Spending reductions forced on 14 member states in 2024 equivalent to losing enough to fund 1 million nurses or teachers
The amount of money countries will be forced to cut from national budgets next year to meet new EU austerity rules would pay for over 1 million nurses or 1.5 million teachers, new research by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) has found.
Under the European Commission’s proposal for new economic rules, EU member states with a deficit above 3% of GDP will have to reduce their budget deficit by a minimum of 0.5% of GDP.
This means that 14 EU member states will have to cut their spending by a minimum of €45 billion next year, or raise the equivalent amount through tax.
To highlight the consequences of this return to austerity, the ETUC has calculated the number the number of nurses and teachers that could be funded if countries weren’t forced to cut spending. The cuts could just as easily fall on other essential health, education and public service workers.
|Budget deficit||Minimum annual cut required (Euro)||Number of nurses which could be funded||Number of teachers which could be funded|
|Spain||4.1%||6,6 billion||166,254||Not available|
*Cuts also required in Bulgaria (423m), Malta (84m) and Romania (1.4bn). No data available on salaries of nurses and teachers.
The findings come as the ETUC today launches a campaign to “stop austerity 2.0,” including a petition that aims to put pressure on national governments to change the Commission’s proposal.
At its four-yearly Congress in Berlin, the ETUC will call for reforms which ensure the economy works for people and the planet. It is demanding:
- A ‘golden rule for public investment’ to exclude at least investment in the green and digital transitions, which is needed to meet the EU’s own targets, are excluded from deficit rules.
- The maintenance of successful EU solidarity mechanisms introduced during the pandemic, such as the Recovery and Resilience Facility, which it says should be made permanent to ensure a level-playing field in investment.
- A ban on public funding for companies that dodge their taxes as part of a fair corporate tax regime which can fund a minimum level of public investment in national budgets.
Speaking in Berlin, ETUC General Secretary Esther Lynch will say:
“A return to austerity next year would mean more poverty, fewer jobs, lower wages and underfunded public services, affecting people’s access to healthcare and education.
“It would mean the majority of member states would have to make cuts at the very time the EU are asking them to increase investment in the fight against climate change.
“And it would be a gift to the far-right on the eve of the European elections.
“A reform of the EU’s economic rules is long overdue but it must be one that shows the EU has learned from past failures and the successes since the Stability and Growth Pact was suspended in 2019.
“Today, I’m calling on people across Europe to put pressure on their governments to oppose austerity 2.0 and support economic rules which put the interests of people and planet first.”
The ETUC’s calculations were made using latest OECD figures on the salaries of nurses and teachers: [Teachers' and school heads' statutory salaries (oecd.org);
Health Care Resources : Remuneration of health professionals (oecd.org)
GDP and deficit figures from European Commission. Deficit is expected figure for 2023.
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