The chairman of Germany’s DGB trade union central Michael Sommer, and his counterparts from Spain’s Workers’ Commissions (CCOO) and UGT, Candido Mendez and Ignacio Fernandez Toxo, gathered in Madrid Thursday, as Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel paid a visit to the country, and issued a joint statement:
1. The austerity measures and ultraliberal structural reforms, imposed by the institutions of the European Union since May 2012, are a complete failure.
2. Such policies have not only not made progress toward the objectives for which they were allegedly taken – reducing public deficits and obtaining the confidence of the markets so that governments could be obtain funds at reasonable interest rates – but they have exacerbated these problems.
3. Simultaneously, they have produced intolerable economic and social effects. In many parts of the EU moves towards economic recovery have ended up in recession, greatly increased unemployment – particularly among the youth – poverty and inequality, and are resulting in severe cuts in social benefits and essential public services. Finally, many countries are undertaking reforms of labour markets that cut labour and trade union rights and undermine collective bargaining.
4. The economic and social crisis has led to a political crisis in the EU, through the inability of leaders to adopt fair and effective decisions and because of tardiness, contradictions and a lack of transparency and democracy in decision-making.
5. The DGB, UGT and CCOO call on the German and Spanish governments to make a change in direction of European policies in order to:
Ensure the maintenance of the euro and the financial sustainability of all EU states, with a wide range of possible measures, including those that European trade unionism support: eurobonds, ECB reforms and stabilization funds, financial reforms etc. …
Promote, from the EU, and via coordination of economic policies of Member States, urgent measures to generate economic growth and employment. It is necessary for the EU institutions to establish a new “Marshall Plan”.
6. CCOO, UGT and DGB believe that the EU has no future unless its social heritage is preserved, renovated and improved, and without the participation of the unions, the legitimate representatives of the employees, in building this future. Therefore, the unions representing workers of Germany and Spain consider it essential that they and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) participate in a thorough reform of the structures of the EU and its treaties. This reform must include the establishment of a New European Social Contract and involve a profound democratization of all institutions.
This is what Europeans expect of the politicians. People, especially the young and qualified people, need, more than ever, prospects. A Europe that forgets the youth and ignores the acquis communautaire, has no future. ”
Translation by Revolting Europe