Sunday, September 25, 2011

Bike March from Amsterdam to Brussels, 11 – 15 October 2011

Why do we go to Brussels?
October the 15th is supposed to be a day of worldwide protest. From several European countries, people are marching towards Brussels to express their anger and already start organizing themselves  during the days before the demonstration. You will find more information about 15O here:
We consider that the actual situation cannot be understood in a national framework. The logics and the working mechanisms behind them are global, so the mobilization efforts should also be global.  Therefore, we focus on networking on a transnational level, considering other people and other nation specific concerns. In the European context, our focus is the center of political decision making which is Brussels.

Why by bike?
We are willing to make a symbolic effort for the change we are seeking to achieve. After a period of assemblies and political discussion, it´s time to get more dynamic and sweat it out.
By stopping in several cities on the way, we want to involve civil society and create a bigger awareness about the need of a more inclusive and participative democracy. We won´t use any political symbols.
We want to be as autonomous as possible. Therefore, the only things we will need are a bike, a sleeping bag and the solidarity of other human beings.

We also see a greater need for exactly these human relationships. If we get too much used to virtual social networks and virtual mobilizations, change will also remain virtual. We have to reinforce human contact and construct the solidarity we need in real life.

We will go slowly because we want to get far.  

Actions planned:
We will stop in several cities, camp there in public spaces and spread our message.

We will carry with us the political promises made at the beginning of the financial crisis regarding the regulation of the financial market, remember them to the people we meet and demand their fulfillment.

We will create awareness of the influence of the world´s biggest financial lobby group IIF (Institute of International Finance) on European legislation. Therefore, we denounce concrete Members of the European Parliament who have fallen under the influence of this lobby group. As a symbolic gesture, we will load the weight of their political decisions on our back.

To exercise real democracy we will record visually the demands of the people we meet on our way and present them in Brussels.

We want to highlight the human dependence on a system that is not anymore linked to life itself. We have to show the contradiction between abstract elements like the fictitious amounts of money or debts and real human needs, which are ground and water. We join the appeals for thinking of alternatives that enable us to live in harmony with our environment. Therefore, we collect earth and water in the different places we stop and bring them to Brussels. Earth and water will be our manifest.

The route:

Departure: 11.10.; 10:00
Amsterdam - The Hague, 60 km, 4 hours
12.10. The Hague - Breda, 75 km, 6h
13.10. Breda - Antwerp, 50 km, 4h
14.10. Antwerp - Brussels, 45 km, 4h
15.10. Demonstration

Facebook: ORGA TEAM – Mars Nederland-Brussel

Bus Contact; 14 – 16 October:

Influence of the financial lobby on European legislation

IIF Institute of International Finance - Association of the most powerful banks worldwide; Chairman: Josef Ackerman (Deutsche Bank)

Influence of the financial lobby on the European Commission:
The law proposals are designed by expert groups, they should be independent. These expert groups consist almost completely of financial lobbyists. One example are the expert groups for the regulation of banks which are almost exclusively composed of representatives of these banks.
The European Commission invites 260 experts who should advice the legislation regarding the finance market. 200 of these 260 come directly from the finance industry.

Myriam vander Stichele, member of the expert group banking industry, European Commission:
"The result of this kind of legislation is that the situation which led to the crisis, gets reinforced. The financial lobbyists in these expert groups have the legislator under control. Everything what is passed takes the lobby´s interests into consideration."

Influence on the European Parliament:
The Parliament Members have the right to write amendments on the law proposals which finally enter the European Parliament and need to be adjusted. Everybody of the 736 MPs (Members of Parliament) is being exposed to the constant proposals of the lobby group.

Sven Giegold, Member of European Parliament, GRUENE (EFA):
"The financial market lobby is totally successful. This you can see on the motions they pre-formulate and which they send to nearly every relevant MP and which in deed enter the legislative process. O lot of times the corresponding texts are proposed by colleagues and later discussed"

Burkhard Balz introduced several amendments which are quite similar to the proposals of the finance industry. Proofs: The financial lobby proposes to delete a complete article about the restriction of excessive speculation. Burkard Balz also deletes the article without replacement.

Reporter (Monitor):
"We compared your amendments with the documents of the lobby organization. And if you have a look on it, you can see that you actually took their proposals 1:1 (...) You even take the original text."

Burkhard Balz, Member of European Parliament, CDU (EVP):
"Yes, yes. After all it´s fine when other organizations have an opinion and I maybe coincidently have the same opinion."

In December 2010 the lobby proposes to tone down a decisive paragraph about the restriction of short sales. One month later Markus Ferber almost uses the same words in his amendment on the topic. Facts, but he states that his ideas were stolen by them.

Markus Ferber, Member of European Parliament, CSU (EVP):
"I have a conversation with them, I develop ideas how you could handle the whole thing and they write it in their position papers. Do you think I feel good about that?"

What does all this mean:
In Brussels people who do politics are more and more people who are not elected, for example the financial lobby.
In Brussels there are about 700 finance lobbyists with a budget of about 300 Mio €.
The financial sector gets a luxurious access to politics and the voter who actually pays everything becomes less relevant.

This is a real threat to democracy!

For more information on the topic have a look at the complete interview with Yiorgos Vassalos, CEO (Corporate Europe Observatory):

The information here is taken out of a short report made by the German television program MONITOR:
The quotations belong to the German interviews carried out by them. The translation is not official.

1 comment:

  1. Hey bike travelers! If you need to fix up your bike before leaving Amsterdam you can get some professional help and the necessary tools in De Fabriek, Van Ostadestraat 233E (Nieuwe Pijp). The attend you every Friday from 11:00 to 16:00.