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Communists call for Europe of the peoples and workers, not the EU of big capital at Portugal gathering

COMMUNISTS gathered in Portugal called for a “Europe of the people and workers, not the EU of big capital” on Saturday.

The call was made as an international panel of speakers addressed the Avante Festival near Lisbon, organised by the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP).

It came as British anti-Brexit MPs and campaigners are intensifying their bid to overturn Brexit — voted for by more than 17 million voters in June 2016.

A parliamentary vote last week introduced legislation to stop Prime Minister Boris Johnson from taking Britain out of the EU without a deal by the deadline of October 31.

It is expected that British cross-party MPs will block another bid to call a general election tomorrow, preferring to keep the Tories in power despite Mr Johnson suffering a series of defeats and losing his parliamentary majority last week.

Communist Party of Britain general secretary Robert Griffiths described the struggle to implement Brexit as a “battle for popular sovereignty.”

He explained that his party was pressing for a “full Brexit” and a general election, so a left-led government could implement policies that would have come into direct conflict with the pro-big business rules of the EU’s single market and customs union.

Among other speakers was Progressive Party of the Working People of Cyprus (AKEL) spokesman Neoklis Sylikiotis, whose party took a 28 per cent national vote share in May’s EU elections.

He told those gathered that the EU had created a Europe in which 16 million workers were unemployed — more than 7 per cent in the eurozone — and where 110m people live in poverty.

He said: “The EU is not a model of ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’ — its policies are decided by the lobbies of the multinational corporations. 

“Elected national governments are confronted with blatant threats and blackmail, while referendums are ignored or repeated until people vote in line with the wishes of the EU.”

Italy’s Communist Refoundation Party spokesman Fabio Pasquinelli said a 2011 referendum showed that over 90 per cent of the Italian public opposed further privatisation of public services.

But the vote was followed by an attack on the Italian state and provincial bonds in the financial markets. Italy’s government was replaced in November 2011 by an unelected pro-privatisation junta headed by former EU commissioner Mario Monti.

Newly elected PCP MEP Sandra Pereira said: “The EU is not the Europe we want, which is a Europe of sovereign countries, of the people and the workers — not the European Union of big capital.”

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