2011 the year of Austerity, let’s make 2012 the year of Social Europe!
(21 November 2011) 2011 draws to a close amidst growing uncertainty over the future of the Euro and indeed the ‘European project’ as well as continuing attacks on public services, jobs, and workers’ rights across the continent. This year we have mobilized in Brussels, in Budapest, in Krakow as well as in many other European countries where public sector workers have been out protesting against austerity. 2012 looks like it will require equal if not more intense action.
A number of immense challenges lie before us, but in facing these we can build the not insignificant successes of this year and take inspiration from the EPSU coordinated action around 30 November. This was made up of major trade union actions, strikes, demonstrations, debates and rallies all across Europe, against social regression and demanding the end of austerity measures. As Bernadette Ségol, ETUC General Secretary, said: “Enough is enough! The future of Europe cannot be based on austerity, insecurity and social regression.”. Noteworthy too was that actions was taken by affiliated unions in the EU/EEA countries as well as in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakstan and Tajikstan, a recognition of the need for European solidarity and a united response to problems. For EPSU this action was the most developed so far by our members.
In 2012 we will continue efforts to secure the Financial Transaction Tax (FTT). Further lobbying will be necessary in 2012 to secure the FTT in practice, as part of EPSU’s broader work in support of progressive taxation and against tax fraud and tax havens. EPSU will have an Action Plan against Tax Fraud and a major campaign in 2012.
Also on our agenda continues to be public procurement. Pressure on public budgets can lead to more public services being out-sourced for the wrong reasons – namely in order to cut jobs and pay. In 2012 the EU will revise the current EU rules on public procurement and EPSU, also as part of a broad ‘Network for sustainable public procurement’ will seek to strengthen the provisions against social and wage dumping and to uphold the right of public authorities to provide services ‘in-house’, including public-public cooperation. We will not stop to demand “Quality Public Services for all!” and the inclusion of social provisions to European legislation!
In 2012, we will launch the EPSU water campaign by means of a European Citizens initiative. Our objective is to ensure that water and sanitation are considered as a Human Right and not as a commodity subject to competition and market rules. This will be a major campaign for EPSU and we need the support of all of you and as many citizens as possible. We therefore appeal to you to actively support this campaign by collecting signatures be it through the internet or in the streets and markets.
We wish you a good 2012