Austerity kills! GUE/NGL sends clear message to Merkel
At a special meeting of the European Parliament's Group Presidents and MEPs today, GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer told Angela Merkel that austerity policies should come with a danger warning.
Before the 'Conference of Presidents' meeting in the European Parliament, GUE/NGL MEPs staged a protest to highlight the dangerous nature of Merkel's response to solving the current financial and economic crisis.
Following Merkel's speech, Zimmer spoke about the crippling affects austerity policies were having on citizens' access to basic services:
"Your policies of austerity are forcing people into poverty, into unemployment and are destroying SMEs. Austerity kills, as my group let you know today before this meeting."
"The last two measures of the Memorandum of Understanding, the suspension of employment protection for one year and the reduction of the minimum wage for workers under 25 to two-thirds of the national minimum wage, have recently been deemed as directly at odds with the European Social Charter by the Council of Europe's European Committee of Social Rights, making them illegal," continued Zimmer.
"What's the use of this narrow focus on competitiveness when people are going to the wall and bearing the brunt of measures like increased working time and wage cuts," continued Zimmer.
Gabi Zimmer also highlighted that cuts in development funds were a "disgrace for the EU" and that there needs to be an increase in contributions to cohesion funds, which were introduced to boost solidarity.