Syriza: Britain should stay in EU and fight for democracy and social justice

Greek MEP says EU is a platform for common struggles against neoliberalism

Greece is often used as a football by politicians to attack the EU. But Syriza MEP Dimitrios Papadimoulis, whose country has more reason than most to dislike the EU, argues Britain should vote to stay in the European Union, and fight alongside Syriza and others for democracy and social justice.

The possible impact on worker’s rights of leaving the EU is the best answer to the pro-Brexit line of argument that says the isolation strategy of the Leave campaign on behalf of the British people, is for their benefit.

A series of labour rights like the working time directive, discrimination law, the right to a break and leave for working parents are only some among many, which could be affected by a Brexit.

Moreover, those rights, which are based on the UK’s relationship with the EU, are going to be the subject of future negotiations, possibly by the Conservative government.

But, answering the question of Leave or Remain, it’s not only a matter of a situation-specific analysis. Staying a member of the EU will be a progressive factor for the popular interest by principle, since only in that case the British people can share common aims with the rest of the struggling Europeans.

Overthrowing the neoliberal elite at both the national and the European level is a necessary precondition for an important political change. Staying a member of the EU might be a hard task that requires the democratic participation of the citizens, but it’s the only political platform in which people can have common struggles with the other European peoples.

Therefore, British people have to decide, whether, by principle, prefer to be on the side of the European people who jointly fight for more social justice, or alone, in the hands of the British elite who are already laying the ground for a U-Turn with regard to their labour rights.

It is no doubt that recession and further cuts to the welfare state and pensions are part of UK’s bleak future as soon as they cut ties with European social standards.

No referendum outcome offers anything resembling a progressive change without international cooperation, democratic participation and a European change for all.

For this reason, Britain should not leave the EU. On the contrary, British people should use the opportunity to change politics in their country by supporting a democratic change under Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party, in order to create a European Alliance against extreme neoliberalism.

National strategies are no longer an option and we do not intend to return to the national competition that Europe has suffered decades ago.

The British people need to ride the wave of progressive changes all over Europe and become the catalyst for more democracy and social justice. Changing Europe can be a cooperative project, not a project for national isolationism.

Dimitrios Papadimoulis is an MEP for Syriza, the Coalition for the Radical Left in Greece

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