The European Manifesto Of The German Pirate Party
The so called “Six Pack” of Reforms for Europe includes a lot of points, accepted by the general assembly of the German Pirate Party (we already reported): more citizen participation and rights for the European Parliament, a Marshall plan to deal with Europe’s economic crisis, energy generation that should be decentralized, access to a net-neutral internet should be guaranteed and Creative Content licenses promoted. The concept of a “Fortress Europe” and the agency FRONTEX should be abandoned.
Here is the translated version of the whole election programme point together with an additional point of the agricultural policy:
Preamble of the German European Manifesto
Today’s European Union, as a supranational institution, is composed of its member states rather than of its citizens. Pirates hold the opinion that the future of Europe ought to be organised on the common interests of all European citizens, rather than the special interests of single member states. The democratic deficit, within the European Union, has existed since its beginning and has not been sufficiently addressed during the course of the integration process.
The primary goal for all Pirates will be to fix this democratic deficit through the building of a solid democratic foundation for the European Union. In order to achieve this goal it will be crucial to design more citizen-friendly political processes and to create a common European cultural space. Political decisions at European level need to be preceded by European-wide debates – allowing adequate participation for everyone. Without this adequate level of participation no proper decisions representing the general public interest can be taken.
The internet, as a new sphere of communication, offers many opportunities: providing the possibility for political development, helping to overcome political top-down communication as well as one-way communication, and breaking the dominance of the mass media. We Pirates will therefore defend the freedom of the internet with fierce determination at the European level as well as on a global scale.
Additional Democracy for Europe
We Pirates demand the convocation of a constituent assembly (Constitutional Convention) for the European Union. The aim of the Constitutional Convention will be to restructure the political system of the EU and its relations to the member states and regions, thus establishing a truly democratic foundation. The process to create this democratic foundation must be transparent and include all European citizens in a comprehensive manner. The members of this assembly are to be elected democratically and should represent the cultural diversity of the Union. All citizens will then hold a vote on the compiled draft of the constitution across the Union at the same time.
We Pirates also demand that citizens should be able to take part in votes all over the EU, in order to influence European legislation. They should be able to suggest changes to legislation or stop European laws in the making by means of “citizens’ initiatives”. These European Citizens’ Initiatives must be easy to use and free of charge. Changes in EU- contracts or the constitution of the EU may only come into effect if a majority of EU-citizens approve it in a simultaneous vote across the EU. The EU-executive must make sure that these votes can be conducted, even at short notice.
The present EU legislation is dominated by the executive branch (the European Commission) at the expense of the legislative branch (the European Parliament). We Pirates demand a re-adjustment of the separation of powers, favoring the legislative branch. Therefore, the initiative- and decision-making powers of the European Parliament should be expanded.
European Economic and Monetary Union
The European Union is currrently experiencing its worst crisis since its foundation. The common currency (the Euro) has not functioned as an engine for further integration. During recent economic and financial crisis it has surfaced that the conceptional flaws of the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) are further contributing to the imbalances among Euro-member states.
One-sided European rescue policies; in particular the austerity measures such as cuts in pensions, wages and social benefits, are a slap in the face to all citizens. This crisis management results in the socialisation of losses and privatisation of gains, while widening the economic and social division between and within member states. What is more, this type of crisis-management constitutes an un-democratic setback for the European integration process.
We Pirates strictly reject the massive financing of public debt that holds dubious value through the European Central Bank (ECB) or the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). In order to effectively solve the European debt crisis, PIRATES demand timely, single measure-haircuts, effective restructuring and, if necessary, recapitalisation of ailing banks. If the equity ratio is still too low, following a consequent involvement of owners, the respective bank may be stabilised by converting borrowed capital into own funds. As a last resort, the socialisation of the concerned banks may be considered; however only if insolvency must be avoided for fear of severe general economic consequences.
In order to soften the shock of drastic social cuts: small scale investment savers, pension funds and life insurances ought to be guaranteed up to a reasonable fixed limit.
The European Union cannot survive without solidarity. We Pirates demand that economically weak member states are supported by means of a “Marshall-Plan” – an investment and development programme to boost short-term economic activity and strengthen long-term growth.
Our goal is the reorganisation and modernisation of European economies towards an energy-efficient and resource-conserving economic structure. In order to restore the rule of law and market-oriented principles within the EU, the necessary rescue measures for financial institutions and governments must come under independent scrutiny and, if necessary, should be reversed. Disclosure of all corresponding transactions is crucial here.
The partly criminal conduct of the financial sector – in combination with insufficient banking regulation and supervision within the EU – has proven to be harmful to the common good, and constitutes the major reason for the financial crisis. We Pirates call for an effective European supervisory mechanism independent from the ECB and allowing it to identify and efficiently inhibit credit excesses in a timely fashion. For the further stabilisation of the European banking sector the effective separation of “Investment Banking” from other business activity (separate banking system) must be made mandatory by law.
To ensure independence of the Eurozone from the whims of US rating agencies and international financial markets, Pirates call for the immediate foundation of an independent European rating agency.
