Manifesto for the Commons in the European Union

Common goods are universal: they belong to everyone and they must not be monopolised by private interests. European Institutions, as guarantors of fundamental civil liberties, peace, cultural diversity and the rule of law, must ensure respect for, and the preservation of, these common goods.

Common goods, by definition, belong to the community. Water, the quintessential common good, should not be privatized or commoditised. Nor should this be the case with education and health. They ought not to be treated as commodities, but rather us our common heritage, protected and enriched by the community.

In a context of crisis and austerity, where privatisation is often encouraged, a political approach based on respect for common goods represents an opportunity to establish a new democratic project for European society, one based on citizen participation, respect for fundamental rights and cultural, moral and intellectual development.

This is why we propose the recognition of common goods by the European Parliament and its integration into European judicial texts. Local governments and European citizens are already working to give common goods recognition within both legal and administrative frameworks (European Charter of the Commons, European Citizens Initiative – Water is a human right!) as well as taking more concrete actions, such as the remunicipalisation of water service in big cities like Paris and Naples, or the collective management of Theatres in Italy.

In order to confront the economic, social and environmental challenges that our society faces, the European Parliament should adopt a progressive stance, creating a judicial framework for common goods, capable of ensuring their fair administration and protection, inspired by, but distinct from, the system that regulates services of general interests. Common goods must be protected by rules established by and for European citizens. These norms have to guarantee fundamental rights, as well as citizen participation and cultural, moral and intellectual development for all.

To further this objective, and in accordance with the democratic and representative mandate entrusted to Members of the European Parliament, we ask for the creation of a cross-party parliamentary group, whose goal will be to lay the foundations for judicial and political recognition of common goods within the European Institutions.

This manifesto was presented Tuesday, March 18 during a press conference in Brussels at the European Parliament.