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European cross network civil society meeting
for a common response to the global crises

Paris, 10th - 11th January 2009

Dear Friends,

The present financial crash is historically exceptional in depth and range. And the worst is still to come. The spill over to the real economy is fully under way and recession with all its consequences such as rising unemployment, pressure on social security etc. will come to a climax in 2009. We are at the beginning of a dramatic economic crisis. All sectors of social life will be affected, not only in the industrialised countries, but in the whole world. Together with the environmental crisis (climate, energy, biodiversity etc.), increasing food prices, hunger and poverty the world is confronting a dramatic challenge.

Civil society was not prepared for the financial crash. We are still not yet in the position to meet the challenges of such a dramatic convergence and to seize the unique opportunity for change, which is offered by such turmoil. An exceptional crisis requires an exceptional response.

Therefore, the undersigning networks want to invite you to an open consultation on how to build capacity for civil society, to organise and mobilise on a European level. In particular, we have to develop the capacity to influence the European position in the process of reforming the financial system, which has started with the G20 meeting on November 15th.

Date and venue of the meeting

The meeting, which we propose, will take place January 10th 11:00 a.m. to 11th 13:00 h in Paris. The venue is at CICP (Centre International de Culture Populaire), 21ter rue Voltaire. Metro station: Nation.

Our meeting will take place two days after a conference convened by French President Sarkozy and ex British Prime Minister Blair, which is entitled: New World: Values, Developments and Regulation. It will be attended among others by progressive economists such as the Nobel prize winners Amartya Sen and Joseph Stiglitz.

Open for all organisations which are interested
Given the heterogeneity of civil society, we know that starting such an initiative has always to live with some limitations, in particular with a certain lack of participation and transparency. We have handled questions such as: who is inviting and who is invited according our limited perspective. But it is not our intention to play a role which would go beyond facilitating the start of a process of self-organisation.

Therefore, we would ask everybody to pass on this invitation to any organisation, network, citizens initiative or trade union, from which you think that they might be interested.

Opportunities for networking and political intervention
Apart from developing our own capacities and alternatives, 2009 offers several important opportunities for political intervention, which should be seized, such as the elections for the European Parliament. Further landmarks in the process are:

- World Social Forum in Belem (Brazil), 27th January – 1st April 2009

- Alternative European encounter at the end of March in Brussels

- the Alternative ECOFIN in Prague (1.-3. April)

- the G20 (for the first time with Obama) in London, April 2nd

- G8 in Italy end of June beginning July

- UN-conference on climate change, Copenhagen, December 2009

Draft agenda

The outcome of the meeting is open and will depend on the discussions in Paris.

Nevertheless, we could imagine an agenda as follows:

1. Analysis of the crises, including reports about ongoing dynamics within different European countries

2. Consequences for a civil society strategy and our alternatives

3. Opportunities for intervention in 2009

4. Practical consequences on capacity building and networking

5. Any other business

Perhaps, we also could have some working groups, which deal with sectoral issues such as the impact of the crisis on labour, environment and development. Of course, we are open to any further proposal. Please let us know, whether we can count on you.

Kind regards

European Attac Network
European Coordination Via Campesina
Friends of the Earth Europe
European Network on Finance and Development
European Network for Public Services

Further supporters:

Frank Bsirske, President Ver.di (Trade Union of Service Workers) Germany

Ulrich Thöne, President of GEW (Teachers and Scientists Union), Germany

Gérard Aschieri, Secrétaire général of FSU (Fédération syndicale unitaire), France

Christophe Delecourt, Secrétaire général of CGT Finances (Confédération générale du travail), France

Pierre Khalfa, Secrétaire national of Union syndicale Solidaires, France

Fabrizio Tomaselli, National Secretary of SdL Intercategoriale (Sindacato dei Lavoratori Intercategoriale), Italy

Bob Crow, Secretaire general RMT National Union of Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers, Great Britain


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