Education International
Education International

Massive Euro-demonstration in Poland

published 20 September 2011 updated 23 September 2011

More than 50,000 people took to the streets in Wroclaw, Poland, on 17 September to demand greater European solidarity and employment.

The mobilisation targeted the European Union (EU) Finance Ministers’ and the European Central Bank’s (ECB) meeting to address the EU’s mounting economic and financial crisis.

The Euro-demonstration, which also coincided with the start of Poland’s Presidency of the EU, was organised by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) with the support of the Polish trade union confederations, Solidarnosc and OPZZ.

The ETUC prepared a statement to the EU Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in Wroclaw, on 16-17 September, which proposed a series of measures to build European economic governance centred on solidarity and employment.

One of ETUC’s key demands was the issuing of Eurobonds. This would mean a partial transfer of national sovereign debt into European debt, up to 60 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. The ETUC also demanded the establishment of a European Bank for sovereign debt, with access to the ECB’s liquidity operations, as well as a European public ratings agency.

ETUC General Secretary, Bernadette Ségol, said: “For the ETUC, the pooling of risks (Eurobonds) would offer new prospects. We must go for solidarity and avoid a break-up of the euro zone which would spark a serious social crisis.”

She went on to add that “sovereign debt was initially manageable but has now become unsustainable because all investors start running for the exit at the same time…[because] the means (Eurobonds) and institution (European bank for sovereign debt) with the power to counteract financial markets’ negative influence do not exist in Europe.”

Other ETUC proposals included the introduction of new source of European taxes, such as a Financial Transaction Tax, as well as action on tax evasion and the abolition of tax havens.

EI stands in solidarity with the ETUC and firmly supports its demands on European governments for new choices on European economic governance centred on solidarity and employment.