Home / World / European Communities. The defense of democracy is at stake in these elections, warns Marisa Matias – Actuality

European Communities. The defense of democracy is at stake in these elections, warns Marisa Matias – Actuality

In the first big interview after being chosen to direct the BE list back to the European elections on May 26th, Marisa Matias apologizes for setting an electoral goal and "putting numbers", but admits that part for the campaign "with goal of increasing representation ", which at the moment is only a place.

"In this campaign there are many things at stake, right from the defense of democracy itself," he warns.

The EU MEP recognizes that "democracy has been very limited in recent years", such as "the ability to decide within the Member States" from the impositions of Brussels, which remains a "fundamental struggle" that must be done ".

"But the defense of democracy now goes further, it is also the defense of the rule of law.We are in a phase where we have to defend the most basic and fundamental rights we think we have acquired", he said, giving an example of "questions of fundamental human rights and equality, protection of migrants ".

Marisa Matias, referring to other parts of the campaign, refers to the "deep cross between European politics and national politics in defense of the welfare state and public services", an aspect that she considers "common on both battlefields".

"I believe that democracy, the rule of law, the struggle for more space and spheres of sovereignty regarding the decision of national policies, the flight from these treaties and the issue of climate change are fundamental axes in the campaign that we start", He says.

Since the negative results of the BE in the 2014 European elections – passed from the three mandates of 2009 to only one -, the party has grown both in the presidential elections (in which Marisa Matias was the leader) and in the legislative elections.

Asked if the contagion of the "device" – the name given to the political solution of the political support of the minority government of the PS by all the left parties (BE, PCP, PEV) – will be positive or negative for the blockade, the deputy believes that I do not know the answer.

"If we look at what the objective result of this solution is, the tendency would be to say that it would be beneficial, because the economic plan applied in Portugal, the policy options that have been decided are very far from what was the macroeconomic plan presented by 2015 elections ", theorizes.

Refusing to do "low-cost advertising", Marisa Matias is peremptory: "it was from these commitments that the most significant improvements were made to the lives of the Portuguese and the Portuguese".

However, the leader of the BE knows that "the calculations are not made like this" because "the votes are of the people".

"People's reading may be different and if there is a minority government there could be this tendency on the part of the government to capitalize more than the others who have joined this solution," he admits.

For Marisa Matias "everything is open".

"But it is up to us to make this dispute, not only for what has been the role and a true mark of the Block in recent years in the changes in Portugal, but also to ask what has not been done," he said.

The EU praises Portugal, but economic policy has not changed "a comma"

The praise in the European Union for the performance of the Portuguese economy did not translate into any change in the economic policy of the EU, says the head list of the blockade in the European elections.

"A comma has not changed in the treaties because of the experience in Portugal," he criticized the MEP in an interview with the Lusa agency.

Marisa Matias, who is applying for a third term in the European Parliament (EP), even states that "the greatest frustration" of the mandate that is about to end was, as a member of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, becoming account that the EU has not learned "strictly nothing with the crisis".

BE MEP points out that the reversal of cuts in Portugal "was made in comparison to what is written in the treaties", which makes the Portuguese case "the exception rather than the rule".

"I did not even feel that it was necessary to increase wages and not to crush them, and not to reduce labor rights, as are European recommendations," he says.

With the expected change in policies to try to save the euro from the European Central Bank (ECB), which will lead to an increase in interest rates, the EU is "in the imminence of a next crisis "and in this scenario" those who will suffer in the skin are the peripheral countries ".

"Even those, like Portugal, which, contrary to what would have been expected, had above-average economic growth and managed to reduce their public debt by 10 percentage points", are still facing a debt "still non-repayable "in an EU where" nothing has been done to really control "this problem.

Furthermore, the growth of the Portuguese economy "is not sufficiently consolidated […] to resist confrontation, "he warned.

"We have witnessed huge macroeconomic imbalances in recent years, peripheral economies have been crushed, as was done with Greece, with Portugal, and I believe that if there is a lesson that can be drawn, then, when sacrifice the country in the name of an agreement with the EU, the only thing that remains is the sacrifice of the country because the EU will not respect that agreement, "he says.

