On 25 - 27 February 2013, the ETUCE and ETUI organized a joint high-level seminar focusing on alternatives to widespread austerity measures across Europe. Presidents and general secretaries of national trade union organizations discussed their positions and strategies in the context of a changing European governance landscape with the participation of senior researchers and economic advisers to the European trade union movement.
This seminar was an opportunity to establish close coordination among union leaders on matters related to the economy and the effects of austerity measures on the education sector. Alternatives to EU’s widespread economic policies were discussed in the context of Europe 2020, the EU’s multi-annual programme for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.
Participants discussed developments in relation to the banking union and matters related to a crisis of democracy, as international lenders – known as the Troika – continue to wield strong influence over national fiscal positions. Delegates took stock of austerity strategies as well as the sovereign debt crisis and forged stronger ties to develop joint strategies and campaigns to address the continued crisis across Europe.
In concluding the seminar, ETUCE European Director Martin Romer underlined trade unions’ need to cooperate on agreed objectives in seeking European recovery and outlined five key objectives:
- A united defence of public education
- Fight against privatisation
- Protection of the European social model and democracy
- Demand for high quality public education and teacher education
- Work towards reasonable and fair working conditions
A proposal to launch a European campaign network was supported by the trade union leaders gathered in Brussels. A follow-up meeting is scheduled to take place in Rome on March 18th and 19th, 2013.
For more information about this joint conference, please visit: http://fc.runo.se/~jel/etuce_austerity12_1/