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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

MEPs call for protection of social rights in EU’s response to economic crisis

Green MEP, Jean Lambert, has called on the European Commission and EU Member States to maintain adequate social protection as they struggle to revive ailing economies.

In a Written Declaration in the European Parliament [1], she has demanded that provision of social protection becomes a condition of financial assistance and other stabilisation instruments.

Jean Lambert MEP, who is a Member of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee, said:

“Over the last 18 months the EU has seen many growing pressures on its social provision with Estonia, Spain, Ireland, Lithuania and Latvia particularly suffering from rising unemployment.

“As Member States struggle to reduce national debts, there is a real danger that social budgets will be cut and the advances made on social well-being will be rolled back. In the UK, the Government is already deciding where to cut public expenditure to make up the deficit in the national finances, caused by the massive bailout package for the banking sector.

“Many Governments across the EU are requiring recovery assistance to help stabilise their economies. Hungary, Latvia and Romania have requested help from the European Community and others may soon follow. However, the rules attached to this financial assistance demand that those countries reduce their pensions and benefits provision, abolish subsidy schemes and increase their retirement age. Such demands appear at odds with a number of the EU’s objectives, not least its aim to achieve a decisive and measurable reduction in poverty and social exclusion by 2010.

“It is therefore important that the Commission and Member States evaluate the social impact of all anti-crisis measures on a regular basis. I want to see such monitoring reported back to the European Parliament so that we can try to avoid any adverse outcomes in the long-term.”

[1] Full text of the Written Declaration as follows.

19.10.2009

WRITTEN DECLARATION
pursuant to Rule 123 of the Rules of Procedure on the protection of social rights when fighting against the economic crisis

Tatjana Danoka, Jean Lambert, Alejandro Cercas, Elizabeth Lynne

Lapse date: 11.2.2010

Written declaration on the protection of social rights when fighting against the economic crisis

The European Parliament,
– having regard to Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union and Article 2 of the Treaty establishing the European Community,
– having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the European Social Charter,
– having regard to the ILO Global Jobs Pact,
– having regard to its resolution of 11 March 2009 on a European Economic Recovery Plan,
– having regard to Rule 123 of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas action taken by Member States when fighting against the economic crisis should aim at being socially balanced and at achieving a decisive and measurable reduction in poverty and social exclusion, B. whereas more European citizens are at risk of poverty due to the crisis,

1. Calls on the Member States to maintain adequate protection for social rights when fighting against the economic crisis;

2. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that social conditionality becomes an integral part of any financial assistance and other stabilisation instruments;

3. Calls on the Commission and Member States to evaluate the social impact of all anti-crisis measures on a regular basis and report back to Parliament;

4. Instructs its President to forward this declaration, together with the names of the signatories, to the Council and Commission, and to the Parliaments of the Member States.