“Long talks cost lives and jobs” - EU leaders must fast track help for over 40 million new unemployed

ETUC General Secretary Luca Visentini at the European Social Summit

Photo: European Council

The ETUC is urging EU leaders meeting tomorrow to agree and implement without delay or conditions proposals to help workers, companies and public services hit by the coronavirus crisis

The European Council will consider on Thursday a 540bn support package that includes the SURE job and income protection scheme, and how to fund the economic recovery. 

With over 40 million workers now temporarily or permanently in unemployment since the crisis began, there can be no repeat of the days-long wrangling between member states’ finance ministers witnessed at the Eurogroup earlier this month.

The ETUC insists also that the 100bn Euro allocated to SURE is ringfenced for employment support (not healthcare which is the purpose of ESM funding), is implemented in social dialogue with trade unions, covers not only the crisis period but also the recovery, and it is universally accessible by all workers and companies in all EU countries.  

It also calls for employers and trade unions to be fully involved at all levels in the lifting of containment measures and for this to be started with the implementation of the ‘Communication on a European Roadmap towards lifting COVID-19 containment measures’.

An extraordinary Recovery Plan is needed, increasing the MFF to 2% of the EU GDP and so providing at least 1 trillion euros direct financing for a fair and green economic recovery across Europe after this crisis. The necessary resources have to be raised through European green and digital taxes and urgently agreed common bonds to be guaranteed by the EU.

Speaking ahead of the European Council, ETUC General Secretary Luca Visentini said:

With millions of jobs being lost every week and public services increasingly under strain, EU leaders have a responsibility to get support to the frontline as soon as possible - long talks cost lives and jobs.

“Laid off workers, struggling companies and stretched health services need to start receiving the emergency cash now to cope with these unprecedented circumstances.

“As Angela Merkel has said, this pandemic is not the fault of any member state. So solidarity cannot come with conditions that would make the hardest hit countries pay twice through austerity.

“We need all member states to act in the common interest, provide the necessary guarantees for SURE and increase the MFF to 2% of GDP to finance a fair and green economic recovery across Europe after this crisis.

“An extraordinary Recovery Plan is needed, providing at least 1 trillion euros direct financing to countries, workers and companies in need, to be raised through urgently agreed common bonds to be guaranteed by the EU.”

22.04.2020
Press release