K A I R O S     E U R O P A
Alternatives to Neoliberal Globalisation
Public Hearing
October 21 st, 1999 (9:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.)
in the European Parliament, Brussels


The election victories of social democratic, socialist and green parties in many countries of the European Union (EU) demonstrated that the majority of voters had expected this political turn of the tide to bring about more jobs and social justice, after years of politics which showed a lack of attention to issues of redistribution. But a first, provisional assessment of red-green politics results in a very unsatisfactory conclusion. Neither did they take any serious supranational action to counter the EU member states´ "race to the bottom" for lower social standards or lower taxes on capital gains, nor did they effectively address the intolerable extent of mass unemployment and social deprivation in their national contexts.
On the contrary, recent announcements of key players among social democrats (cf. "Europe: The Third Way" by Tony Blair and Gerhard Schroeder) make it unmistakably clear that what is actually being envisaged is a far-reaching sell-out of the longstanding social tradition of Europe. What is now to be implemented is a new (social democratic) edition of neoliberal policies. This resumption of a supply-side agenda, with tax reductions for companies and capital assets on the one hand, and a further dismanteling of the welfare state on the other, will certainly aggravate the socio-economic malaise Europe is facing – at the expense of countless workers, the unemployed and people that have to live on social welfare.
Against this background, the loss of more than 30 mandates by the European Social Democratic Party in the recent European elections seems to have been the first expression of the voter´s deep disappointment with the "New Centre". Moreover, the extremely low voter turnout emphasizes, once again and in an alarming way, that EU policies in general need to be fundamentally reoriented in the spirit of a genuine inclusion of the European population. Instead of unilaterally pushing ahead the integration process according to economic interests, future European policies, above all, have to cope with the problems and interests of the citizens.
The same goes for the development policies of the Union and the role of the EU at the level of world politics. In this context, certain aspects of competitiveness are increasingly being given top priority. Instead the EU, as one of the most powerful communities of states and a major beneficiary of the international division of labour, should commit itself to a cooperative search for fair solutions to the momentous problems stemming from the global economic (dis)order.
To oppose the impending reduction of Europe to a pure "free trade union" the involvement of civil society, in cooperation with partners from other parts of the world and like-minded forces within European parties, is essential more than ever before for the establishment of a more just and solidaristic Europe.

Objective of the hearing

Therefore, the Kairos Europe hearing, forming the conclusion of a three year project on "Alternatives to the dominating development model" suported by the European Commission, shall take as its theme the crucial challenges for the future of European politics. Representatives of social movements, NGOs, trade unions and churches and acedemics from Europe and the South will present their proposals, demands and strategies for a re-regulation of the markets for the benefit of human development, and discuss them with Members of European Parliament and representatives of the European Commission.
The first part of the hearing (9.30 a.m. – 1.00 p.m.) will deal with international matters, the afternoon session (3.00 – 6.30 p.m.) will be marked by the consequences of EU politics for the citizens of Europe.

Contents of the hearing

By speeding up worldwide liberalisation and deregulation policies the EU has actively contributed to the current situation, in which politics are mainly governed by the supposed "practical necessities of globalisation", increasingly reducing the scope of governments to shape their own policies. The outbreak of the Asian crisis provided impressive proof that the international financial system can hardly be kept under control any more and represents a serious risk to the whole world economy.
Given the increasing importance of the European Union in the world - not least because of the introduction of the single currency - and in the interest of its own capacity to act, the EU is called on to advocate a more strongly politically regulated economic and financial order, one which is in accordance with the needs of human development world-wide. This challenge is as important for inner-European politics as it is for the relationships between the EU and third countries.
Against this background, two areas of problems will be debated at the hearing, both of which call for decisive answers from European policy makers:
All those interested are cordially invited to participate in the hearing and become actively involved in its discussions. For further information, please contact:
Kairos Europa · Hegenichstrasse 22 · D-69124 Heidelberg Tel.: +49 (0)6221 712610 · Fax: 781183 · email:

Alternatives to Neoliberal Globalisation
Public Hearing in the European Parliament
Brussels, 21/10/1999, 9:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
DRAFT (as of 19/7/1999)

Morning Session:

Expectations and Demands from Social Movements in Africa and the Caribbean

9:30 - 10:00: Welcome and introductions:
Introductory statement 1: N.N. (representative of the South*)
Introductory statement 2: Susan George, Observatoire de la Mondialisation / Transnational Institute, France

10:00 - 10:30: Proposals and demands to the European Union
3 - 4 statements
N.N. (representatives from Africa and the Caribbean*)

10:30 - 11:00: Responses by members of the European Parliament
Glenys Kinnock, Labour Party, United Kingdom (invited)
Wolfgang Kreissl-Dörfler, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, Germany (invited)

11:00 - 11:30: Questions and comments on the responses

11:30 - 12:00: Responses by representatives of the European Commission
Philip Lowe, Director General GD VIII (invited)

12:00 - 12:30: Questions and comments on the responses

12:30 - 1:00 p.m.: Concluding statements
Balance: N.N. (representative of the South*)
Strategic outlook: Ulrich Duchrow, Kairos Europa

*The representatives of the South will be determined by the members of the preceding International Consultation (October 17-20, 1999).


1:00 - 3:00 p.m.: Lunch Break


Afternoon Session:

Expectations and Demands towards new EU-Policies

3:00 – 3:30 p.m.: Welcome and introductions:
Introductory statement: Ignacio Ramonet, Le Monde diplomatique (invited)

3:30 - 4:00 p.m.: Proposals and demands to the European Union:
Joerg Huffschmid, University of Bremen/Germany
N.N. (representative of “European Anti-Poverty Network“)
Hans-Jürgen Urban, IG Metall/Germany (invited)

4:00 - 4:30 p.m.: Responses by members of the European Parliament
Alain Lipietz, Les Verts (invited)
N.N., Social Democratic Party of Europe

4:30 - 5:00 p.m.: Questions and comments on the responses

5:00 - 5:30 p.m.: Responses by representatives of the European Commission:
Allan Larsson, Director General GD V (invited)
N.N. (GD II)

5:30 - 6:00 p.m.: Questions and comments on the responses

6:00 - 6:30 p.m.: Concluding statements
Balance: N.N.
Strategic outlook: Rob van Drimmelen, APRODEV

For further information please contact:

Kairos Europa · Hegenichstrasse 22 · D-69124 Heidelberg
Tel.: +49 (0)6221 712610 · Fax: 781183 · email: