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

Friday, 4 April 2014

What path for Europe's Unions?

#NewPathDemo Today the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) is holding a demonstration in Brussels in support of a ’new path for Europe.’ Bernadette Ségol, ETUC General Secretary says that ‘Austerity is not working. Austerity has caused a mounting social and economic crisis: over 26 million Europeans are jobless, 10 million more than in 2008. This is why we demonstrate and demand a New Path for Europe, based on investments, quality jobs and equality. 

Segol’s diagnosis of the immediate problem - austerity - is indisputably correct but what is the cure, the new path, when the European Commission is at the core of the Troika imposing austerity across the EU? The think tank CLASS has provided an important service to the labour movement with the latest in its essay series setting out a range of responses to the question ‘Can the European Union deliver for working people?’

A particularly strong contribution is made by economist Jonathan Michie (author of a seminal 1993 Nalgo publication on the Maastricht Treaty - Implications for Public Services) who states that ‘it is difficult to imagine how the European Union ‘project’ might deliver for working people under the terms currently constituted by the EU, since it has historically been dominated by a rather pro-business policy agenda, operating within the straight-jacket of economic orthodoxy. This remains true today, as economic recession holds back many of the EU member states, and yet no serious anti-recession economic and industrial policies have been adopted at a European level’