Article from El Salto Diario, by Aurora Báez Boza 1 October 2023

Saturday September 30 2023, thousands of people have demonstrated in the streets of Granada demanding an “anti-racist, anti-capitalist, environmentalist and feminist” Europe a few days after the arrival of the representatives of the European institutions. The rally, under the slogan of ‘Another Europe is possible’, took place in the context of the Social Summit of Granada that since last September 23 has been claiming “other European policies that put the lives of people and the planet at the center”, according to its organizers.

The dozens of groups that make up the Social Summit have shown their rejection of various European policies that they consider “capitalist and generators of inequality”. A few days before the arrival of the European leaders, from the summit they maintain their position of generating an alternative discourse to the model represented by the Alhambra Summit: “We want to carve Europe as a land of freedom and justice, welcoming and open to the Global South and antimilitarist standard-bearer of No to War”.

The demonstrators have focused their demands against European migration policies, inactivity in the face of the climate crisis and the signing of trade agreements that represent an offense to various territories, such as the new EU-Mercasur trade agreement. The latter is a trade pact that will boost economic activity between the EU and Latin America, that is, according to official sources, it would make the European Commission have agreements with 94% of Latin America’s GDP, which for spaces of neoliberal thought such as the Think tank Elcano Royal Institute is “a transcendental opportunity for both regions to deepen their cooperation and commitment”. Environmental groups and human rights groups, however, call it an aberration.

The report on this trade agreement by Friends of the Earth states that it “puts people, health and the planet up for sale”.  Andrés Muñoz Rico, Head of Food Sovereignty at Friends of the Earth, adds: “This trade agreement will accelerate the expansion of industrial livestock in our country, a hugely predatory model of water resources in a context of drought. It will also boost the production of monocultures such as soybeans, sugar cane or beef in the Mercosur countries.” This is contrary to the anti-deforestation regulation adopted by the EU. Next week the negotiations between the parties will resume in Basel (Switzerland) after several weeks of pause, the objective of the parties is to close the agreement by the end of 2023.

This agreement is one of the examples of the European policies against which various social and environmental groups rebel these days in Granada. From Ecologists in Action, Helios Escalante Moreno has exposed from the demonstration the role of social movements to promote alternatives “that confront the policies promoted by the States and the EU”. It considers that “these policies deepen privatization and the loss of social rights as well as obscene economic inequality, nationally and internationally.” It also points out that “the racist and neocolonial foreign policy of the EU, whose migration control measures cost the lives of thousands of people in the Mediterranean every year, exploits the resources of the countries of the global south.”

[…] The Meeting of the European Commission, the central event of this Spanish presidency of Europe, will bring together more than 40 heads of state and government on 5 and 6 October. To do this, it will close the Alhambra for three days to visits by the general public and will have a police force of more than 900 officers throughout the city. During those days the eyes of international politics will be on the Nasrid city, since the war in Ukraine, the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia and the possible expansion of the European project to new members will be discussed, among other topics. The Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union has rejected El Salto Diario’s request for accreditation for the Alhambra Summit “for security reasons for the meeting”.