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ISSUE 65 page 3

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ETUC sets off down new path but Euro-leaders refuse to follow ETUCNewPath

THE EUROPEAN TRADE UNION CONFEDERATION, serially disappointed by the austere policies pursued by the EU authorities and Member States for the last five years, have set out a new course to stimulate growth and create jobs. To be specific they want the equivalent of 2% of GDP to be invested every year for the next ten years in order to provide 11 million new posts. The European unions say that lending by the European Investment Bank should be quadrupled but that there must be democratic control of these decisions, unlike those by the EU-led ‘troika’ which has imposed ‘austerity contracts’ on individual countries. However the recent meeting of the Council of Ministers made no move in the direction of economic expansion with leaders satisfying themselves with the existing growth pact agreed in 2012 (see issue 59). But the ETUC maintains that this has not worked as, after 18 months of its operation, the EU unemployment rate remains at 12% with the figure for young people as high as 60%. According to General Secretary Bernadette Ségol ‘The EU Council continues to spin its usual rhetoric; the truth is that it has not delivered on the social dimension, nor has it delivered on investments for sustainable growth and quality jobs. ETUC demands more action and less spin - ETUC demands a New Path for Europe’. While losing faith in the current leaders European unions hope to influence the new ones who will be chosen in 2014. Ms. Ségol announced a demonstration to be held in Brussels in April as the European Parliament prepares to elect new members.  The ETUC’s manifesto urges candidates to reject policies which would reduce wages and worsen working conditions and to uphold the social dimension of the EU which the General Secretary believes is ‘extremely weak’. ‘Political leaders have to show they will protect workers’ she continued ‘it is not just about freedom of the market, but also about social protection. That is why we are having this campaign’.

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