For example, he says, it is sanctions for non-compliance with the deficit, in which "the deficit criteria are not the same for everyone".

Furthermore, much of the work of the European Parliament in this legislature for "true regulation of the financial system" has not led to actual changes.

"We had several committees of inquiry and special commissions concerning tax policies, tax evasion and tax avoidance, and the existence of tax havens within the EU itself." C & # 39 they were very important results of this work and the consequences were zero ", he criticized.

"It is a huge frustration to realize how, in the last ten years, I have joined the Parliament in the wake of the great financial crisis that has turned into an economic crisis and a social crisis. […], were ten years of false promises and the fact that, in essence, no one was very interested in changing the nature of the European construction and integration that we have known so far, "he complains.

May "not have the capacity" to deal with "Brexit"

Marisa Matias states that Theresa May "had no capacity" to deal with Brexit and should "abandon some red lines", especially in relation to workers' rights.

"Honestly, I have never seen anyone so ill prepared to deal with this dossier like the British authorities and Mrs. Theresa May. He had no chance of dealing with it," Marisa Matias said in an interview with Lusa.

The European Parliament, which is seeking a third term in the European Parliament (EP), will meet on 26 May, underlining that "the will of the British people" and "the protection of workers' rights must be respected".

"It's incredible [May] put the equal rights of European workers in the UK as the red line in the negotiations, "he said, noting that there are 3.5 million European workers in the country and 1.5 million Britons in other EU Member States ( EU).

"It is unthinkable, and of course the European Union is right when it says that the agreement must give equal conditions to European workers," he says.

Marisa Matias argues that for an extension of the negotiation deadline, an idea posed after the leadership of the British parliament to the agreement negotiated between Brussels and London, "there must be the will of both parties to continue to to negotiate".

And this, he explains, could go "through a change by the British authorities", such as "dropping some of the red lines, and in particular, the protection of European workers".

"I do not think it is legitimate for the EU to say that we will have room to postpone the negotiations, and therefore we are still delaying for a few months, but this space is for us to think better, because we will not change anything more because it is the best deal possible ", he condemned.

"There is no reason to punish the British people for choosing to leave, regardless of our personal opinion." It is a decision that has been taken, which already divides the United Kingdom itself, it is not the European Union that should give lessons ", he emphasizes.

Marisa Matias ensures that a "hard-Brexit", or the exit without agreement, would be "bad for all parties", but the decision to send a mission to 27 EU countries to start defining and proposing possibility of bilateral dialogue "Show that it is increasingly likely.

In this perspective, he argues that the Government of Portugal "should already negotiate bilaterally", or "prepare these negotiations", "to protect the community of Portuguese emigrants and give equal protection to the British in Portugal".

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The Left-Mock MEP (BE) Marisa Matias poses for photography during an interview with the Lusa agency in Lisbon, 18 January 2019. credits: MÁRIO CRUZ / LUSA

PS must choose which position of the budget treaty leads to the campaign

The contradiction of the PS with the treaty on the budget is criticized by Marisa Matias, considering that the socialists must choose whether to bring the ruling party or the European Parliament to the campaign.

In an interview with Lusa on the European elections of May 26, Marisa Matias insists on the budget treaty, one of the "most important" issues, noting that in the 2014 election campaign the then leader of the PS António José Seguro " he stated that if PS rejected or had a position contrary to the budget treaty it was the same as putting Portugal out of the euro ".

"The PS, in relation to the budget treaty, will have to choose what will lead to the campaign: if it brings the PS of Mario Centeno and the government or if it leads the European Parliament to vote for non-integration of the treaty into the Community law and well, from my point of view, "challenges".

In November 2018, the European Parliament was incorporated into the European Treaty on the budget treaty, agreed between European governments and set limits on the deficit, debt and consolidation efforts and sanctions in the event of non-compliance, which, according to the Member European Union, leaves "the most free countries to unilaterally dissolve".

Marisa Matias is again "number one" on BE's list for the European elections, after the bad result of 2014, when the party passed from the three MEPs who had elected in 2009 to only one, becoming the fifth political force.

"We are seeing in Portugal a recomposition of the political space and of the political-partisan space, not yet at the levels of recomposition we see in the framework of the European Union", he recalls.