We Pirates regard the increasing interference of the European Commission into budgetary policies of single member states as a violation of the democratic principle and an imminent danger for the economic development and the process of European integration. Consequently, Pirates eject the fiscal pact as an intervention into budgetary sovereignty of member states without democratic legitimation. Further steps towards Eurozone integration imperatively require increased democratic legitimation, proper accountability and more effective parliamentary control.
European Energy Policy
A functional European internal market for energy must be geared towards security of supply, resource protection, consumer benefits and competitiveness. The yet incomplete structure of the existing EU-internal energy market has to be completed with the challenges Europe faces in the sectors of energy and climate protection. We Pirates advocate decentralized integration of the energy market in the European Union, favoring a wide range of small and medium-sized energy providers. This decentralized energy market can guarantee affordable and stable energy supply for households and businesses. We Pirates want to implement net-neutrality throughout the European energy infrastructure. The independent and consumer-friendly energy networks will lead the way to break up the actual oligopolistic structures of the European energy market and strengthen the position of consumers.
We Pirates demand the abolishment of all subsidies and aid in favor of any fossil or nuclear energy-production. State-subsidies for fossil or nuclear energy, including legal liability waivers for nuclear power plants, are counterproductive to the changes we want to happen. These subsidies prevent a climate friendly and largely self-sufficient energy supply in Europe. Transparent pricing and disclosure of the mix of energy sources is a pre-requisite for a functional, consumer-controlled energy market. Only then are European consumers able to take informed decisions about what and where to buy their energy (according to their own individual preferences).We Pirates defend the agreed climate goals of the EU. To reduce global warming we need a mix of energy efficiency, an improved system for emissions trading at the European level and a strong support for renewable energy. We favor stronger cooperation and joint investments into the European energy infrastructure.
We Pirates demand a mandatory and European-wide commitment from the energy suppliers to present the relevant data in a barrier-free manner. In the implementation-process of the European internal energy market state of the art, net-supported technology (SmartGrid) will play a key-role. Admittedly, the detailed documentation of individual energy use does involve a certain risk of abuse. Hence, extensive data safety standards must be implemented.
Digital Agenda for Europe
The digital revolution changes social and economic structures throughout Europe. Free and equal access to the internet is the basic requirement for participation in the digital life. We Pirates ant to include a right to digital participation in the European Charter of Fundamental Rights and we support the Europe-wide development of a capable communication infrastructure by the EU.
Our goal is to enable access to broadband for everyone in the EU. To ensure a permanent incentive for investment, fair competition and equal treatment of everyone in the digital space, the principle of network neutrality must become European law. In the course of improvement and modernisation of networks it must not come to a monopoly in communication infrastructure. The internet, as a communicative space, knows no borders. We Pirates therefore consider artificial national barriers for cultural goods within the European internal market as a hindrance for the European integration process and demand their abolishment.
Overall, a change in mind is required to the area for rights of immaterial goods and their restrictive enforcement. A further monopolisation of information and culture has to be stopped. Therefore, basic legislation is required to enable the state to only allow (or sustain) monopoly rights for immaterial goods if they are not in conflict with the general interest. In addition, they have to be temporarily limited and neither their time span nor their scope may be changed retrospectively.
The creation of commons (such as free software, free cultural goods, open patent pools, free education and open education) have to be ensured and promoted through an appropriate legislative framework. Social life, which increasingly takes place in digital spaces, must not be restricted by rights to immaterial goods. This has to be ensured through allowing fair use.
We Pirates demand European Standards for copyright contracts that strengthen the position for creators against processing and collecting entities as well as balancing it with the interests of the general public. Comprehensive transparancy and fair participatory rights for their members have to be ensured in European regulations for collecting societies.
We Pirates eject international trade agreements, like ACTA, that stand against the aforementioned principles on immaterial goods and data protection. We demand an end to all plans and laws that aim to subject the whole populace to general suspicion. Existing legislation, such as data retention, must be abolished.We Pirates lso advocate a common European data protection legislation which guarantees the highest standards of data protection, especially for consumers. At the very least, such standards have to correspond to existing national levels of protection. Any reform of European data protection law has to prioritize data avoidance and informational self-determination. This is especially true for data collection, data processing and data sharing by public entities. In this context, we Pirates demand the introduction of effective and harmonised penalising powers, including deterring fines, for the European Data Protection Supervisor and the data protection agencies of the member states. The independence of data protection agencies has to be warranted at all times.
European Policy on Internal Affairs and Security
We Pirates propose a fundamental reform of the EU-policy concerning refugees and asylum. Any “full boat” ideology is unacceptable. The European approach must be based on the acknowledgement of human rights and fully respect the Geneva Convention on Refugees and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
All member-states must accept refugees and asylum-seekers according to their capacity. No individual member-state should be left alone with the financial, logistic and administrative burden. European solidarity is called for instead of burdening individual countries.
“Frontex”, the Agency for the control of EU-borders, which often violates international law and human rights, is an incarnation of the European Union’s misanthropic exclusion policy. We Pirates demand the complete dismantlement of the Agency.
