Green Party MEP Jean Lambert has joined Trade Unionists in Brussels as part of a Europe-wide day of action against austerity that has seen general strikes in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Malta – and smaller actions across the UK.
Ms Lambert said she was deeply opposed to the cuts and austerity being imposed on public sector workers across the EU, calling for ‘bailout’ conditions to be ‘loosened’ to ensure that they don’t add to recessionary pressures – and calling for guarantees of workers’ rights across Europe.
“Public services have ground to a halt in much of the EU today as workers become increasingly desperate in the face of government cuts and stringent austerity measures being imposed by governments, the EU, the IMF and the European Central Bank,” she said.
“We cannot solve our economic difficulties without effective public services and investment in the public sector, who are facing job losses, pay cuts and an erosion of their rights.
“The answer to the economic difficulties we all face must lie in stimulating our economies by increasing public sector spending and diverting state funds to genuinely sustainable enterprises – for example, by adopting a ‘Green New Deal’ in the UK that could thousands of new jobs by funding sustainable projects like renewable energy generation and by forcing the banking sector to lend again.
“Cutting spending on the public sector risks making things much worse – back-pedalling on those services aimed at helping the most vulnerable and creating thriving, genuinely sustainable local economies.”
Ms Lambert made her comments as she joined trade unionists in Brussels taking part in the EU ‘Day of Action’, which was called by the European Trade Union Confederation.
Earlier this week met ILO leaders in Geneva to discuss preserving workers’ rights despite the austerity measures being adopted across the EU.