The Party of the European Left (EL), which concluded its fifth congress Sunday in Berlin, has vowed to radically call into question the treaties underlying the European Union and re-establish the crisis-ridden European integration project.
The party’s pledge comes in the midst of a new standoff that pits the Greek government against the Community institutions, obedient as always to the will of German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. The bone of contention is Athens’ decision to raise pensions, a move roundly celebrated at the congress in Berlin.
“We are determined to defend the rights of the Greek people, particularly the poor, those who receive low wages and the unemployed,” said Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, a leader of the party and EL’s nominee for president of the European Commission.
The situation, however, is not easy. The balance of power remains unfavorable to the anti-austerity forces. And this is the key point that returns in almost all the speeches of the leaders of the 25 national parties that make up the EL: how to succeed in countering the hegemony of neoliberal government forces that seem to be multiplying, from the German extreme right party Alternative für Deutschland to Greece’s own Golden Dawn.