EuWiKon 2.0 – German Pirates push forward positions on Europe and the economy
Last weekend, 9-10 March 2013, about 80 Pirates of the German Pirate Party met in Frankfurt, Hesse to do a follow-up on last year’s successful conference on European and Economic Policy (or “EuWiKon”, as the German acronym goes). Just like last time, the event was organised by Pirates from the party’s working groups (WG) Economics, Europe and Monetary System.
WG Europe concentrated on refining proposed passages of text for the Party’s federal election platform. The WG’s coordinator Gilles Bordelais stressed how most of what people consider to be wrong with the European Union is perfectly addressed by some of the Pirates’ core demands: Transparency for a system perceived as opaque, citizen participation to fix the democratic deficit and civil liberties to counter regulations infringing upon them, such as the data retention law.
The working sessions on European policy discussed a total of eight draft motions, six of which will likely to be voted on at the federal party convention later this year. Most of these motions were about how to make the political system of the European Union more democratic. For instance, one text called for a substantial strengthening of the European Citizens Initiative by making a successful initiative into an ordinary legislative initiative. At the moment, a successful ECI does not necessarily entail a true legislative proposal. Instead, it merely forces consideration of the idea by the European Commission. The working group also rewrote a draft motion that called for the definition of European social standards.
The WGs Economics and Monetary System discussed economic topics of national and European scope, most importantly of course the European sovereign debt crisis. Arne Pfeilsticker of WG Economics noted in his opening keynote that good policy approaches to the crisis might be seen as a chance for improvement, for the economic system as such, as well as for the Pirates. Matthias Garscha of WG Monetary System struck a less optimistic tone, as he explained that it is crucial to develop feasible alternatives to the failed austerity policies currently being imposed all over Europe.
The economic working sessions covered a wide range of topics and laid the groundwork for the further development of PPDE’s economic policy. They started out by systematically going through a comprehensive mind map that intended to provide an overview of the interdependent problems of the financial crisis. After that, they continued by going into detailed discussions on taxation, labour market policy and regulation of financial markets and a few others.
The working sessions were interrupted by something called “bar camp” slots, an open panel discussion and a general exchange of ideas on the eurocrisis. The bar camps covered various issues, among them a session by North-Rhine Westfalian state MP Nico Kern, who presented the state-level perspective on European policy and European economic policy. Despite Nico’s presentation having talked about six separate issues, the point most frequently taken up in the following debate was the idea of a comprehensive investment programme instead of austerity – possibly with a priority in fields such as green technology and renewable energy, to deal with another challenge, besides the eurocrisis, that Europe faces at the same time.
PPDE’s Working Groups will continue to prepare positions on these issues. By the time of the federal party convention, there should be a whole catalogue of motions to vote on, so an expansion of the party’s manifesto and election platform on European and economic policy can be expected.
Images: CC-BY-SA Pirate Times