ETUC Proposes Ambitious Plan to Reinvigorate European Economy

Written by | Tuesday, November 12th, 2013
M. Guillermo Guttierrez

The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) launched last week a new plan to reinvigorate  European economy, speed up recovery from the crisis that crippled many economies, generate  investments and create quality jobs.
The plan dubbed “A new path for Europe: ETUC plan for investment, sustainable growth and quality jobs,” outlines how Europe can overcome the deepening difficulties and divisions in the EU and emerge from the crisis by investing in sustainable growth and employment. The plan proposes a long-term strategy targeting the investment of an additional 2% of the EU GDP per year over a 10-year period to establish a new industrial base and create quality jobs and educational opportunities.
According to ETUC, the new stimulus plan will generate up to 11 million new jobs in Europe and contribute to sustainable social and economic recovery during the next decade. While Europe is still mired in economic crisis, ETUC calls for a genuine change before the 2014 European Parliament elections.
After five years of economic and social crisis, the austerity policies have failed to revive a stagnating economy, reduce a growing unemployment rate, especially among the youths or filling a widening gap between different EU Member States, the European Trade Union Confederation argues, insisting that its stimulus plan seeks to create greater solidarity in Europe based on the principles of democracy, stability and cohesion.
Europe needs a long-term recovery plan that would lead to a better integrated European union, be beneficial for all countries, and be an act of solidarity with countries in difficulty. It would also substantially contribute to modernizing national economies and improving productivity.
The plan enumerates a number of measures to bolster inter-European cooperation such as cooperation on tax avoidance, evasion and tax havens, the reform of the financial market to rebalance the EU’s economy, the promotion of quality public services and the involvement of social partners in strengthening social dialogue, collective bargaining and worker participation, particularly in relation to economic governance process at national and EU level, as well as the reform of the education and training systems and of the labor market.
The plan which calls for additional measures to stabilize the economy of some countries in difficulty suggests extending the terms of existing bilateral and multilateral loan agreements, especially for new long term investment. The confederation explains that in this context, the introduction of Eurobonds can protect countries undergoing difficulties from uncontrolled speculation and be an efficient tool for productive investments.
ETUC also calls EU member states to contribute to income redistribution to counter inequalities and fight poverty at national and European level and stresses the need for rich and economically stronger countries and groups to contribute more to financing future investments.
According to the plan, the EU budget and particularly the structural funds should support sustainable growth, investment and decent jobs.
The plan should be open to all EU countries, but investments would only be directed to the countries which will have contributed to the plan.

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