“Deregulation is not the solution of EU unemployment" says ETUC
The European Commission’s June 2012 Quarterly Review of labour market and social conditions in the EU, published yesterday, confirms the ever deteriorating employment and social situation facing Europe’s workers and their families. This latest report, which has a special focus on South-North mobility, homelessness, material deprivation, social protection expenditure and longer-term trends and segmentation in EU labour markets, further illustrates that four years into the crisis citizens continue to bear the brunt of its fallout exacerbated by the EU’s failing economic and employment policies.
Two million more people have joined the ranks of the unemployed over the last year and the Commission itself admits that there is “little hope” of any significant improvement over the next 18 months. The key industrial sectors of manufacturing and construction suffered significant employment losses and the public sector – which provided an important cushion in the early stages of the crisis – is now experiencing serious job destruction as a majority of Member States seek to reduce their deficits by slashing public spending. In addition to the deteriorating employment situation, a damning body of evidence is accumulating about the corresponding negative impact on the quality and availability of public services.
The report also paints a very worrying picture of the worsening social situation with potential long term consequences confirming that health and social services have been particularly affected by the cuts. Shockingly in 21st century Europe, a rising number of people find themselves unable to pay their utility bills, feed themselves properly or afford a roof over their heads. Women, young people and migrants are disproportionately affected. An important aspect that is not covered however, is the widening cracks in our social fabric demonstrated for example by rising crime, increased violence and more intolerance and aggression shown towards foreigners.
Reacting to the report, Jozef Niemiec, Deputy General Secretary of the European trade union confederation (ETUC) said: “Though most unwelcome, this news is hardly surprising. As European leaders meet to discuss the fate of the euro, the increasingly desperate situation of many of their citizens should be foremost in their minds. We continue to warn against the pursuit of policies which the evidence clearly shows are destroying jobs, reducing living standards and taking us further away from the Europe 2020 targets on employment and poverty reduction. Europe needs to grow, not cut, its way out of the crisis. We need policies that will result in a sustainable economic model, which serves the interests of people not markets, and guarantees social progress and the protection of the environment. Deregulated finance and an increasingly deregulated labour market played a significant part in getting us into this mess. The Commission wants a job-rich recovery but omits a crucial factor: we need to create quality and sustainable jobs now and for the future. The ETUC will continue to push our message that there are alternative solutions to the crisis - alternatives which put people first and place the defence and promotion of the European social model at their core.”
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