EU-neighbourhood policy (ENPI) and EU-development policy (EuropeAid and ECHO) must be directed towards lasting improvements of living conditions and focus on the promotion of human rights throughout all partner-countries and partner-regions. We denounce all tendencies to create a repressive system of surveillance and control in Europe.
The planned and indiscriminate use of drones is a complete aberration. Except for restrictively defined and exceptional cases, Pirates oppose the deployment of any drones in the EU and its member states or by the EU and its member states in other countries.
European Traffic Policy
We Pirates view mobility as a fundamental right. Sustainable traffic policy must find better solutions than the use of individual cars where all the negative and environmentally harmful effects are forced upon the society. We support the reduction of road-based traffic in the context of multi-modal traffic planning, while emission-free urban mobility is the supreme goal.
On European level, Pirates demand that all carriers and systems of transport take on a fair share of the overall costs, based on the costs-by-cause principle.
We Pirates regard connected traffic infrastructure and the extension of the trans-European railway-corridors, as a substantial contribution to the process of European integration. Harmonization of technical standards, reduction of administrative hurdles, and suitable complementary construction are indispensable requirements for the creation of a common European traffic system.
We Pirates consider the act of transporting goods via shipping and rail as trendsetting. The extension of transnational traffic lines for cargo is a primary goal. The decisive shift of traffic volume to railways will be essential to meet environmental requirements, relieve the road networks and optimize the capacity for all transport systems. The promotion of pan-European inland-water transport will offer an ecologically sound alternative to transport of cargo on roads. The capacities of shipping are to be expanded on the European level, while acceptable technical standards must be made mandatory also for ships registered outside the EU.
We Pirates demand a unification of European airspace in order to increase security, efficiency and to allow for more innovative routing. Reduction of noise, pollution and environmental damage is a central goal of our air traffic policy. We demand the standardization and expansion of passenger rights, in particular in the area of data protection. Pirates also support the use of suitable communication-technologies so that traffic may be reduced as far as possible.
We Pirates work towards a powerful and regionally adjusted agriculture. This would allow even small farmers to participate on equal terms, while their competitiveness is assured in the framework of sustainable husbandry and growing consumer awareness for ecologically sound production. Farmers and their associations (jointly with food wholesalers), nature and animal protection associations, food quality certifiers and representatives of consumers (including politicians), should get together and negotiate in full transparency over the conditions, possibilities and optimal implementation of that approach.
Agricultural businesses should not suffer from price-pressure dictated by large food wholesalers and the processing industry. Neither should agricultural policy primarily aim at growth without consideration of sustainability and the needs and preferences of consumers.
We Pirates oppose the industrial mass-breeding of livestock. This practice undercuts the quality of life for all of us, in particular in the rural areas. Industrial Animal Production also is associated with unacceptable standards for the keeping and treatment animals which endangers traditional rural farming. We defend the rights of all farm animals to proper treatment.
We Pirates want to adjust the standards for laying-hens and the entire process of poultry-keeping; in particular we criticize that the floor-area available in sheds for chickens and turkeys is too small. The proper need for space has to be defined and checked by experts and be improved where necessary. Holding of “artiodactyls” (ungulates – pigs and sheep) needs to be adjusted in accordance with a decent ratio of animal per acre. Healthy and ecologically-sustainable animal stock can only be guaranteed if the production of feed and environmental friendly utilization of excrement are in line with available space and a complete nutrient-cycle. Laws and regulations have to be applied consequently and compliance need to be controlled more strictly.
Agriculture should conserve, rather than endanger natural resources and the ecological balance. Seeds, whether bred genetically or conventionally to be resistant against pesticide, may cause particular harm for the environment when they are introduced to virgin ecological systems. Plants bred for resistance will only work in conjunction with specifically adjusted pesticides. Thus, farmers are often forced to use specific pesticides produced by monopolistic companies. This constraint will lead to a direct dependence to the rights owners for seeds and pesticides. We reject this forced combination of seeds and pesticides protection through patents.
We Pirates oppose the allocation of public money in the form of agricultural subsidies without reciprocal contributions in sectors such as protection of the climate, the environment, nature, animals and biodiversity. If subsidies are granted, effects in terms of potential benefits and added value to consumers and society must be regularly evaluated and grants adjusted accordingly, at both EU and national level.
Our long-term goal is to abolish all agricultural subsidies. In order to protect agri-businesses against elimination, decreasing adjustment should be applied over a transition-period, while payments are being limited to a decent amount per individual farmer.
Featured images: Public Domain of various Pirate parties
About Patrick Schiffer
I am living in Duesseldorf, Germany and I am a Member of the Pirate Party since March 2012. I’ve studied Arts & Visual Communication at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands. I speak german, english, french and dutch fluently. I am interested in developing & spreading the ideas coming out of and getting into the Pirate movement worldwide. For that, I think this international newsletter is a great thing. And I’d love to work & communicate with pirates from different countries all over the world so that I would like to help and contribute by spreading news, commenting, making graphics, writing & lectorating for Pirate Times. I am active in several working groups in Germany and in co-coordinating the founding of the PP EU.