EU Competitiveness Summit: Europe's Trade Unions say no to austerity governance

Brussels, 10/03/2011

The ETUC is strongly opposed to the way the concept of EU economic governance is being developed and to the current proposals on the so-called “Competitiveness Pact”. European trade union movement finds it totally unfair that working people are paying for the follies of financial markets. The current proposals are to exert downward pressure on wages, to interfere in collective bargaining and the autonomy of the social partners. If this approach is confirmed, the whole concept of social Europe is being placed in increasing jeopardy.

On the contrary, Europe needs growth and employment, and a more imaginative approach to competitiveness. In this context, the European trade unions asked for European Council’s support for financial transaction taxes, for Eurobonds, and for a European wide plan for youth unemployment, the group hardest hit by the crisis. Skills training and a new approach to investment in industry and in sustainable development are also crucial to the EU’s future.

“The Competitiveness Pact, with its strict wage comparisons, will force member states to enter into the downwards spiral of undercutting each others’ wages and working conditions. This situation will push the economy into the trap of deflation and depression. Meanwhile, profits, bonuses and dividends will be soaring” said John Monks, ETUC General Secretary. “Attacking collective bargaining is a dead end for Europe. It is an illusion to think that the single currency can be saved by austerity governance. The ‘Competitiveness Pact’ that is proposed will increase inequalities and unbalance the Euro Area even more” he added.

- ETUC letter