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To:

the President of the European Parliament David Sassoli

the President of the European Council Charles Michel

the President of the European Commission Ursula van der Leyen

and all politicians of good will

Therefore, we call on you to take political responsibility and to take the initiative. This is what was patently lacking in the EU response to the 2008 financial crisis—a mistake whose grave consequences we are still suffering.

We call on you to allocate financial resources which will provide:

workers: with a real possibility to earn their own living during the quarantine and the crisis,

enterprises: with a chance to survive the economic crisis,

public services (healthcare in particular): with precipitous funding, 

all of us: with effective research on COVID-19 medication and on a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.

It is not only thousands of Europeans infected with the coronavirus that need to be saved today. There is another patient at risk of death—European values, such as the recognition of the intrinsic value of human life, of democracy, of solidarity, of community, of the dignity of work and of the worker. These values must now manifest in practical terms, in the concrete decisions we now face. Europe must show that:

The life of every single person, including the elderly, is an absolute value in itself and not a burden on the State Budget or the economy. To consider the death of a substantial part of society an external cost—to deliberately sacrifice human life for the sake of a rapid return to the path of GDP—is nothing but barbaric (as well as additionally being economically ineffective).

One of the great achievements of European civilization is the introduction of universal pension plans—a move which made the state responsible for the solidarity of the whole society towards the elderly. We must not leave in solitude those people who devoted their whole lives to work for our common welfare—they deserve our gratitude and have the right to care as well as the right to have their lives protected.

There is no free market without the freedom of the people who participate in it—in any situation of extreme imbalance, such narrowly understood freedom cannot but turn out to have been a mere delusion. When workers become hostages forced to put their own lives and health at risk in order to earn their livings, the system of the free exchange of goods and services transforms into a ruthless economic regime.

Therefore, we propose: 

1. Unconditional support for all

Unconditional basic income should be paid out for at least three months both to those who are currently employed and the unemployed, directly into their bank accounts. We must remember that bureaucracy is the enemy of the vulnerable. If financial support is dependent on long and complex procedures, it will fail to promptly reach those who are in imminent danger of falling into spiraling debt and poverty.

We have no time for income verification—it may be a standard labour market procedure at times of peace, but not when we are at war.

Appropriate verification and taxation of additional basic income paid into the accounts of the wealthiest should be carried out at the end of the tax year.

The economy cannot wait for demand stimulus and boost in consumption. We urgently need to buy ourselves the time required to undergo the necessary quarantine. We cannot wait for bail-out money transferred to the big players to trickle down to the market, consumers and citizens. This did not happen during times of peace and will not happen during a period of crisis or war. We must not irresponsibly force employees who have lost financial stability to discontinue the necessary quarantine.

For that reason, we need the immediate, direct and universal transfer of funds from the European Union to its citizens, funded directly from the EU budget. We also require the issuance of money by the European Central Bank.

2. Subsidising enterprises for employment retention and income socialisation

It is of the utmost importance to provide European enterprises, especially SMEs, with the means to maintain their production potential and a stable economic environment through the provision of liquidity, as well as tax deferrals. Monetary policy must go hand in hand with fiscal policy in this matter, as the previous crisis in the European Union was extremely long and acutely impactful on the poorest, because the governments were afraid to admit that quantitative easing did not boost economic growth. This is why we hereby request the subsidizing of the anti-crisis efforts by the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The advantage of Europe over authoritarian systems must come from the power of its institutions and the ability to react to critical situations.

At the same time, the structure of subsidized enterprises’ key ownership has to be changed. Resources devoted to retaining jobs should serve employees, not company boards or financial markets. A continued surge of disparity and increase in the privatization of public services cannot be the aftermath of the crisis. Europe must save jobs, not the incomes of boards of directors. For this reason, the aid for enterprises should be combined with responsibility for European taxpayers and their support. We call for the public aid for companies to be subsidized by European funds and for the European Central Bank to acquire shares in the supported enterprises. This solution, implemented during the financial crisis of 2008, will guarantee control over wages and dividends, as well as the unified participation of European communities in the future income of the companies.

3. Public service subsidisation through an appropriate form of European bonds valid throughout the European Union

The crisis we are facing concerns public health. It shows that a society is as safe and as strong as its weakest members.

As a result, societies and the economy cannot afford to be deprived of access to high-quality universal healthcare.

In fact, it was the wrong response to the financial crisis of 2008 that led to the degradation of public services in the name of an alleged economic rationality, which is now generating additional costs and making it more difficult to effectively combat the pandemic.

