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EU a 'nest of sympathy for austerity and privatisation'

Britain's labour movement must shed any illusions about the European Union when fighting austerity and privatisation

Britain's labour movement must shed any illusions about the European Union when fighting austerity and privatisation, Communist Party of Britain chairman Bill Greenshields has said.

Mr Greenshields pointed to the role of the EU commission and European Central Bank as members of the so-called "troika" alongside the International Monetary Fund, during a speech to the party's political committee on Thursday.

"These are the bodies driving the bail-out programme across continental Europe, slashing welfare benefits and pensions, destroying millions of jobs and privatising industries, services and utilities, all in order to ensure that German, French and British banks get a return on government bonds," he declared.

Accusing the troika of orchestrating "bureaucratic coups" in EU member states, he recalled that elected governments in Italy and Greece had been forced to stand down in favour of unelected "technocrats" when the cuts being demanded were too much even for some right-wing leaders.

He pointed out that the British government had submitted its financial strategy for approval by the EU Commission and was enthusiastically carrying out troika policy.

Britain's communists confirmed their intention to participate in a No2EU - Yes to Workers' Rights alliance in next June's European Parliament elections, alongside rail union RMT, the Socialist Party and other left-wing and anti-EU bodies.

The party also expressed solidarity with college staff, teachers, probation staff, civil servants and firefighters taking action to protect employment terms and conditions and public services.

It urged a big turn-out at this year's 21st Century Marxism event in Clerkenwell Green, London, this weekend.

Speakers at the event include representatives from communist parties and other workers' parties in South Africa, Palestine and Cyprus as well as trade union leaders, left MPs and other front-line campaigners.

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