The 5 stars citizen handbook for Europe

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The small booklet is a reaction of the MoVimento Cinque Stelle to Juncker's "White Paper for the future of Europe". The English translation is taken from an official document.

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1. Single market and commerce

We do not want the actual dismantling of the single market. Instead,we want to reform it, paying special attention to the citizens’ needs.
We ask for clear rules and specific controls that are carefully applied and tailored to local needs. Our main goal is avoiding the creation of any possible unfair competition. A precautionary principle must be applied on potentially damaging trade treaties such as the TTIP and CETA.

Public health must come first of any economic interest. Following the precautionary principle, dangerous substances must be subject to a preventive ban whenever the scientific community provides discordant assessments or/and we find ourselves in front of the absence of relevant international studies certifying the effects of those substances on human and environmental health.

We must stop any decision-making process related to trade policies that may damage the direct interests of small and medium-sized enterprises. Our aim is to safeguarding the excellence of the “Made- in-local” from the negative effects arising from low-quality and low-cost imports.

We should reduce to the minimum the import of competing products from non-EU countries according to the EU market’s absorption capacity and the European production levels. The effects of international agreements must be estimated by comparing both Europe-wide impact studies, developed by independent authorities, and national impact studies, published and distributed to the citizens of Member States. Any future international economic treaty must guarantee that the details of negotiations are always made public and transparent.

The European Union must commit to classify business agreements always as mixed, thus subjecting them to the scrutiny and vote of national parliaments. They may be classified as pure only in residual cases, when there is no doubt that the agreements relate to matters of exclusive competence of the EU. In the latter case, if any doubts subsist about the nature of the agreement, the government is called upon putting pressure to the EU to ensure that any trade agreements are considered mixed.

The European Union must pursue the respect of European standards of production (environmental, human and workers’ rights) in countries where it enters into agreements, with the aim of achieving a global trade based on reciprocity, sustainable development and respect for human rights.

2. Economy and monetary union

Any revision of the European Union structure must be based on a major overhaul of the economic commitments contained in the treaties and with a broad public consultation in the Member States that will lead to a confirmation by referendum. We cannot accept the approach adopted by European leaders that are imposing the idea of a two-speed European Union. We must take in account the ex-ante conditionalities and the socio-economic implications that this proposal will bring. They must be thoroughly considered and the European citizens must be adequately engaged.

A public debate, at international level, on the future of the European Union and Euro-area is a priority. A debate that shouldfocus on the costs of the imbalances caused by the introduction of a single currency. We believe that it is essential to introduce specific procedures in the treaties and in the European regulatory framework, allowing Member States to withdraw from or not participating in the monetary union, via a permanent opt-out clause in case such option is clear intention of their citizens. It is necessary to radically change the current system of the European economic governance (Pact for Stability and Growth – Fiscal Compact – MES and other supervisory rules on public budgets). The current system is based on market predominance and on compliance with stringent and unjustified commitments that are socially and economically unsustainable. It is necessary to establish mechanisms for economic governance that are sustainable and inclusive, and that give real support to citizens.

The fight against unemployment, poverty and inequalities should be adequately reflected into concrete policy measures. We have clear objectives: the reduction of unemployment, poverty and inequalities. Otherwise, we consider indispensable to revert the monetary economics sovereignty to the Member States. It is also necessary to quickly proceed towards ambitious proposals to dismantle the avoidance and tax evasion scheme in Europe, which benefits multinational corporations, damages small and medium-sized businesses and subtracts essential resources to public budgets. It is unacceptable that member states in the Euro area such as Luxembourg, Holland and Ireland still encourage these unethical practices that benefit multinationals at the expenses of partner states. We must quantify the damage that aggressive tax practices cause to the economy of the Euro area and of the European Union. We must compensate the member States damaged by multinationals and infringing States.

The current European reforms of the banking and financial system are absolutely incapable of protecting citizens from future banking crises and from the risk of new public bailouts. We must put in place a modern Glass-Steagall Act based on the separation of traditional lending activities from speculative financial assets. The current configuration of the banking union, which gives the ECB new supervisory and resolution functions, must be completely revised. We must concentrate our political and technical efforts to guarantee that the supervision and regulation of banking activities focus on the enormous systemic risks related to exposures on derivatives and to shadow banking systems.It is essential to introduce an adequate supervision of the lending process to avoid patronage.

The bail-in procedure, designed to offset bank losses on savers and depositors, must be dismantled as it contradicts national constitutions that protect savings (i.e. art. 47 of the Italian Constitution). A solid system of protection of bank deposits is necessary, based on the unlimited guarantee provided by a central bank that acts as last resort lender. If necessary and without any predefined limitations, the central bank must be able to buy government bonds of countries in difficulty to avoid unsustainable debt or excessive financing costs. The system under negotiation does not provide structures and adequate funds to protect deposits and therefore represents a strong threat to stability in a banking system based on the model of universal banking.

3. Schengen, immigration

We need a revision of the Dublin Regulation. All the EU countries have to respect the principles of cooperation and equitable sharing of responsibilities. Italy and the other countries of first entry cannot become the refugee camps of Europe. The redistribution of asylum seekers must be mandatory and automatic: Europe cannot wait that Italy or another Member States reach a critical point that would lead to a state of emergency. Countries that refuse the redistribution of asylum seekers need to be sanctioned.

