TUC letter to President Barroso
14 November 2012
As part of the TUC's contribution to the ETUC Day of Action against austerity, for jobs and growth on 14 November 2012, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber has written an open letter to the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso. In it, he calls for the Commission 'to take note of the mounting opposition to austerity across Europe and change course urgently.'
The letter, which is being handed in at Europe House, the EU representation in London, by Brendan and this year's TUC President Lesley Mercer from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, argues that 'workers and citizens are paying the price for a crisis they did not cause, in unemployment - especially for young people; falling wages and living standards; and cuts in public services.'
It ends with a call for 'you and your colleagues, and the governments who appointed you, to change course now and join with us to build a future that works.'
The full text of the letter follows:
Dear President Barroso
As part of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and the voice of Britain at work, the TUC urges you and your fellow Commissioners to take note of the mounting opposition to austerity across Europe and change course urgently.
The European Union is treaty-bound to 'work for the sustainable development of Europe based on balanced economic growth and price stability, a highly competitive social market economy, aiming at full employment and social progress, and a high level of protection and improvement of the quality of the environment.'
Yet the austerity measures that the European Commission, the IMF and the European Central Bank are imposing on some countries and advocating for others are dragging the whole of Europe into economic stagnation, if not recession, as well as being used to justify the dismantling of the European social model. These measures, far from re-establishing confidence in the financial markets, only serve to worsen imbalances and foster injustice. Workers and citizens are paying the price for a crisis they did not cause, in unemployment - especially for young people; falling wages and living standards; and cuts in public services.
So-called 'fiscal consolidation' has had a sharper effect than originally estimated by the Commission and the IMF. Indeed the IMF now admits that they grossly miscalculated the impact austerity measures have on growth. This miscalculation has a disastrous impact on the daily life of workers and citizens across Europe, but especially in Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain, and throws into question the whole basis of the austerity policies advanced by the Fiscal Treaty and imposed by the Troika. Social dialogue and collective bargaining are central to the European Social Model, but are under sustained attack at national and European level.
Recession can only be stopped if budgetary constraints are loosened and imbalances eliminated, with a view to achieving sustainable economic growth and social cohesion, and respecting the values enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights.
I enclose a copy of the ETUC social compact for Europe which the TUC thoroughly supports. Solidarity, social progress and democratic accountability must be an integral part of the European project. We demand a social progress protocol be included as an integral and operative part of any new treaty, but in the short term we urge you and your colleagues, and the governments who appointed you to change course now and join with us to build a future that works.
Briefing document (700 words) issued 13 Nov 2012
This page http://www.tuc.org.uk/international/tuc-21646-f0.cfm
printed 19 June 2013 at 20:56 hrs by 18.104.22.168