This reconstruction in Brussels, adds the Bloque leader, "is much more accelerated and overwhelming in what are considered the founding families and the more traditional families of this European construction".

"And we are on the verge of a collapse of social democracy on a European scale and also very significant impacts on so-called Christian democracy, which is the place where the Portuguese right-wing political forces are represented," he warns.

From the point of view of the deputy, on the right, the moment is decisive, since PSD or CDS-PP "share the same parliamentary group", the European People's Party (EPP), with a far-right party coming from Hungary.

"Or they separate from the far right … and they will have an electoral cost, but not a cost from the point of view of credibility", or "they will continue this path of opening the doors to the extreme right in the European space" says Marisa Matias.

In Portugal, he compared, "through the solution of the government that was found and the parliamentary agreement, social democracy has not suffered so much".

"You probably have a lot to thank for the left of this country," he suggests.

In the European elections of 2014, one of the big surprises were the two mandates obtained subsequently by the MPT, in the list led by the former baron of the Bar Association of Marinho and Pinto.

On the possibility that the party led by former Prime Minister Pedro Santana Lopes, Aliança, may have the same effect as Marinho and Pinto in the May elections, the bloc MEP believes that "there is still a lot of openness for the European ones ".

"We do not know exactly which new parties will compete and the introduction of new parts always brings change," he says.

Despite the unknown, Marisa Matias rejects the possibility that "the effect is the same", considering that the type of electorate that voted Marinho and Pinto in 2014 may not be "exactly the same" in the Alliance.

Marisa Matias rejects the BE as a populist party

The head of the block list in the European elections rejects that the BE is a populist party and believes that the recomposition of the European Parliament will go through the growth of the "progressive forces" and the "implosion of the central bloc".

"I understand that when the electoral debate warms up, one enters into facilities of this nature and is called populism to which it is not.The blockade is not a populist party," says Marisa Matias in an interview with Lusa.

Candidate for a third term in the European Parliament (EP), admits that the May 26 elections will lead to a further fragmentation of the Chamber of Strasbourg, with "partisan forces or parliamentary groups that are more equal in size" unlike current, in which "two parliamentary groups [centro-esquerda e centro-direita] could make the majority ", joining a central block.

The European Parliament stresses that there is "a profound transformation" in European policy whose "dimensions and scope are difficult to predict", but believes that "there is room for growth and a significant strengthening of the European progressive political forces", consisting of left and parts associated with the parliamentary group of the Greens.

The political forces, he underlines, "have an agenda that is a conflicting and total distinction from the extreme right, which in reality does not propose anything new in terms of economic policy and which contributes significantly to the disintegration of the European space" .

Marisa Matias believes that the extreme right will increase its representation in the European Parliament, because "we were opening the doors" of the traditional parties "that were leaving the program of the extreme right" in their speech.

However, he hopes that "it will not grow enough" and that it will be possible "to make democratic alliances to prevent these policies from winning".

Anticipa, on the other hand, "an implosion of the central block" and stresses: "This is not a prediction, it is a realization of what is the trajectory" of the heavy electoral defeats of the social democratic parties in France, Germany, L & # 39, Italy, the Netherlands, the Nordic countries or even Spain, which "is no longer a bipartisan system".

For Marisa Matias, "social democracy collapses because it has given way to the market economy, transferred to the ideal of neoliberalism and leaves the defense of the social state from its hands".

"It is therefore argued that maintaining clear policies and real political choices for people's lives tends to favor more honest political forces with themselves, with their program, with their history, rather than with trying to sell an ideology. that does nothing but destroy a common project, "he says.

Europe is "in the midst of a whirlwind, a storm", "a very difficult moment of disintegration", which could explain why many of the Portuguese parties are focusing on the continuity of the deputies representing them, as in the case of BE.

"At this moment, experience can count: it is not only the need for renewal, which always exists, but it is a very special moment in which the disintegration factors linked to economic policy are united by others that come from 39, an agenda that is at the opposite end of a "Europe in solidarity" or even can aim at a certain sense of cohesion and defense of the most fundamental rights ", he explains.

[Por Joana Felizes e Maria de Deus Rodrigues (texto) e Mário Cruz (fotos), da agência Lusa]

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