We have to address the causes of mass immigration in order to prevent the phenomenon of illegal landings: full support to arms embargo, cease of destabilizing operations in the Middle East and Africa and fines for multinationals that violate human rights in third countries. Furthermore, we demand the abolition of all forms of direct and indirect funding to the arm industry in favor of an increase in social investments.
Anyone who is entitled to international protection must be allowed to enter Europe through legal ways of access. Therefore, any request for protection must be filed through simplified and rapid procedures either in the country of origin or, if not possible, in the country of transit, so as to stem the current trafficking of human beings. This action will reinforce the fight against illegal immigration, human traffickers and will interrupt the inter-linkage between immigration, mafia and corruption, as demonstrated by the respective Italian Mafia Capitale and Mineo Cie investigations.

It is urgent to sign agreements with third countries for the readmission of illegal immigrants and to speed up the return procedures for migrants that do not have right to international protection. Resources for development and trust funds should be the priority funding instruments of such actions, with the aim of promoting international cooperation projects with the countries of origin of migrants who do not have right to international protection.

As far as counter-terrorism, cooperation among all countries must be strengthened, removing any obstacle to an efficient and effective exchange of information among the Member States.

4. Foreign policy and defence

We require immediate suspension of all agreements and repatriations towards extra EU countries who violate human rights. Using the lever of commercial agreements and of cooperation development, we need to achieve the respect of human and environmental rights.

We demand immediate removal of the sanctions against Russia, which cause significant economic losses to the Member States and in particular to small and medium enterprises.

We are against the creation of a European army that engages in military operations aimed at the pursuit of the economic and commercial interests of the EU or its Member States. Strong guarantees must be provided to ensure that the European army refuses to engage in armaments’ races and is aimed only to peacekeeping, at rationalizing defense spending, at eliminating waste and redundancies.
Furthermore, to the present day neither the mechanisms of cooperation between the European Army and its National counterparts, nor the procedures through which the European and the national parliaments can control the European Army are clarified.

Lastly, we ask for the formal suspension of negotiations with Turkey, including the blockage of European pre-accession funds and the cancellation of the illegal agreement on migrants, signed with Erdogan.

5. EU budget

We urge substantial reduction of the EU budget with drastic cuts in the salaries of the members of the EU Parliament, including all forms of benefits and privilege. We advocate for the elimination of the ineffective triple Brussels-Strasbourg-Luxembourg plenary session seats currently granted by the treaties and for the removal of all non-productive European agencies.

We demand a strategic revision of the EU communication on the common currency, relationships with Russia, fake news and others.

Reopening negotiations on the Juncker Plan in order to target SME’s as a priority of the 2B Euro Package is crucial.
The funds granted to European political parties and foundations must be revoked. The European budget should prioritize social issues. For example by proposing a European basic income as flagged by the European Commission at the beginning of the legislative term.

European financial instruments must be designed transparently with a focus on public procurements, focusing on responding to regional and local needs, as pointed out in the program of government of the 5 Stars Movement.

6. Decision making and priority setting

The European Union must put the citizen at the center of the decision-making process, increasing its representativeness and democratization. Policies should not be imposed from above but derived from a bottom-up approach. Therefore, all instruments of direct and participatory democracy of proven utility should be strengthened and widened. Today’s best practices in participatory democracy show that European citizens are not supportive towards current Union’s policies. A greater transparency in the EU decision-making process should be achieved via redistribution of competences among EU institutions, in particular among the Council and the European Parliament as the only democratically elected EU body.

7. Energy, raw materials and resilience

The European Union is dependent on the import of energy, raw and processed materials and consumer goods. This situation puts all European citizens in a highly vulnerable condition, with a direct impact on the real economy, on security, on long-term prosperity, on peace and on the prospect of economic and social stability, inside and outside of our territory. Therefore, we ask for the immediate abolition of incentives and direct or indirect subsidies to fossil fuels.

We need a complete energy efficiency refit of the European housing stock and a rapid transition to fully renewable energy production. In this process, preference should be given to the generation and distribution of stored energy and to its delivery via intelligent, adaptive, local and continental networks. To reduce and potentially terminate the import of minerals and raw and processed materials from non-European countries, we should step on the accelerator to implement a radical circular economy approach in all production and consumption cycles. Good practices of total recycling and reuse of artifacts and materials should be emphasized and followed, while the planned obsolescence of products should be prohibited.

To reduce the transport energy consumption and to revitalize the economy we urge, whenever possible, to reconnect the places of labor and production to those of consumption and dwelling, looking to promote local versus global markets. The hydrogeology and soil fertility must also be restored by harnessing water, consolidating the soil, adopting policies of resilience and climate mitigation. The current agro-industrial model must be abandoned in favor of new fossil-free agricultural model based on local materials.

Our intention is to create a real resilient and peaceful European community that is economically stable, self-sustainable, focused on low energy consumption and reduced mining activities, removed from conflicts over natural resources and committed to embracing the responsibilities of climate change.

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