Statement on the breach of the US Capitol building

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The images of the riot at the United States Congress and of people infiltrating the Capitol Building are shocking, deplorable and a warning sign for all.  The Workers' Group of the European Economic and Social Committee strongly condemns these events and declares its confidence in the democratic institutions of the United States.  All measures must be taken to ensure the peaceful and swift transfer of power to the rightfully elected President of the United States.

“The seriousness of what has happened cannot be overstated”, says Workers´ Group President Oliver Röpke. “This insurrection, which some have referred to as an attempted coup, is one of the greatest assaults on US democracy since the Civil War. It is even more disturbing as the actions of the incumbent President clearly incited people to behave in such a way.  However, this shocking incident was not a spontaneous or singular event. The path leading to this has been prepared over the past 4 years and it is apparent today where the spread of hatred and the disregard for fundamental democratic, ethical and moral values lead.”

That is why we must counter attacks on fundamental human, democratic and social rights, including the freedom of the press, and on the rule of law at the first sign. We must curtail any attempts to undermine the democratic structure of our societies.

The incredible scenes in Washington must also serve as a warning signal for Europe that we are also facing the increasing division and polarisation of our society and the rise in exclusion of certain social groups. This is an ideal breeding ground for unscrupulous populists and must be combated with determination.

The struggle for democratic values is inextricably linked with the struggle for social rights. With this in mind, the Workers´ Group declares its full solidarity with the democratic US civil society, especially with our brothers and sisters at the AFL-CIO trade union movement.  Defending and promoting the respect of democracy, of social rights, of lawfulness and of respect for each other: this remains the joint effort and endeavour of the labour movements in the US, in Europe and across the world.

Brussels, 7 January 2021