European workers’ movement

Workers’ movements and rights are being undermined across Europe. As power and capital has become concentration on a European and international level, workers’ movements continue to be fragmented and localised. If power and capital are organised on a European level, so must workers and those who are unemployed. We must work to build and promote a common European workers’ movement and common campaigns for workers’ rights and against unemployment among all our member organisations.

We are committed to working  more closely with labour unions, cooperatives and young workers’ movements to achieve better pay and working conditions, more equal and democratic workplaces, and for more and better jobs.  We call for policies directed towards full employment and reduction of working time so that there will be a decent job for everyone. We have to implement a European minimum wage and common standards for workers’ rights and workplace democracy.


Clearer language for clearer ideas

Communication and language have a key role to play in the success of our movement. We have to be more straightforward, more creative , more inclusive and more authentic. There should always be two directions involved in discussion and communication – we must build our ideas based on transparent dialogue not monologue.

We are also committed to a reaffirmation and a re-examination of our own values and how we pursue and implement them. We cannot expect people to be convinced of our arguments if we do not fully understand them ourselves.

We have to mobilize and clearly follow gender equality in speaking time, participation and language.


For gender rights and equality

We need equality among all genders and sexual orientations on all levels of culture and society. We have to promote an awareness and a culture of equal rights and feminist ideas and an awareness of the dynamics of privilege in the struggle for social justice.

The education system which is implementing inequality in many countries all over Europe has to be changed.

The gender pay and pension gap has to be decreased. Quotas for women and trans* in politics and businesses is the way of achieving our goal but not a long-term solution.

We need stronger messages about equality from our party leaders and politicians from all over Europe. Equal rights is not only a topic for woman politicians, but it has to play an important role in every party leader’s agenda. We need to have stronger messages from politicians on Equal Pay Day, International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia and International Women’s Day.

International solidarity is the way to help promote equal rights in all the regions. Women all over the world are fighting every day to achieve their aim to stop violence against them.

Only last month centre-right coalition government in Portugal passed an amendment to the abortion law, which now requires women to cover the expenses of the abortion, while it used to be reimbursed by social security. The amendment also implements psychological and social counseling which clearly aim at dissuading women from getting an abortion.

Young European Socialists emphasise that women’s rights are human rights. Abortion is a human right and it should be free of charge for every woman, no matter what their financial situation is, or no matter where they live. Nobody else but women should be allowed to interfere in women’s choices regarding their body.

We oppose gender binaries  and call for full rights, recognition and respect for the identity of people all genders including all intersex and trans* people. We call for all the countries to follow the example of Malta in implementing a law on Intersex and Trans* people.

We must create conditions for a society of self-realisation and full bodily autonomy and empower people to resist societal demands, pressures and oppression


Combatting the far-right

Right extremism is a force that is becoming stronger and stronger all over Europe. Their populistic and plain slogans have attracted more supporters every day. The ways in which  we have tried to tackle the problem as social democrats have not been effective.

Social democratic parties are giving up their values, trying to be on too good terms with far-rights. There is too much acceptance towards those parties and even co-operation with them.

All the topics that give ground to the right-wingers are topics where social democracy is failing and through that they are building votes. We need to offer people more security and knowledge of the unknown that they are afraid of.

We have to tackle the problem of depoliticisation of the youth and create a generation that is aware and engaged in the political system. Capitalism has destroyed our socialist culture and devalued the way socialists and social democrats live and raise their kids.  Politics and social-democratic parties no longer seem relevant to many young people: we need to ask ourselves why. We cannot resolve disillusionment among young people unless we fundamentally  change ourselves .

We need more solutions and less reactions. We as social democrats have to set the agenda not to react on the agenda set by far-right.


For a sustainable environment

As Young Socialists we believe that the climate justice movement has a strong connection withthe  labour movement and other struggles for liberation to create an alternative to our current upside down world shaped by fossil fuels and corporate power.

We are deeply concerned by the current climate crisis and the failure of world leaders to respond to it with the seriousness required. To defeat climate change – the biggest threat to humanity right now – we need to change the system. Creating sustainable jobs first implies increasing wages to improve the life of the people. We also need to implement higher environmental norms for the industry.

The European Union has to set an example in this regard: in the goals set to decrease our greenhouse gas emissions, in our involvement to reach a binding agreement at the global level, but also in the objectives given to the European institutions. The ability of states to finance ecological projects and an energetic transition towards renewable energies in Europe should be a priority beyond the current treaties on debt reduction and public deficits.

We need more solidarity in Europe when it comes to nuclear waste disposal. This is not a problem of a specific country but a problem for the whole of Europe where we have to find solutions together.

We will mobilise our movements to demand that world leaders in Paris later this year reach a real and sustainable deal to tackle climate changes.


Feminism, equal rights and democracy in sport

All forms of social organisation and activity are political. We recognise the importance of power relations in everyday activities such as sport and aim to equality them.

All the focus in sports in society is on men, women sports are often underfunded and get less attention than men. We need more equality and rights for all genders and also for disabled people.

We the Young European Socialists demand that the national Olympics committees only allow the Olympic Games to be held in countries where human rights are respected.We stand for the participation and awareness of women and disabled people and LGBTQIA*rights in sports. We call on FIFA and all international sporting organisations to sign the Declaration on Women and Sport.

We oppose the weakening of democracy, transparency, access & participation in sport.


Surveillance of the people

We as Young European Socialists believe in freedom and is against the controlling or monitoring of people’s every move. Instead of surveillance we should invest in our education and justice system.

We believe in investing in individuality and not allowing people to to be turned solely into a mass. Every person must be seen and treated as an individual.


EU foreign policy

European Union foreign policy should to be driven by a belief in democracy, peace and development  and opposed to exploitation.

We need to move away from idea of Europe as an island – as if it separate from the rest of the world. We are closely connected, affected by and we affect the whole world. We need to always see ourselves part of the wider international system and as an actor in it.

We should oppose all violence and oppression in the regions surrounding Europe – whether in the Middle-East, the Black Sea region or Africa – and in all other parts of the world. We condemn complicity of any European governments in war crimes, dictatorship or the promotion of violence.

We as Young European Socialists feel a deep sympathy for Ukrainian people in their struggle for democratic and free society.

We call for a lasting peace agreement to resolve the conflict in Cyprus, which has the last divided capital in Europe- Nicosia.


A new vision for socialism

One of our key challenges as Young European Socialists after this summer camp is the need to built our movement based on a positive, constructive alternative. We need a coherent and understandable vision and a sense of exactly the type of society and economy we want to achieve.

We need a programme, an idea of the next key step that we need to take for extensive understanding of equality of gender and sexualities that tackles all forms and levels. We need a coherent vision that people understand and feel related to.

We need sense of the economic system we actually, constructively want. How we can built a system that genuinely and sustainably provided full employment,  economic development driven by redistribution, quality work,real workplace democracy, equal redistribution of power, digital economy and reduction of working hours.

There is no alternative. We must change the system and we must change ourselves.


Download pdf: YES_SC2015_declaration 

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