Today, by releasing additional financial aid for the member states allowing them radically increase their healthcare expenditure, especially the ones most impacted by the pandemic, through the use of an adequate type of European bonds valid throughout the EU, the Union would show that the life and death of European citizens are the highest priorities, and that European solidarity is a real and not illusive ideal. It would also allow for the implementation of the controlled mobilization of production resources in Europe for the common good: healthcare.

4. European research on medicine and the vaccine

It is necessary to fund research on medicine for COVID-19 and a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 from European public resources. The medicine and vaccine discovered thanks to these funds should be patent-free, according to the principles of universal solidarity.

***

United Europe emerged as an answer to the spiritual and material devastation of World War II rooted in the crisis and unemployment of the 1930s. Crisis is a time for making choices. On the one hand, it may lead us to the fall of the European Union and slipping into chaos and authoritarianism. On the other, however, it can be a chance to renew the social agreement between Europe and its citizens. It can be an opportunity to change the management model to one that is more solidary and balanced.

The belief that European nations which have found themselves in a difficult economic situation will cope with the pandemic on their own is deceptive. If we want to both defeat the pandemic and ward off the shadow of the upcoming severe economic crisis, to save Europe from descending into chaos that will last for decades, we need to act according to the rule: United we stand, divided we fall.

We address our letter to the leaders of EU institutions, the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission and the President of the European Parliament and the MEPs of all the political groups of the European Parliament. We represent different ideological backgrounds. We are convinced that today, liberals, who acknowledge the inherent value of each individual, conservatives, who believe in intergenerational solidarity, and people of the left, who call for us to respect the dignity of labour, need to act together.

The real division line does not run between the liberals, the left and the conservatives. The demarcation line emerges between those who are ready to sacrifice their co-citizens for short-term profits, supposedly protecting the GDP, and those who oppose such logic.

Authors: 

Mateusz Piotrowski, ecological activist

Maciej Grodzicki, economist, Jagiellonian University

Marta Olesik, philosopher, Polish Academy of Sciences

Aleksander Temkin, philosopher, activist, Komitet Kryzysowy Humanistyki Polskiej

Zofia Sajdek, editor, social activist

Filip Konopczyński, lawyer, Kalecki Foundation

Jan Zygmuntowski, economist, chairman at Instrat Foundation

Adam Ostolski, sociologist, journalist, translator, University of Warsaw

Signatories

Olga Tokarczuk, Polish writer, Nobel Prize Winner in Literature for 2019 

Luigino Bruni, economist, Scientific Director of Economy of Francesco Papal Program 

Aleksander Kwaśniewski, former President of Poland

Jan Zielonka, political scientist, Professor of Oxford University

Agnieszka Holland, director and screenwriter 

Ladislau Dowbor, chief economic advisor to former President of Brasil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

Carlo Ginzburg, Italian historian 

Ulrike Guerot, German political thinker and founder and director of the European Democracy Lab 

Alessandra Smerilli, State Councilor of Vatican City

Fernando Savater, Spanish philosopher, essayist

Mieke Bal, Dutch artist, cultural theorist

Rocco Buttiglione, Italian Union of Christian and Centre Democrats politician and an academic

Dorota Gardias, president of Forum Związków Zawodowych, one of three major Polish trade unions

Aleksander Smolar, Polish political adviser, president of the Stefan Batory Foundation

Stefano Zamagni, president of Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences

Vera Zamagni, professor of economic history, University of Bologna

Agnieszka Dziemianowicz-Bąk, Polish politician and MP

Krzysztof Pomian, Polish philosopher, historian and essayist

John Milbank, English Anglican theologian

Reinhard Bütikofer, one of the Co-Chairs of EGP, and MEP for the German Green party Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen. Chair of the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with China.

Małgorzata Omilanowska, former Minister of Culture and National Heritage in Polish government

Michał Boni, Polish politician, former Minister of Digitalisation 

Michał Kołodziejczak, Polish agrarian activist, president of Agrounia movement. 

Robert Biedroń, Polish politician, group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament

Claus Offe, German political sociologist, Political Sociology at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. 

