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Home / Resources / News / Towards a European Charter of the Commons

Towards a European Charter of the Commons

Responding to the current wave of privatisations, European Alternatives together with the International University College and its Institute for the Study of Political Economy and Law together with the Municipality of Naples, and the Institut international D’etudes et recherches sur les biens communs are launching a process of forums and metings throughout Europe to draft a European Charter of the Commons.

In May/June meetings will take place in Zagreb, Cluj-Napoca, Sofia, Berlin, London, Paris, and Rome in the context of Transeuropa Festival. The conclusions from this trans-european caravan of commons will be brought to a closing transnational forum in Rome’s Teatro Valle on June 2/3, where the next steps for the European charter on the commons will be discussed and announced (info on final forum coming soon)


The dichotomy of private property and the state has proven incapable of resisting the distortions produced by more than 20 years of neoliberal order. The outcome has been a global and severe imbalance, favouring the private sector and specifically corporate interests at the expense of the people.

Massive transfers of common resources from the public to the private sphere are occurring throughout the world, with total disregard of any constitutional guarantees of the public interest, due process, and just compensation. Our democracies are increasingly being jeopardized by collusive state and market actors; government representatives that put the short term profits of individuals and corporations ahead of the interests of the common people.

From Greece to Spain, from Tunisia to Egypt, from Italy to Bolivia, Ecuador, rural India and China, the people are increasingly aware of the need for a different model of globalisation. These activists are currently engaged in acts of reclaiming commons all around the world. From those resisting the privatisation of resources (for example in Italy with the water referendum or in Romania with the attempts at health care privatisation) to the recent occupations of public spaces against neoliberalism (for example the Indignados in Spain and the people of Greece). In solidarity with these movements, we initiate a campaign for the European Charter of the Commons.

What are Commons?

Our approach to the commons is both about reclaiming access to fundamental resources as well as guaranteeing the democratic process that governs their distribution. Resources that are fundamental to human life include both natural commons such as water, food, energy and the atmosphere, as well as man made commons, like technology, health, the internet and culture. Reclaiming the commons also requires a reshaping of the democratic process as it stands today, offering an alternative to the model that has prevailed under state and market models. Governing the commons demands a shift of power from the centraliaed state and free market to local communities, placing the power to satisfy the long term needs of these communities as well as those of future generations back into the hands of community membera through bottom up, local and direct democracy.

The Draft European Charter of the Commons

Here you will find a draft of the European Charter of the Commons you can freely comment on, thanks to a special participatory software. We aim to produce an updated version of the Charter by early Summer taking into account all inputs received.