Treaty change: Unions have their say
By Sophie Petitjean | Thursday 08 December 2011
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) does not support an amendment of the Lisbon Treaty but faced with the pressure from the Franco-German camp, it accepts that that may happen and insists on being heard in the process if any decision to modify the treaty is taken. This is the substance of a message adopted by the ETUC Executive Committee, on 7 December. “It is the future of citizens, and not the opinion of rating agencies, to which your concerns must be directed […] Treaty change must follow a fully democratic process. In no event can it be disguised into a technical exercise,” warned the confederation, demanding that a “social progress protocol” be attached to the revised treaty. The ETUC then invited the Danish authorities, who will assume the Presidency of the EU Council on 1 January 2012, to meet with the trade unions in early January to discuss the concerns and proposals expressed by them.
On 5 December, the ETUC sent an open letter to the heads of state and government and to the Presidents of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, and of the Commission, José Manuel Barroso, outlining their views. In the letter, the ETUC reaffirmed that it does not believe in current circumstances that changing the treaty is an immediate priority but that “constructive solutions to meet the existential threat the Union faces can and should be found within the current texts”. Instead, the solution for ETUC lies in far-reaching action by the European Central Bank, mutual support in the form of eurobonds, a financial transaction tax, fair taxation, concerted action on tax evasion and tax fraud, together with the abolition of tax havens.