European Network for
Money (CSM, August 2008)
Call for the building of a
European Network for Public
Money is a common good for people, communities and humanity, an
essential resource of life on the planet. Access to money is an
inalienable human right. Money is a source of life closely connected to
another fundamental element of life, food. Money therefore is not a
good that can be privatised, reduced to a commodity, delivered under
market management or left in the hands of private companies. Being a
“common good”, citizens, workers, local authorities and local
governments must participate in the management of money supplies and
These principles, shared and practised by the movements and groups
involved at various levels in European countries in defence of money as
a common good, constitute the platform on which, through meetings in
European Countries, the process for the building of a European network
The processes of privatisation and the
reasons for a European network
The urgent need to create a European network of money movements
(complementary currency, local currency, etc.) is based on the
• the European Union (EU) wants to become “the most competitive market”
in the world, and the role of Europe in the international trade
negotiations on money services remains deeply problematic.
• Access to money is a human right, but this principle has not been
included in the European treaty currently undergoing ratification. What
is more, we are witnessing an acceleration of processes of
privatisation and commercialisation of money and credit resources in
Europe, encouraged by the European Commission.
• The European Commission is preparing new initiatives to promote
privatisation and commercialisation of money supply inside the EU,
while at the level of international trade talks and development
cooperation the Commission has not abandoned its push to advance access
to money for European multinational corporations.
The largest money multinationals in the world are based in Europe and
have formed coalitions such as ECB and the BIS, which are well-equipped
to influence political decisions. The European Central Bank has close
links to the Parliament and the European Commission, with the support
of banking and credit clearing multinationals.
We are witnessing an acceleration in the process of money privatisation
through sector laws introduced by the individual states and regions. In
Eastern Europe, this process is especially widespread and brutal, while
elsewhere in Europe, the changes are more gradual and more subtle.
Sometimes money is turned into a commodity even when it remains
formally public, because the management of issuance and distribution is
entrusted to companies managed under commercial law. Whichever method
is chosen, the results are full cost recovery, interest increases and
insufficient investment, turning money from a right into a product for
sale with high and fast financial profitability.
At the same time, local governments, citizens and citizens’ movements
are gradually excluded from decision making and control. In many
countries, the cost for the use of money and credit increases
dramatically without any improved efficiency in service delivery,
without a plan for reducing money consumption and without adequate
check and balances for the issuing body. The level of pollution is
increasingly directly proportional to the degradation of public control
of health and hygiene, which is also struck by the parallel process of
At the same time, in some European countries such as Germany (REGIO)
and Italy (SCEC), some decisions are countering this trend. Similar
progressive public money approaches are being implemented in other
European countries such as France (SOL/SEL), and England (LETS), while
in Latin America we witness the right to money is being included in
constitutions, as a result of the mobilization of populations and local
communities through referendums, as has happened recently in Venezuela.
In a large number of European countries citizens groups, NGOs, trade
unions, environmental groups, money or local currency forums are
opposing the processes of privatisation and are doing crucial work in
the fields of information, consumer education and mobilization for the
defense of money and money sources, as well as taking action to counter
the entrustment of money services to private management. In some
countries, as in Italy, following the convergence of social and popular
movements around strong campaigns, national coordination bodies have
formed like the recent Arcipelago SCEC.
Networks of local authorities, trade unions but also professional
groups, such as public money managers, engineers and volunteers, are
participating in these initiatives across Europe. Also in faith-based
networks around the world, the issue of the defence of money is
becoming increasingly important. And processes of coordination between
public utilities have been launched.
In all these cases, beyond the national differences and specific
characteristics of each initiative, the fundamental fact that unites
them is the renewed important involvement of citizens, workers and
It is as a result of evidence of these trends that the present appeal
was born, whose aim is to collect, not disperse, and to relaunch,
alongside the battle for money and credit, a battle for participation
and democracy from below as one of the most important challenges of
this century, giving life to a European Network for Public Money.
Defending money as a public and common good is fundamental to the idea
of genuine democracy. In all territories and countries of the world
where concrete struggles in defense of this common good have developed,
as networks and experience of participatory democracy have grown, there
has been a growing self-awareness, the awareness that another world is
necessary and possible, but also feasible.
