In an interview within the “Meeting the Left” series Heinz Bierbaum, President of the European Left Party (EL), talked about the crisis of the socio-economic system and a strategic document newly adopted by his party.
In a conversation with Walter Baier and Marga Ferre, the president of the EL said that it was necessary to establish a European health fund in order to strengthen the health sector, which is significantly weakened by neoliberal austerity policies in Europe. Birbaum believes this became particularly obvious during the coronavirus pandemic.
According to his opinion, in order to overcome capitalism we need a fundamental change in social and environmental development. He also warns that measures against the coronavirus spread must not become a toolagainst basic democratic rights. Birbaum believes that international solidarity is needed more than ever in times of global crisis, adding that promoting such solidarity is a priority for the EL.
The president of the European Left also spoke about the new position paper that his party adopted – The consequences of the COVID-19 crisis on EU policies. This document prioritizes protection of the population. In that context, it emphasizes a social-ecological transformation, which couples the necessity of ecological protection with social security, while developing arguments for such changes in the world of production and work that would benefit workers. In this document, the EL also advocates a policy of peace and disarmament and in that sense demands a drastic reduction of military budgets in favour of public services, especially public health. EL also calls for a new relaxation of international relations and the creation of a new security system that would include Russia.
The presented strategic document also serves the goal of raising the visibility of the European Left, as well as its further rapprochement with other left actors in Europe.
“Meetings the Left” is a series of conversations with the leading figures of European left parties organized by Transform!europe, a network of European leftist organizations. You can watch the interviews live via Zoom app, and you can stay informed on the next conversations via Transform’s Facebook page. Recordings of all conversations will be available later on Mašina’s web page.
Translation from Serbian: Iskra Krstić
This article was originally published in Serbian on May 26, 2020.