Most of the European History has been about constant progress, exceeding the previous eras, including the development of the technology and the society too. The way to social justice and social politics has been extremely long, struggling with different forms of oppression and exploitation during the centuries, but the long way of progressive tendencies from the ancient, slaveholder times to social democracies achieving the highest level of social welfare in History could not be stopped, just hindered.
The huge disasters and breakdowns of the continent have always been related to the destruction of those political notions that wanted to ruin the already achieved accomplishments of the progressive direction, and wanted to turn back the clock. Still, time to time, Europe could always stand up from these meltdowns generated by the anti-progressive, backwards, reactionary motivations, and could continue its way to the higher and higher states of technological, social and political development.
We are the part of the History, it means we have the responsibility for the future generations. We have to represent the progressive direction of our times instead of going back in time, ruining those achievements that progressives have managed to reach so far. We have to represent this direction, because if we do not do it on the left-wing, nobody else will do it. We have to represent the progressive agenda to lead our times towards a higher level of social welfare and social justice. If we did not do it, Europe would go back in time again, and the future generations would suffer from coming out of the mess that backwards politics created.
The labour movements of the past few centuries have fought out amazing achievements for the working people. Working conditions have developed more in the past two centuries than they had developed in thousands of years previously. When Robert Owen socialist philanthropic reformer radically cut the worktime in his factories instead of the 14 hours worktime per day of the capitalist times, and realized that the productivity did not drop but improved, since the workers became healthier, more relaxed, rested, more concentrated and made less waste, it became obvious that the conservative agenda and the exploitation of the capitalist era had to be exceeded.
A firm and worker-centric agenda is needed today as well, that represents the interests of the many, not the few. We have to represent the interests of the vast majority, the millions of employees, finding the way to show up solutions for their everyday problems. This is how we can convince people to join the progressive direction, not the destructive one. People are not interested in general political agendas that they feel too remote from their everyday lives and daily routines. We have to find solutions for the everyday problems of the ordinary people, a down-to-earth program is needed, representing their interests, not the interests of the billionaires.
Many European countries are suffering from demographic issues, and many people cannot maintain a balance between their worktime and their private lives. Masses of employees from Eastern Europe to go work to Western Europe, not only for higher wages, but for better working conditions and public services as well that are not given in their home countries. Supervising employers to comply with maximum 8 hours work per day is essential. Many people do a lots of overtime at their workplaces, our Social Europe project has to limit the overtimes, to provide the opportunity for all the European workers to maintain a balance between their professional jobs and their private lives. This way, the Social Europe project can guarantee the masses of the European workers to have enough free time, to do sports, to have a rest, to spend enough time with their friends and their families, to have time to regenerate themselves. They can build their local communities, they will have enough time for their private lives, the quality of their lives and life expectancy are going to improve this way in Europe.
We have to stop corporate exploitation. We have to stop companies to have the opportunity to raise themselves above the laws and go against the values of the EU, exploiting their employees and forcing them to do an overwhelming amount of overtime. I propose to show up the red card to exploitation, and introduce a common red colored access card for every European employee that registers their exact time of their arrival and their leave from their workplaces. Every second of overtime has to be registered and has to be paid by the employers. Employees should receive at least the double of their hourly wage for their overtimes, since they do not only provide their workforce, but they also give up free time of their private lives to do overtime at their workplaces. Overtimes have to be radically limited by the Social Europe project for the employees, and every single second of overtime has to be paid by the employers. Companies also have to provide a fair share of the profit for the employees, since their inputs are in the profit. Not paying bonuses for the employees is like not paying dividends for shareholders. Providing bonuses is an already existing practice, it is not a utopia. But providing bonuses should be mandatory, employees have to receive a fair share of the profit that they generated. We have to represent the interests of the employees, the interests of the vast majority, the interests of the many, not the few. I also propose call centers in every EU member country, specialized on providing customer services and legal advice for employees whose working environments are not fair and satisfactory.
Right-wing tries to break down the rights of the employees worldwide. They restrict the rights of the trade unions and the workers, providing tax breaks for billionaires (who are already rich) and for the companies. The Social Europe project has to guarantee the rights of the employees and trade unions. Employees have to have the right to resist and strike when their employers do not provide fair working conditions and/or break the laws. Employees should have the right to organize themselves, to form trade unions and to step up for their interests. We also cannot stop by just introducing correct legislation that supports the employees. Left-wing has to introduce the project of social partnership all around the EU, to create and build up a constant and continuous communication between the politics and the civil organizations (labor unions, environmental organizations, student organizations etc), to implement a progressive approach and mentality to the everyday politics. This way, problems can be identified, discussed and solved easier and quicker, and it provides platform for new ideas and practices to implement. Moreover, we can make a more social politics with that, involving the different levels of the society to politics. We can directly involve people to politics, making them interested, and making democracy as direct as it is just possible. By involving the different levels of society to politics via social partnership, people will feel their issues matter, they will not feel abandoned. Destructive right-wing politics is always rooted in tempting disappointed people. People join them when they feel they have no other alternative. If we come up with a progressive agenda that represents their interests, people will join us, just like they join Bernie Sanders’ extremely popular political movement overseas. His democratic socialist project is getting more and more popular, he inspires a leftist breakthrough since his project is about the everyday life of the people, including medicare for all, tuition fee tertiary studies and employee rights. This is the democratic socialist, progressive agenda that we also have to follow and implement by involving the people, making politics as social and as direct, as it is just possible, giving the hope for the people and making them feel that they and their issues do matter. This way, we can improve on the daily, operative problems as well.
In my opinion, the Copenhagen Criteria also has to be extended. Only those countries should join the European Union that respect the rights of the employees and trade unions. We also have to make a continuity to the Copenhagen Criteria. The criteria to join the European Union cannot be forgotten after a country joins our community. It has to be fulfilled after a country joins as well. We have to give a continuity to the Copenhagen Criteria, member countries’ governments have to be constantly monitored, and those governments that do not meet the values of the EU, should be sanctioned. These parties and their members, especially their leaders should be sanctioned. They should pay the fee and the price of their own anti-democratic politics that goes against the common values of the family of the EU. Autocratic right-wing parties prefer to identify themselves with the country and the nation, and we have to unmask this lie. We cannot strengthen their narrative, giving them the opportunity to say that they save the nation against the EU. When they go against the common values and the legislation of the EU, these parties and leaders should be specifically fined and sanctioned, not the people of the countries.
To sum it up, European politics have to be social by being integrative, involving civil organizations and the different levels of the society to politics via the tools of the social partnership. EU has to be social by representing the interests of the employees, the vast majority instead of the interests of the super rich, the interests of the corporates, the billionaires and oligarchs. The agenda of Social Europe has to be down-to-earth, giving answers to the matters of the everyday problems of the people, coming up with efforts for better working conditions, employee rights and trade union rights. EU also has to be social by defending the common, democratic values of the European community. Those parties and leaders who go against the values of our family, should be sanctioned. We always have to think in improving the EU to raise the level of social welfare to higher and higher stages, instead of going back in time and letting the EU destroyed by destructive political notions. We have to show up a narrative against them by communicating our narrative and project, because we are the ones who represent the vast majority, not those who hide themselves behind the mask of fake-patriotism, meanwhile they sell out the employees to the corporate interests.