UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Austerity Economics and the EU’s Fiscal Compact are indivisible

How should trade unionists respond to Tory in-fighting on the European Union (EU), in particular demands of the Tory right for a referendum? The TUC’s Owen Tudor writing on the Stronger Unions blog suggests that the focus of the debate should be switched from the EU to pinning the ‘blame for the economic woes facing families and communities – higher prices, lower or stagnant wages, rapidly worsening public services – on austerity economics, growing inequality and a tax system based on one rule for us and no rules for the rich’

Yet, the European Commission, as a member of the Troika (along with the European Central bank and the IMF) is a driving force for imposing austerity, and the EU’s Fiscal Compact (signed by all member states except the UK and Czech Republic) has been denounced by the ETUC as pressing on ‘down the path of permanent automatic austerity’

It is that reality that trade unions must inject into the European debate. Not wishful thinking about an (aspirational) Social Compact but highlighting the reality of the Fiscal Compact which imposes austerity across Europe. Yes the UK should adopt expansionary policies rather than submit to austerity economics as the Con Dems have done since 2010 but let's not kid ourselves that the EU as currently constituted presents a progressive alternative