A crucial moment for Europe
(28 October 2011) Yesterday Wednesday 27 October, Brussels hosted the much talked about European Summit and expectations were high. Europe is risking its future and reputation. We feel that citizens are becoming more and more skeptical about Europe as cuts in wages, social spending and trade union freedoms are hitting the population causing indignation, strikes and protests! The Summit should be an opportunity for change, for setting a clear agenda to find a common way out of the crisis, not just following the "austerity only diktat". In any case, we will campaign for jobs and growth and to take Europe out of its current blind-alley. So far news are not very hopeful and we will monitor the outcome of it!
Saving the banking system three years ago did lead us to an even bigger debt crisis as public money was used to save private interests and to keep up financial flows. But without a thorough restructuring of the financial sector and without initiatives such as the Financial Transaction Tax we are back to business as usual.
Europe needs to invest in quality jobs, social welfare and sustainable development. But the debt crisis is not the only issue at stake.
We have launched consultation of our members to get a mandate on opening the negotiation of the working time directive. We maintain that regulating working time is a major health and safety issue. Cutting down the long working hours culture is crucial for workers’ wellbeing and to protect the safety of 3rd persons. With unemployment rising high, working hours should be reduced and not increased. Many employers and governments do not share this view. We will have to do our outmost to create decent jobs and a safe and healthy work environment.
Finally, EPSU organized its Health Conference on 18 – 19 October in Bucharest. It was a success with about 100 participants. A moment to take stock of the effects of the crisis for health workers and European citizens and to discuss subjects, such as patient’s mobility, migration, professional qualifications and social dialogue.
In a few days we will have our Executive Committee where we will discuss and decide what actions to take to mobilise across Europe to start changing the “austerity-only agenda”.
Please pass the word!