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The European Union’s Success was built on 'united we stand' not 'divide and rule'

PES Ministers warn against opening the door to an institutionalization of the Troikas

PES Social Affairs Ministers today expressed their concern over the risk of an institutionalization of austerity and a tweaking of the EU procedures during the EU Council of 13-14 December, in a letter addressed to European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and to European Council President Herman Van Rompuy.

PES General Secretary Achim Post thanked the Social Ministers for the initiative saying that; “The European Union’s Success was built on united we stand not divide and rule. This message from our social affairs ministers should be heeded”.

During this week’s Council, European leaders are expected to agree on a roadmap for the completion of the European Monetary Union. However, the approach followed relegates the social aspect of the Union to a secondary plan. Diminished in importance are much needed growth policies and cohesion among EU countries. Instead the focus is on fiscal consolidation through a new kind of procedure targeting individual Member States.

PES Ministers denounced the "individual arrangements of a contractual nature"between the EU institutions and individual Euro zone countries. This disposition brings a major change to the community method, as stated in the EU treaties, opening the possibility to impose neoliberally oriented structural reforms on individual Member States. PES Social Affairs ministers highlighted that these arrangements must be clearly defined from the start so that they do not open the door to an “institutionalization of the Troika” and they caution about a shift from a EU where Member States stand together into a “divide and rule” process that could take the political choice away from Member States to replace it with a one-size fits all neoliberal approach.

The letter called the EU Council to “restore the balance between stability and growth”, while highlighting the need to promote a social-oriented approach during the process: “The direction in which Europe is heading still prioritizes budgetary consolidation through discipline, austerity and sanctions. We fear that the proposed “individual arrangements of contractual nature” constitute the latest step of this approach. Our approach is based instead on achieving sustainable balance through responsibility, solidarity, and growth. We need the elements that will break the recessionary cycle with a comprehensive programme of productive and social investment. We need the elements that will ensure budgetary responsibility and recovery by promoting the European social model rather than by dismantling national social systems.”

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