19th annual General Assembly
of the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (I.A.O.)
Prague, 26 – 29 June 2012
“Challenges for democracy during periods of global economic crisis”
Resolution – Conclusions
This was the third consecutive year that the General Assembly has discussed thoroughly and in depth the problems of the economic crisis and trade globalization.
Moreover, the views expressed at the previous assemblies and the respective remarks on the Subject have been confirmed during this year’s General Assembly. In periods of major social and economic crises, democratic institutions, the manifestations and quintessence of democracy, are exposed to dangers and threats in the name of necessary and effective solutions, actually in the name of vindication of democracy. Spurious dilemmas, pressing deadlines, international commitments, necessary alliances and mutual concessions, constitute the usual context that imposes the eventually required and “temporary” shrinkage of democratic institutions.
This predominant view of our era, being expressed in the name of the markets and the anticipated economic prosperity, deprives Democracy and its institutions of the indispensable oxygen and inevitably forces society into concessions and betrayals of democratic principles which the mankind has conquered in the course of history with respective sacrifices, and which constitute the constants of parliamentarism and participative governance.
In the name of overcoming the crisis, any fiscal adjustment may be considered as necessary and any economic sacrifice of workers may appear as indispensable. However, democratic institutions must not be compromised; on the contrary, they need to become stronger and more essential, thus securing the function of Democracy.
It is certain that economic and social crises can be managed through stronger and more direct democracy, by enhancing democratic institutions, defending the citizens’ rights and peoples’ democratic conquests, and by fully informing people and workers, who are actually the main victims of such crises.
The I.A.O. General Assembly wishes to point out the following:
– The political world must safeguard the prestige of democracy and institutions, by primarily defending the irrevocable democratic right of the mandated democratically elected State bodies to make any type of political decisions, based on the collective interest and not the interest of the markets. All sorts of economic activity, certainly of outmost importance for peoples’ growth and prosperity, need to be conducted strictly
within the limits set out by the law, the moral economy tradition and, in general, the long-established unwritten rules on market law. The markets’ demands and ongoing attempts to exercise political power in any manner, by overstepping or infringing the laws, have resulted in the current economic crisis with the consequences we all know and experience.
– The political world has to clearly assume before the people across the world its own share of responsibility for its inability to stop market fundamentalism and unrestrained capitalism that resulted in the economic collapse. The most powerful and unprecedented forms of private power that have been created away from any social and democratic control, actually revoke people’s sovereignty by undermining its democratic foundations and deconstruct the core of modern democracy, i.e. the essential role of people’s involvement in state-decision making. The political world must immediately undertake the task of defending autonomy of politics and protecting political democracy, as well as of restoring the reliability and prestige of representative institutions, so as for the “parliament” to come back to the center of political life. The primary concern of the political world should be that of drastically limiting those “privileges” of the MPs that are not directly related to the decent and effective response to their office, and bringing the funding of political parties –which are critical constitutional institutions- under draconian measures of transparency and substantial control.
– The major intention now is to enhance the political autonomy and democratic function principles of the European Union, as the EU is the only entity having at its disposal the mechanisms that will allow it to provide an organized response against the invasion of unrestrained capitalism, by shaping powerful supra-national institutions of democratic and social control of the markets.
– The sole democratically legitimized response to the crisis of institutions and democracy requires the participative enrichment of the representative system and the empowerment and mobilization of civil society. This means direct involvement of people in the making of critical political decisions through referendums, by utilizing modern technology, as well as the guaranteed system of electronic voting, through various popular legislative initiatives, with a specific number of signatures, or by recognizing the legislative initiative of certain bodies with strong democratic legitimacy, such as the central agencies of the 1st and 2nd Degree Local Authorities.
Finally, we, Orthodox Christian Members of Parliament participating in the 19th annual General Assembly of I.A.O., feel the need to state once again our position, according to which the ordinary man and citizen is the foundation of Democracy and not the great victim of the economic crisis and impairment of democratic institutions. As heirs of this tradition and as citizens of the region where Democracy was born and developed, we shall actively contribute to seeking new forms of democratic decision-making that will introduce to the already deeply diminished, forged, misused and mystified model of western democracy new contents, new spirit and new energy that will bring it closer to its original meaning and that will retrieve the long lost belief in its effectiveness.