Social and growth pact
Thursday 22 March 2012
Trade unionists from nine EU member states called for a social and growth pact, denouncing the austerity policy being implemented to resolve the debt crisis, at a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel, on 22 March in Berlin.
“The European budget discipline treaty is not going to solve the problems. It is going to accentuate them. It is high time Europe changed its policy. Europe urgently needs a social rescue fund,” declared Michael Sommer, head of the German trade union confederation (DGB). “We need a social and growth pact,” added Sommer, who was accompanied by trade union leaders from Belgium, Spain, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Czech Republic and Sweden.
Merkel said in a statement that “it is in the German government’s interest to strengthen growth and employment in Europe on a lasting basis. The key to doing so is to combine a solid financial policy, stronger competitiveness and solidarity,” she added.
On 29 February, the eve of the EU summit at which 25 countries signed the budget pact, trade unions mobilised across the EU on the initiative of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) to protest against austerity. The unions plan to continue their anti-austerity action with a meeting in Madrid, on 28 March.