„The eurozone must be built on a strong social union“ say S&D Euro MPs

On the eve of May 1, S&D Group leader Hannes Swoboda made the following statement:“This year, the millions of people taking the streets across Europe on May 1 won’t feel like celebrating. With 26 million people out of work in the EU, there is not much to celebrate – and indeed there will be a lot of despair and anger.

„Excessive austerity policies have led Europe into a deep recession, with a record level of unemployment and increasing poverty. Europe has lost its social vision by concentrating narrowly on enforcing fiscal discipline.

„Today we need less austerity and more growth, jobs and social justice in Europe. „That is why our political group has set out plans to strengthen the social dimension of the eurozone ahead of the crucial meeting of heads of state and government in June.

„We call for binding targets to fight unemployment and reduce poverty and social exclusion.

„We also demand that EU governments invest at least 6% of their GDP in education and 3% in research and development. EU governments have agreed targets to bring down their deficit to 3% of GDP, but they should also commit to investing for the future.

„We also want to end the democratic deficit in the way the eurozone is governed. We need to end the Troikas (formed by the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank and European Commission) which have caused so much damage in the countries they were meant to assist.

„In their place, the European Commission should lead recovery programmes, in liaison with the ECB, IMF and the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

„Shifting Europe towards a social union is the only way to avoid people turning their backs on the European project. This is the message we are sending to heads of state and government as they prepare to discuss the future of Europe.“

On top of a social progress pact to complement the stability and growth pact, the plans include a social protocol to ensure social rights get equal prominence with economic freedoms; an employment and social investment programme; common social standards; strengthened European social dialogue; and more balanced and democratic eurozone governance.