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Commission Employment Package - a job-sick effrontery


13 Jun 2012


Social Europe & Jobs

"How can anyone applaud the Commission's employment package as promoting job creation when as part of the EC/IMF/ECB Troika, the Commission is forcing countries in financial difficulty to slash public sector jobs by the hundreds of thousands?" Portuguese GUE/NGL MEP Inês Zuber asked ahead of a parliamentary debate with the Commission on a "job-rich recovery".

"Many Member States, following the recommendations on economic governance, are applying austerity policies that are creating more unemployment. Sweetened by some social rhetoric, the Commission's communication continues to promote neo-liberal structural labour market reforms and deflationary wage policies. These have aggravated the recession in most of Europe, leading to higher and persistent unemployment in many countries. How could a 'job rich recovery' come from such failed policies?"

"The Commission proposes an Action Plan on Healthcare Employment", noted German MEP Thomas Händel. "However, as part of the Troika, the Commission forced southern and eastern Member States to close down up to half of their hospital infrastructure. In its recent country-specific recommendations under the European Semester, the Commission urges some Member States to curb health care spending. All it promises in its Action Plan is exchange of good practice on forecasting, education, training etc., but no initiative for genuine job creation in health care. Instead of another "rescue umbrella" for the banks we need a "rescue umbrella" for the people - especially to safeguard health care systems." he said.

"The Commission claims it wants to combat in-work poverty and the majority of MEPs seem to be satisfied with such phraseology", French MEP Patrick Le Hyaric said. "However, in its recent country-specific recommendations to some Member States the Commission urges lower minimum wages and the abolition of existing wage indexation rules that compensate for inflation? In its communication, the Commission advocates differentiated minimum wages (by region, sector, according to local labour market conditions etc.). Wage floors should be sufficiently adjustable, the Commission insists. Such 'reforms' of minimum wage systems aim first and foremost at lowering existing minimum wages. In several of its past resolutions, Parliament had called on the Council and the Commission to set a target on the minimum level for minimum wages at 60 % of the average national (including sectoral) wage to prevent in-work poverty. We are going to test whether the Parliament still sticks to its earlier position", he said.

"The GUE/NGL group calls on the Commission and the Council to stop austerity and neo-liberal structural reforms. Europe needs a recovery through public sector led investment and wage rises, which is the only way to create jobs and economic growth that will reduce the economic dependence of the peripheral countries and, in that way, reduce public debt" Inês Zuber concluded.

GUE/NGL Press Contacts:

David Lundy +32 485 50 58 12

Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20

European United Left / Nordic Green Left

European Parliamentary Group 


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