Stefano Quintarelli, member of the: Leadership Council of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations and High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence of the European Commission

Tomaso Montanari, art historian and opinion maker, professor of University of Siena

Claus Leggewie, German professor of Political Science and director of the Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut (KWI) in Essen

Kira Peter-Hansen, Danish politician, Socialist People's Party Member of the European Parliament 

Gianfranco Poggi, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Virginia and European University Institute

Lluís Torrens Mèlich, Director of Social Innovacion of Barcelona City Council, member of Basic Income Network / Red Renta Básica

Andrzej Leder, Polish philosopher, professor in Polish Academy od Sciences

Sergi Raventós, sociologist and social worker, member of Basic Income Network / Red Renta Básica

Andrzej Nowak, Polish historian

Adrian Zandberg, Polish politician an MP, member of the Board of the Razem party

Jan Śpiewak, Polish social activist and politician

Tomasz Terlikowski, Polish journalist

Bogdan Zdrojewski, Polish politician, the Mayor of Wrocław, former Minister of Culture and National Heritage, 

Paweł Szypulski, Program Director of Greenpeace Poland

Gérard Rabinovitch, French philosopher and sociologist. Researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), member of the Center for Research on Sense, Ethic, Society (CERSES)

Dominik Zgódka, Program Director of Greenpeace Poland

Jutta Paulus, German pharmacist and politician, MEP for Alliance 90/The Greens 

Monika Vana, Austrian politician of The Greens-The Green Alternative, part of the European Green Party,  MEP

Benoît Biteau, French politician, Member of the European Parliament, Group of the Greens, European Free Alliance

Katarzyna Batko-Tołuć, Vice President and Program Director of the Civic Network Watchdog Poland

Marta Petrusewicz, Professor of Economic History, City University of New York, teaches modern history on Università della Calabria.

Damien Carême, French politician, MEP serving on the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs

David Cormand, French politician, MEP

Mounir Satouri, French politician, MEP for Group of the Greens, European Free Alliance

Tilly Metz,  Luxembourgish teacher and politician, Member of the European Parliament, Group of the Greens, European Free Alliance

Mareike Dittmer, director of The Art Stations Foundations CH, Museum Susch

Monika Kostera, Polish economist, professor of management and organization theoretist

Piotr Graczyk, Polish philosopher

Kacper Pobłocki, Polish social anthropologist

Przemysław Czapliński, Polish historian of literature, essayist, literary critic

Andrzej Friszke, Polish historian

Ryszard Nycz, Polish historian of literature

Maciej Szlinder, President of the Polish Basic Income Network

Anda Rottenberg, Polish art historian, art critic, writer, former director of the Zachęta National Gallery of Art in Warsaw and member of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA).

Karol Tarnowski, Professor of humanities, phenomenologist, 

Adam Leszczyński, historian, sociologist, journalist and publicist, member of the Krytyka Polityczna team and co-founder of OKO.press

Marcin Wicha, graphic artist, draftsman (creator of satirical drawings), columnist, author of books for adults and children

Adam Chmielewski, professor of humanities, philosopher of science and politics, editor-in-chief of the magazine "Studia Philosophica Wratislaviensia", head of the Wrocław office for the European Capital of Culture

Emanuele Ferragina, sociologist, interested in exclusion from the labor market

Aleksandra Przegalińska, Polish philosopher, futurologist, publicist

Remigiusz Okraska, Polish sociologist, social activist, publicist of ecological and socio-political press

Sławomir Sierakowski, the head of Krytyka Polityczna (Political Critique, a movement of left-wing intellectuals, artists and activists), director of Institute for Advanced Study in Warsaw

Dariusz Stola, professor of history at the Institute of Political Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences

Przemysław Sadura, sociologist and publicist, academic teacher at The University of Warsaw

Sławomir Wittkowicz, member of the Presidium of The Trade Union Forum (leader of the Science, Education and Culture)

Michał Łuczewski, Polish sociologist specializing in sociology of the nation and memory, assistant professor at the Institute of Sociology at the University of Warsaw

Rafał Woś, Polish publicist and economic journalist

Bartosz Bartosik, member of the editorial board of "Więź", secretary of the think tank Laboratorium  Więź" and member of the Social Dialogue Committee Team at the Polish National Chamber of Commerce

Anna Dziewit Meller, writer, columnist and journalist

Zygmunt Miłoszewski, award-winning Polish writer, previously a journalist and editor for the Polish edition of Newsweek, an author of novels, features and short stories

Marta Miłoszewska, Polish director, academic teacher, social activist

Miłosława Stępień, member of The Polish Green Party

Agata Urbanik, facilitator, trainer and social researcher, one of the founders of the Pole Dialogu Foundation

Dariusz Piórkowski SJ, publicist, pastor, spiritual director

Jędrzej Malko, journalist, researcher of the history of economic discourses, analyst at the Kalecki Foundation

Weronika Paszewska, co-founder and director of AkcjaDemokracja, trainer, psychologist, activist

Joanna Kos-Krauze, Polish film director and screenwriter

Krystyna Zachwatowicz-Wajda, Polish scenographer, costume designer and actress, member of the Polish Film Academy, co-founder (with A. Wajda) of Centre of Japanese Art and Technology "Manggha" in Kraków

