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Press Release
Our democracy against their austerity
14 November 2012

A coalition committed to creating a new balance of power in Europe announced six months of mobilization against the EU “austeritarian” choices. Action at European level to culminate an “Alter Summit” [1] early June.

Joining forces for a peaceful, social, ecological and democratic Europe.

During the “Florence 10+10” rally, 10 years after the first European Social Forum in Firenze (2002), the “Alter Summit” was launched, with an audience of 850 people from 20 countries in Europe, representing more than 100 organizations, including many unions (national or European), social movements, research institutes and environmental, feminist or anti-globalization organizations. The Alter Summit project also benefits from the support of many cultural and political personalities.

The will to convene this Summit of the peoples and alternatives is based on a call ( ) that identifies the fundamentally political dimension of the EU crisis : the austeritarian answers are chosen knowingly although they aggravate the crisis, to impose a failover of the social order to an ultra-liberal model - at the cost of millions of jobs, abrupt social decline and significant threats to democracy itself.

At the launch of the Alter Summit, Greek unions as well as the Committee of Greek social movements present in Firenze, did express their willingness to host this Alternative’s Summit in Athens early June 2013. “Greece was the European Laboratory for the destruction of social rights - they said - but it can also be the laboratory of popular resistance and reclaiming democracy. We need the support of all the peoples of Europe, since each people defending their rights contributes to social rights across Europe”.

Alternatives exist! The peoples of Europe may be free of the burden of debt ; austerity must be replaced by the Tax Justice and the creation of millions of jobs for the ecological transition ; social rights must be restored, poverty and insecurity – hitting mainly children and women - must be fought ; the freedom of collective bargaining fully respected. A fairer and truly democratic society is possible now.

The shared belief is that the centralization of economic and political power (by the Commission, the Central Bank and the European Council) denies the real power of national mobilizations - yet very important: we need therefor to build the bases of a genuine European social movement without delay. The project is based on the development of national or regional coalitions throughout Europe, and on a series of steps within the mobilization.

Trade unions of Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece have initiated a day of strikes and actions on November14th. (list of actions : Supported by the ETUC, unions and social movements in more than 20 countries, this is obviously the first concrete realization of this progressive mobilization that organizations members of the Alter Summit are calling for. This is an historic event, the first transnational strike of the European history !

The “Spring Summit” of March 2013, in which the EU will define its political priorities for the year - presumably reinforcing austerity - will be the opportunity for significant protests, whether in Brussels or across Europe. Many other actions are planned (see in particular the final declaration of “Florence 10 10” ).

The many organizations involved will take until mid-December to finalize their important program of mobilizations, converging towards the Alter Summit in early June.

Contact Europe: info at
Contact Belgium: Felipe Van Keirsbilck (CSC) 00 32 478 29 59 50; Andre Della Vecchia (CG FGTB) 00 32 474 49 74 38; Franco Carminati (Attac) 00 32 475 72 34 48; Myriam Bourgy (CADTM) 00 32 498 35 36 66

Footnotes :

[1Alter Summit: Summit of peoples and alternatives. Building a social movement for a social, ecological and democratic Europe.