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The trouble with not taking the EU seriously

Unnoticed in these parts, the Party of European Socialists, to which our own dear Labour party subscribes, has just published its manifesto, or 'manifiesto', as they are calling it in Madrid. The gestation period, rather amusingly, was nine months. As Martin Schulz, head of the PES put it, "It is a question of creating a common front to resist neoliberalism and to again give hope to citizens".

Most of the Euro Left sent along the heavy hitters to thrash out the manifesto or at least to add their names to it - Zapatero, Martine Aubry, Münterfering (the SPD's head honcho), Socrates (the Portuguese PM), Ferenc Gyurcsány (the Magyar PM) etc etc etc. The full list is here. And who spoke for our own DLP? Miliband? Brown? Nope, someone called 'Carolin Flint'. Who is a minister of state, rather than a cabinet minister, and at the risk of being ungallant, cannot be considered to be in the same league as the names just reeled off. Maybe Brown was just too busy to hang out with his comrades.

Anyway, onward:

"For the past five years, the conservatives have had a majority in Europe - in most EU Member States and in the EU institutions. What have they done with it? Did they tackle the global financial crisis? Did they address rising food and energy prices? Have they fought poverty and inequalities? Is society fairer than it was five years ago? Did they support our initiatives to deliver more and better jobs?"

Know anyone in these parts who might choke on his kippers reading that?

And there's more. Much, much more:

Limits are also needed on top executive pay and bonuses.

We must ensure that workers have full rights to information and consultation during all takeovers.

We propose to strengthen workers’ rights to information and consultation. Employee participation at European and global level is a key issue for the future - a vital element of a more social Europe and a precondition for decent work. We will seek to enhance participation in economic decision-making processes at European level. To do this, workers’ rights to information and consultation must be anchored in company law directives using the European Company Statute model and the rights of European Works Councils must be extended. We also want to foster greater social dialogue between unions and employers at European level
and extend it to more sectors.

Bye bye funding from big business.

We will act in all EU member states to promote fair (
sic) tax policies, which will guarantee the financing of Europe’s welfare states.

45% is just a starting point...

All other climate legislation should also be adapted to meet the 30% emissions reduction target.

We propose to introduce improved parental leave rights for men and women across Europe up to the highest standards in Europe.

Swedish model, anyone?

New, innovative sources of financing are needed in addition to delivering existing European aid commitments - notably, attributing at least 0.7%of Gross National Income to development policy - in a more coordinated, efficient and targeted way.

We propose to address the global food crisis by working to prevent further
760 speculation on food prices

In among the bombshells there are some world class outbreaks of flannel too:

We will address the problems related to brain drain created by the migration of highly-qualified professionals and skilled workers within Europe and from third countries into Europe.

We propose that the EU actively promotes an Alliance of Civilisations through the United Nations, strengthening dialogue and partnership between peoples and cultures as a means to enhance world peace and security.

We support the reform of the United Nations, particularly the UN Security Council, as well as the revision of the decision-making process, mandate and functioning of the World Trade Organization, the World Bank and the regional banks, and the International Monetary Fund. The allocation of voting rights in the IMF must better reflect the interests of developing countries, particularly the poorest amongst them.

Good job that is way, way outside its area of competence, frankly.

We will continue to build a strong transatlantic partnership with the new Democratic leadership of the United States of America.

Pick up the nuance there?

Anyway, don't say I didn't warn you.

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