Final declaration of nanterre international health conference (12 and 13 of may 2012)

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In the context of a crisis of capitalism, the health of the population has deteriorated considerably throughout Europe due to the economic, ecological and social crisis, which worsens inequality in all its forms.

The past twelve months have seen an acceleration of the crisis in Europe. A second banking crisis is beginning in Europe; austerity policies jointly conducted in all countries, and by the European Union, are about to lead to a global recession, and in Greece and in other countries to a genuine depression.

In stages, European leaders want to make austerity stronger and more irrevocable through the ratification of the Fiscal Compact and the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).

Public debt, unemployment, poverty and inequality are increasing at an alarming rate.

Austerity is said to be inevitable and debt a natural calamity - everywhere they have become the pretext for harsh attacks against public health and welfare systems and against social rights. Greece, which is the emblematic case for all of Europe, is experiencing a humanitarian and health crisis without precedent. The most affected countries are now those of Southern and Eastern Europe.

Austerity plans on health and welfare are made under pressure from multinational health corporations and private insurance systems.
These multinationals play a major role in the destruction of social rights, collective agreements and union rights (collective bargaining, freedom of union activity, working conditions ...), in reducing wages and the wage share in the GDP (made worse by the new economic surveillance, with the control of "unit labour costs") and in more precarious jobs (return to day labour, increase of temporary contracts, phoney self-employment...)

These austerity policies violate the human right to health and destroy social and health public services. They are of concern to all, and particularly affect some :

1. Women, who are a clear majority in those public services and occupy the most precarious jobs, who are the first to be laid off when hospital, nurseries, centres for women's health and reproductive rights, or structures caring for the disabled close. They are in charge of most of the "labour of social reproduction" which austerity policies massively send back to the domestic sphere.
2. Patients bearing a higher tax burden, the disabled, sacrificed to the crisis, not only excluded from work, but also often excluded from the institutions that are supposed to welcome them.
3. Migrants, undocumented people, often excluded from health and welfare systems.

Beyond the necessary national resistance in each country, these measures require concerted action by health professionals, patients, all citizens. This implies a sharing of experiences of national struggles in defence of public health and social security, the organization of practical solidarity during struggles, a reflection on the construction of international initiatives for the defence of universal, public, egalitarian and solidarity-based health.

After the conference of Nanterre (France), which took place on 12 and 13 May 2012, participants from trade unions, political parties and organisations for the defence of health and welfare, defending a public health system of high standard throughout Europe, have stated their support for :

- The building of a European space for exchange, mobilization and action against the privatization of health and welfare systems, open to all who wish to act against austerity on people's health and the decline of social rights and social protection.

- The implementation of a European alternative to the liberal project in order to defend public health and welfare as universal common goods that can no longer serve the private profits of the shareholders of health or social protection facilities. Such a programme requires the choice of equal access to health care, free health care, health democracy, public and collective funding which must be promoted.

- People's audits of the debt, especially the debt of hospitals, of social and welfare institutions with a focus on the impact of the debt for women.

- The setting up of a permanent network to exchange information on initiatives and for action against the privatization of health and social security systems and against any deductible or taxation of the sick and against any measure reducing universal access to health care.

- The organization of coordinated press conferences around this statement on June 5, 2012 and of an appeal for solidarity with the Greek people.

- The organization in each country of a European week of action for the people's right to health and against the dismantling of public health and the commodification of health from 1 to 7 October 2012.

- The representation of each country in the "European white Village" (health workers camp) in Warsaw during the week of action.

- The organization of a European Conference on October 7, 2012 in Warsaw.

- The coordination of a joint communication campaign with the same posters and a joint petition.

In the awareness that the promotion of a public health care system and of universal social protection can not be the exclusive preserve of health professionals and public health advocacy groups, and that it is of concern to the whole of society, members of the conference:

- Wish to register the specificity of this struggle within all the initiatives taken to rebuild a new European public space and to animate within it a permanent campaign in defence of the fundamental right to public and universal health services.

- Are part of the European campaign for the non-ratification of the European Fiscal Compact and the withdrawal of the European Stability Mechanism.

Nanterre May 13, 2012

Coordination des comités de défense des hôpitaux de proximité France  - SUD France -  Pologne OZZPIP - People Health’s Movement Grèce -  OENTE   Grèce USB  Italie - MATS Espagne – PCF France – Solidaires France - PPP Pologne – CNE Belgique - RSB  Allemagne - ΑΡΣΙ Grèce – LSNPUM Paris – CADTM – ΣΕΜΙΣΕΑ Grèce – CAS Espagne  - MMF  France - Lup-Loz Slovaquie – FASE France – USP France - Plate Forme Mouvements Sociaux Belgique - Femmes contre la dette Grèce - CADAC France - People before profit Irlande - Les Alternatifs France - Août 80 Pologne.

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