Comment: How to end the vicious circle?
Yesterday, Spain managed to prevent a shortfall in financing its debt by a state loan at a rate of 6%. The same evening, a credit rating agency downgraded Spain by 3 degrees to BBB. Whereas Germany gets credit at a 0% rate, Spain has to pay 6%, and this at a time when its citizen are increasingly afraid of losing their savings, jobs and future. Everyday more than 40 families are expelled from their homes, and this is only in Madrid. This is an illustration of the social consequences of a two-speed Europe, which cannot be the objective.
Solidarity is not a useless word, and although the European Safety Mechanism offers an important level of protection for Member States, it is not enough. The alternative lies in making the right political choices for sustainable, smart and inclusive growth and for quality employment, for rehabilitating the Europe 2020 Strategy. This is also the meaning of the ETUC's call for a Social Compact and of the Social Platform call for a New Social Pact.
On 5 June 1947, President Roosevelt presented the outline of a Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of Europe. Luckily Europe does not yet to be reconstructed, but its economy and social system need to be focused on and not left to ruin. German Social Democrats and Greens are doing right by raising pressure on the German government and insisting on policies to give impetus to growth and economic developments.
We see already a move towards acknowledging the need for more investment and growth, but the choices of the means will be decisive: more working poor and social exclusion, the liberalisation of labour markets and the worsening of working and living conditions are not the alternatives to maintaining the cohesion of our societies and democracies.
This is the fundamental social dimension behind those macro-economic choices!
Conny Reuter, Secretary General