Dear President José Manuel Barroso,
This weekend saw another European country vote in significant numbers for a populist, anti-European party. The Finnish election results, following the Dutch, Belgian and Hungarian national elections and French regional elections (as well as the rising tide of anti-EU feeling in accession countries), indicate a very worrying political trend in Europe. A trend fed by poor economic policy-making which is placing an increasing pressure on ordinary working people.
European economic policy rather than strengthening the EU is fundamentally damaging the social support for European integration.
As a result of the multiple failures of the political establishment to tackle the social instability caused by the economic crisis, there is increasing alienation amongst European citizens towards established political forces in the member states and on European level. With the growth of anti-European forces and right-wing extremism across the Continent, metalworkers are highly conscious of the real dangers posed by nationalism and xenophobic populism.
Deep, rapidly applied and ideologically-driven national and European austerity measures are fundamentally unpicking the very fabric of Europe’s collective social models, including collective bargaining systems, and consequently destroying social cohesion. Working people are being forced to pay the price for the crisis to the very actors who have reaped benefits from it, with social risks increasingly individualised and falling harder on the weakest in society.
President Barroso, an alternative policy approach must be adopted. An approach which ensures investment, fairness and solidarity within and throughout the EU through a growth-oriented economic policy accompanied by a real social and employment policy agenda. We urgently need strong political leadership promoting a strong economic and social union, not the current forced and austere death-grip.
EMF General Secretary