Conservative majorities impose austerity on Europe
PRESS RELEASE (June 24) Yesterday, the conservative dominated European Parliament voted in favour of the compromises reached with the Council regarding the 6 legislative measures on economic governance.
For the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU), this means forcing Member States into a strait-jacket that will squeeze public services, cut public spending and put pressure on the wages of nurses, teachers, police, fire-fighters, refuse collectors, tax-inspectors, child and elderly care workers and many other public service workers. Workers, who did not cause the crisis, are targeted by these measures.
The European Commission has obtained more powers to intervene in Member States’ policies and in a one-sided direction: reduce public deficit and public debt. The legislative package combined with the Annual Growth Survey and the Recommendations of the Commission on the national reform plans demonstrate a bias against public services. The package and the implied economic policies that will have to be applied, are an attempt by the current political majorities in Europe to impose their vision of rolling back the welfare state and enshrining that in legislative texts.
And while the financial and economic crisis has demonstrated that the European Union is definitely in need of economic governance, the current policies fail to boost public investment, address poverty, create jobs or address macro-economic imbalances.
“What Europe needs are positive measures, not a leash that will restrain and hold it back”, says Jan Willem Goudriaan Deputy General Secretary of the European Federation of Public Services Unions. “The economic governance measures lack a positive agenda to stimulate the European economy and use the innovative and dynamic potential of public services and public infrastructure to build Social Europe. Public service workers demand respect for the services they deliver to Europe’s businesses and citizens, the sick, elderly and the poor included. Not to see our jobs, wages and quality of services being cut to balance budgets at the end of the month”.
The legislative measures on macroeconomic imbalances should contain a reference to article 153 (5) of the Treaty. The autonomy of the social partners to bargain about wages and conclude collective agreements must be safeguarded. These measures should further ensure that there is symmetry so that excessive external surpluses are addressed and measures taken especially when these imbalances result from keeping wages down and using precarious work. Europe needs to grow out of debt. Hence a coordinated public investment strategy is required. Public investments should not be part of the deficit target.
EPSU will continue to push for a comprehensive European economic policy with clear measures to introduce Eurobonds, a financial transaction tax (FTT) at a European level as a first step to a Global FTT, fighting fraud and tax evasion and addressing the common tax base for corporate profits and minimum tax rate. We need fair taxation as set out in EPSU’s Tax Justice Charter http://www.epsu.org/a/6595
EPSU will continue to campaign until the final vote on the package will be 6th or 7th July.
For further information please contact Jan Willem Goudriaan 02 250 10 90 or Pablo Sanchez psanchez epsu.org 04 74 62 66 33