Last night’s agreement on the future of the EU reached by EU heads of state for a new “fiscal compact for Europe”, is a charter for speculators, according to Bernard Thibault, general secretary of France’s CGT trade union confederation.
“This is an agreement for more social austerity in Europe in response to the demands of the financial markets and speculators,” he said.
“When you suspend collective agreements, you endlessly raise the retirement age, you increase precariousness at work and social exclusion, will citizens continue to support to Europe?”
The agreement by heads of state that was reached last night is to be signed up to by every government apart from Britain, Hungary and perhaps two other countries, the Czech Republic and Sweden, which will not commit themselves until they have consulted their parliaments.
Opposition from UK pm David Cameron meant German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy could not get the agreement among all 27 members of the EU they had been looking for.
The new rules are intended to come into force next spring.
In what represents a deepening of existing Maastricht criteria/Stability Pact budgetary limits, there will be “balanced budget rules” and “sanctions” for countries that break them.
Effectively this means outlawing expansionary fiscal policies, creating the conditions for a new wave of public services to be sold off to privateers and ensuring “adjustments” will be made purely through cuts to jobs, wages, working conditions and living standards.
Permanent austerity appears to be the future awaiting the majority on the Continent.
Meanwhile, speculators in the financial markets and banks who created this crisis and who are now being bailed out by governments (that is, the people) for the second time in three years continue their free and very comfortable ride.
Millions of trade unionists in the CGT in France and elsewhere in Europe will be at forefront of action to try and stop this happening.