Henryk Wujec, Polish politician, physicist, opposition activist in the times of the Polish People's Republic

Mateusz Wojcieszak, member of the board at Fundacja Pole Dialogu

Jacek Kucharczyk, President of the Institute of Public Affairs, author of books, articles, reports and policy papers on democracy, good governance, and European integration

Łukasz Domagała, Chairman of National Federation of Polish NGOs, president  of board of Fundacja dla Polski

Michał Pałasz, Academic Teacher at the Jagiellonian University, Arts, Culture & Social Media Manager, and Social Activist

Andrzej Mencwel, Polish literary historian and critic of Polish literature and culture, cultural anthropologist, essayist, publicist, professor of humanities

Bogdan de Barbaro, Polish psychiatrist and therapist, professor of medical sciences, professor at the Jagiellonian University

Bartosz Rydliński, PhD of political science, co-founder of DaszynskiCentre, assistant professor at The Institute of Political Science of Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University

Jean-Yves Potel ,French historian, political scientist, writer, university teacher, diplomat, a specialist in the political history of Central Europe, especially Poland

Jarema Piekutowski,  Polish sociologist, journalist, commentator (“Więź”, “Tygodnik Powszechny”), lead expert on social issues in “Nowa Konfederacja” Thinkzine, collaborator of Fundacja Pole Dialogu and Social Challenges Unit of University of Warsaw

Jean-François Chanlat, affiliated professor of management at HEC Universite de Montreal, sociologist of organizations

Mateusz Bednarkiewicz, film and theatre artist, director and screenwriter

Paweł Krupa OP, PhD in theology, historian of ideas, medievalist, preacher, writer

Marek Naczyk, Professor of Comparative Social Policy, Oxford University

Jurgen De Wispelaere, political theorist and policy scholar, University of Bath

Evamaria Langer-Dombrady - Feltétel Nélküli Alapjövedelem (Hungarian Basic Income Association)

Paola Guglielmotti, Professor of Medieval History, University of Genova

Luca Meldolesi, Italian economist, professor of Economics and Financial Policy, University of Naples

Lina Scalisi,  Professor of Modern History, University of Catania

Marcelina Zawisza, Polish social activist and politician

Maria Teresa Iannelli, Director of National Archaeological Museum "Vito Capialbi", Director of the Monasterace Archeological Museum, Councilor for Culture and to the Cultural Heritage of the Municipality of Locri.

Battista Sangineto, Italian archaeologist, educator

Tomasz Karoń, Polish political strategist 

Tamar Pitch, Professor of Legal Philosophy and Sociology of Law, University of Perugia

Paulina Matysiak, Polish political activist

Romano Luperini, Italian literary critic, writer and politician. 

Claudia Stancatti, Professor of Philosophy of Language, University of Calabria 

Paul Corner, Professor of European History, University of Siena

Piero Bevilacqua, Italian historian, writer and essayist 

Lucyna Gebert, Professor, Department of European, American, and Intercultural Studies, Sapienza University of Rome 

Maria Adele Teti, Italian professor of urban planning, Mediterranea University of Regio Calabria

Giuseppe Buondonno, regional secretary of The Italian Left (Sinistra Italiana)

Massimo Veltri, Italian politician 

Salvatore Oriente

Renate Siebert, sociologist, University of Calabria

Rudi Assuntino, Italian musicologist, singer, songwriter, tv director and script writer

Salvatore  Adorno, Italian professor of contemporary history, University of Catania

Wojciech Kubalewski, Polish politician, IT specialist and entrepreneur, co-chairman of The Polish Green Party

Marek Kossakowski, Polish journalist and politician, democratic opposition activist in the People's Republic of Poland, one of the two presidents of The Polish Green Party (2016–2020) 

Ida Dominjanni, Italian philosopher, political theorist, essayist and journalist, Genoa School of Humanities

Lucina Speciale, historian, University of Salento

Marie Toussaint, French jurist, social activist and politician, Member of the European Parliament, Group of the Greens, European Free Alliance

Salima Yenbou, French school administration, teacher and politician,MEP, Group of the Greens, European Free Alliance

Tonino Perna, Italian economist and sociologist, professor of Economic Sociology at the University of Messina

Michał Rusinek, Polish literature theorist, Jagiellonian University

Dorota Kozicka, Polish historian and literature theorist,  Jagiellonian University

Tomasz Majewski, president Polish Cultural Studies Association, Jagiellonian University

Oxana Pachlovska, researcher, European, American and International Studies, Sapienza University of Rome 

