Thousands march against EU’s austerity policies in Brussels

European demonstration 12 December 2023

December 12, 2023 — Workers and trade unions from 30 countries joined the ETUC in a significant demonstration against the European Union's austerity plans, marching through Brussels under the "Together Against Austerity" banner.

On the morning of the demonstration, trade union leaders from Belgium, France and Italy as well as ETUC and ETUF leadership held a press conference. EPSU General Secretary Jan Willem Goudriaan stated that the austerity policies will exacerbate existing problems, particularly in sectors such as healthcare which have long suffered from staff shortages. (Click here for the full speech)

15,000 participants took over the streets of Brussels and voiced their opposition to austerity measures which could lead to a cut of €45 billion across 14 member states.

The protest was organised ahead of a critical summit of EU leaders on December 14 and 15, where they discussed reform of the EU's economic governance rules, known as the Stability and Growth Pact.

The unions demanded an end to austerity measures and emphasised that further cuts will lead to job losses, lower wages, and diminished funding for public services.


The Stability and Growth Pact, aimed at limiting debt and deficits through budget cuts and restructuring, was temporarily suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic but is expected to be reactivated by 2024. According to the proposed rules, member states with a deficit above 3% of GDP would be mandated to reduce their budget deficit by a minimum of 0.5% of GDP annually.

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