by Gernot Bodner
No-Euro Forum in Italy to look for a common left exit strategy
The location of the third European No-Euro-Forum itself, Chianciano Terme in Tuscany, can be considered symbolic for the urgent need of an exit strategy to leave the corset of the currency union: during the 80ties it was a prosperous small town with it’s hot springs and hundreds of hotels where workers and pensioners spent their spa stays, financed from a growing economy and the social rights that were conquered. Today, 30 years afterwards, without investment, the infrastructure leaves a curious old-style-feeling (in modern terms „retro“) and it is largely empty. One and a half decades of economic recession, deconstruction of the welfare state and an increasing number of unemployed and precarious workers without access to social rights have left traces. The numerous congresses that gather in Chianciano since then, making use of its oversized and thus cheap hotels (e.g. in July it hosted the summer University of the European Left) cannot stop the slow ruin of the town. The big thermal spring was recently sold by one of the Italian crisis banks to a US-American investor.
The No-Euro Forum in Chianciano gathered left organizations from several European countries and the Ukraine under the common understanding of the need to break with the common currency. Beyond this common platform there was intensive discussion whether the Euro question can be separated from the EU project as a whole or not. In a panel on the economic crisis, the Italian economy professor from the Siena University, Ernesto Screpanti, insisted: changing the monetary politics with an exit from the Euro system and a return to the national currencies alone is not enough; what is needed is an active fiscal policy with strong state intervention and investments in the economy. The non-optimal currency area of the Euro cannot be separated from the radical market ideology that shapes all European treaties and its institutions.