Eva Catizone, Italian politician

Filippo Veltri, Italian journalist

Tomasz Anisko, Polish politician, landscape architect and university teacher,

Hanna Gil-Piątek, Polish politician and urban activist 

Nicoletta Stame, sociologist, Sapienza University of Rome 

Enzo Scandurra, cultural anthropologist, environmental scientist, Sapienza University of Rome 

Luziana Polliotti, journalist, cultural historian

Alfonso Gianni, Italian politician

Giulia Mafai, costumography designer

Alberto Ziparo, urban studies, University of Florence

Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield, French politician Europe Ecologie Les Verts, MEP

Karima Delli, French politician and MOP Parliament elected in the 2009 European election, 2014 European elections and in the 2019 European elections for the Île-de-France constituency. 

Maria Rosaria Stabili, political scientist, Roma TRE University

Maria Luisa Boccia, Italian politician, writer

Laura Guidi, gender historian, University of Naples

Carmelo Caravella, historian of labor

Chiara Giunti, educational technology, University of Florence

Vittorio Cappelli, historian, University of Calabria

Daria Gosek-Popiołek, Polish social activist and MP 

Anna Foa, historian, Sapienza University of Rome 

Amalia Collisani, philosopher of music, University of Palermo

Ignacy Dudkiewicz, philosopher, bioethicist, publicist and journalist, member of board of Warsaw’s chapter of Club of Catholic Intelligentsia, editor in chief of “Magazyn Kontakt” 

Leszek Koczanowicz, Professor of Philosophy and Political Science, SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities

Krzysztof Podemski, Polish sociologist, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań

Piotr Trzaskowski, activist, political scientist

Claude Gruffat, French entrepreneur and politician, MEP Group of the Greens, European Free Alliance

Yannick Jadot, French environmentalist and Member of the European Parliament elected in the 2009 European election for the West France constituency. Jadot co-ordinated Greenpeace actions in France between 2002 and 2008.

Andrzej Gniazdowski, Polish philosopher, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences

Ryszard Szarfenberg, Polish politologist, Professor of University of Warsaw,  Institute of Social Policy

Małgorzata Kowalska, professor of humanities, philosopher, translator

Zbigniew Mikołejko, professor of humanities, philosopher and religion historian, essayist

Marcin Miłkowski, analytical philosopher

Anna Cieplak, culture animator, urban activist, writer, winner of Conrad Award

Grzegorz Uzdański, philosopher, writer, poet

Jakub Majmurek, film critic, publicist

Marta Dziewańska, curator, Museum of Fine Arts Bern

Aleksandra Andrzejewska, activist, “Rozkwit” Association

Franciszek Sterczewski, MP in the Sejm of the 9th term, urban activist

Tomasz Stawiszyński, philosopher, publicist, essayist, editor of Radio TOK FM

Mikołaj Grynberg, photographer, writer, reporter

Lucinia Speciale, History of Medieval Art Professor, University of Salento

Magdalena Kicińska, journalist, writer, poet

Elżbieta Korolczuk, sociologist, cultural expert, activist for women's rights

Bolesław Rok, CSR expert

Mikołaj Trzaska, saxophonist, bass clarinetist, film music composer

Wiesław Łukaszewski, professor of humanities, psychologist

Miguel Pina e Cunha,  professor of organization studies

Katrin Langensiepen, German politician, Member of the European Parliament, Group of the Greens, European Free Alliance

Tineke Strik, Dutch civil servant, academic teacher and politician, Member of the European Parliament, Group of the Greens, European Free Alliance

Alexia Panayiotou, scientist, specialist in management and organization studies

Marianna Fotaki, Professor of Business Ethics

Michał Sutowski, political scientist, publicist, translator

Maciej Wereszczyński, climate activist

Zoi Michailova, performer artist and DJ

Olga Stefan, Independent researcher and curator based in Zurich

Mihai Burcea, doctor of history, Historic Advisory Center, Romania

Yegór Osipov-Gipsh, Ducth journalist and researcher

Paul Zawadzki, anthropologist, political scientist, L’École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris Sciences et Lettres University

Emanuele Trevi, writer

Anita Prażmowska, Professor of International History, The London School of Economics and Political Science

Prof. Mohinder Singh, Jawaharlal Nehru University, social scientist

Jan Toporowski, Professor of Economics and Finance, SOAS University of London

Ferdinando Laghi, Specialist in Internal Medicine and Hematology, President of the International Society of Doctors for the Environment (ISDE)

* Signatories support the letter as individual citizens, not as representatives of institutions

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