European Marches
against unemployment, job insecurity and social exclusions

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Contribution of the Euromarches against unemployment, insecure work and exclusions,
Euromed Civil Forum, 12 april 2002.

Jean-Guy Dufour

Who we are

In spring 1997, unemployed began to march from Finland, Morocco and all the EU countries, and joined together in a demonstration gathering people in Amsterdam during the EU summit.
At every stage of their journey, they spoke at meetings about their living conditions - what it meant to be without work, housing or even without any income- and they made a call to converge in their struggle to demand the abolition of unemployment, insecure work and misery.
That is how the Euromarches were born.
They consist of a network of organizations and trade unions, fighting in different EU countries.
Within this network, these organizations regularly exchange information, experiences and reflections, defining what they have in common; they elaborate common claims at the EU level and organize together some actions at this level. Since Amsterdam in 1997, unemployed, insecure workers, people victims of exclusion have made their demands heard through demonstrations, marches and assemblies.

What don't we want to stay behind the walls of Fortress Europe?

Through our struggles, we (unemployed - increasingly badly provided for-, insecure workers - more and more disposable-, young people - deprived of the right to an income-, workers - forced into badly paid part-time work, put under more and more pressure, whose rights are more and more attacked-, families without proper housing (or even without any), we all are the victims of the same coherent and precise policy: the policy of financial centers and multinational companies, put forward by the Round Table, the UNICE and all the lobbies, and implemented by the EU governments from one EU council to the next.
We have realized that this policy is part of the liberal globalization process and doesn't take into account the rights nor the needs of millions of people in Europe.
We have realized as well that southern Mediterranean workers or migrants from these countries are the first victims of this policy.
The unemployment figures (for them) are twice or three times higher than the common level. The situation of the Sans-Papiers, real slaves of Europe, is just unbearable. And we are also aware of exclusion through racial discrimination.
We have learned as well from the migrants who have come from the southern Mediterranean countries that the EU policies consist of the making of deals with their home countries' governments, not a crumb being given to relieve the abject poverty of their people.

Through our struggles, we have realized as well how immigration policies, implemented by most of the EU countries, force thousands of men and women to accept shameful conditions of exploitation, just to satisfy the will to profit of employers, who can then impose harder and harder working conditions on the other workers. Interests of governments and employers are not opposed: they do converge.

Therefore the Euromarches demand the same rights for all living in Europe, without discriminations of any kind, specially racially motivated ones.

Our main demands

The European Marches Charter of Demands

  • The right to an income, allowing people to live decently. This income must be 50% GDP/head.
  • The right to a proper job, which means:
    • The refusal of the imposition of jobs which aim at forcing the unemployed into unacceptable working conditions. This is the main direction of the employment policy decided by the Lisbon Summit, implemented in all E.U. countries under different names, under the eye of the commission : turning all the unemployed into part-time or insecure workers
    • The massive cut of working hours, with creation of jobs; the creation of socially useful jobs; the refusal of all forms of casualisation, forced part-time insecure work or moonlighting jobs.
  • The leveling up of all social rights in Europe, and especially the right for insecure workers and unemployed to access the essential services.
  • The recognition of the unemployed and insecure workers' organizations.

We demand that these rights are written in the fundamental texts of the E.U., prepared by the Convention directed by Mr. Giscard d'Estaing . We oppose the Nice Charter, which is a real regression as far as social rights are concerned, compared to all the preexisting international texts. Euromed Civil Forum gives us an opportunity to express very strongly to all the E.U. Official bodies the following demands:

  • The accreditation of all Sans-Papiers.
  • Effective repression of all racial discrimination and statutory racial discrimination
  • Concrete help to exchanges between organization fighting at the social level in North and South of the Mediterranean.

We are determined:

  • To work towards the convergence of all the E.U. social movements which fight against the crimes of capitalistic Europe. We hope that such a convergence will occur during the next European Council in Seville, Thanks especially to the organization of a march of the social resistance prepared by our Andalucian friends. The E.S.F in Italy next November will offer another opportunity to take this convergence of struggles even further.
  • To work towards the convergence of the struggles of the Southern Mediterranean social movements and the European. The participation of the Graduate Unemployed from Morocco in the Andalucian march means a lot to us and we hope that no authority will cause it to be compromised.
  • To work towards the permanent exchange of information and experience with the progressive trade-unions and other movements fighting against unemployment, insecure work and exclusion in the South Mediterranean countries, aiming towards a future in which we can all act together.

Who we are

What don't we want to stay behind the walls of Fortress Europe?

Our main demands

We are determined