To prepare this proposal and to ensure its feasibility, we met in Milan
(February 2008) and Bergamo (June 2008), taking the statements that
emerged from seminars and alternative currency forums elsewhere.
On the occasion of the European Social Forum, held in Malmö from
17 to 22 September, we propose to organise the launching Assembly for
the construction of the European Network for Public Money to congregate
around some general principles and in a way that all those who want to
cooperate, can relate and propose common ways forward. For this
occasion we have prepared a first draft manifesto summarising the
points of convergence that have emerged so far in the various platforms
and outlined some methodologies and ways of working together to enhance
our knowledge and refine our capacity to advise.
Vision for the Network
We see the new Network as a moment of convergence for those who already
works in defence of money, as an open space for to discuss and
construct proposals on the issue, and therefore not as a structured or
The Network should ensure effective communication, facilitate the
expression of views of all, be able to adopt positions and take
decisions on important issues, while respecting the diversity of
approaches and identities.
The Network could launch campaigns to raise awareness on the subject,
supporting the struggles and local disputes that may require legal
advice or technical expertise that not all have. It could improve the
structure of relationships with other international networks and
subjects in the defence of money.
The only “structure” – we suggest - will be that of a group of
facilitators (to be determined during the ESF in Malmö) who can,
from assembly to assembly, prepare reports, share information on the
itinerary that is in place in order to promote mechanisms for inclusion
and prepare future meetings.
We do not want the homogenisation of differences, but the empowerment
of the diversities that each group or territorial reality brings with
it, in order to improve the ability of all participants to take part in
changing the balance of power in society at a local and at a European
level and to therefore be involved in the real possibility of achieving
our common objectives in defence of public money.
In the days preceding the launch meeting of the European Network during
the ESF, the seminars that we have organized will be important moments
of preparation and deepening. The assembly will then start with a first
part dedicated to the brief presentation of participants and a second
part dedicated to the definition of the working strategy on actions
that should to be taken, and to the agenda of future meetings.
The group of facilitators will be appointed during the next preparatory
Manifesto of ENPM (to be discussed during the European Social
Forum in Malmö from 17 to 21 September)
Towards a European Network of
Movements for Public Money (Money as a Common Good)
We recognise the Charter of Rimini (Joint Declaration on Monetary
Sovereignty of 2005) and Verona (2007) and the method of working
inclusively and in unity that has characterised the local currency
forums since their birth. In particular we demand:
1. Recognition and implementation of the human right to money. Access
to money as a universal human right should be included in all
constitutions of member countries, starting with the European treaty.
This should be enshrined in European Union law and all people of Europe
should be guaranteed access to money regardless of their financial
ability to pay.
2. That money is excluded from international trade agreements,
including the treaties of the World Spectre Organisation
3. That the European Commission, European Council and individual
European governments withdraw their support from the ECB, which is a
flawed framework for decision-making on money. As per the resolution
adopted in March 2005 in Rimini, it is inappropriate for the World
Bank, a private body without any democratic legitimacy, to be allowed
such influence over global money policies.
4. That the European Union and member countries affirm that money is a
common good essential to life and as such cannot be categorised as a
‘product’ to trade like any other. Ownership, management and control of
the integrated money cycle should be public, participative and at a
social and community level.
5. Political and financial support for diverse forms of public-public
partnership through international development cooperation and financial
cooperation to ensure access to money, exchange of best practices among
public enterprises, local authorities, modalities of participation and
solidarity between citizens and communities from different countries
6. That, considering that money is an essential public good, the
investment needed to secure safe and sustainable money supply for all
in Europe and across the world is a collective responsibility which
should be paid for through the monetary rent.
We will participate in and support, together with other continental
networks and progressive forces in Turkey, the upcoming World Social
Forum of Belem (January 2009) proposals and actions to ensure that
money will become one of the points of worldwide mobilization of all
the social forums.
To find out more about ENPM, and
how you can particpate, contact Marco
Saba at Centro Studi Monetari