European Commission recommendations are bad news for working people and small firms

29 May 2013

European Commission recommendations are bad news for working people and small firms

The European Commission today presented a number of country-specific recommendations in the framework of the so-called European Semester, a new system of ‘economic governance’ under which eurozone countries will be obliged to present their budgetary and economic policies to the Commission for approval. The aim is to ensure that these should be coordinated in advance of implementation and that they are in line with both the Stability and Growth Pact and the Europe 2020 strategy. What is not new, however, as SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong points out, is that ‘the European Commission is sticking to its austerity policies despite it now being clear that these will only make the economic crisis worse. Not only that, but they want to force through their long-cherished dream of Americanising the labour market in Europe, while for small- and medium-sized businesses also they have nothing good to offer.’

Dennis de JongThe country-specific recommendations are in the SP’s view characteristic of the European Commission’s neoliberal approach. ‘The Commission recognises that 26.5 million people unemployed is unacceptable, but the medicine prescribed is the worst possible,’ says De Jong. ‘Instead of creating employment, the Commission wants the unemployed from the from the worst-hit countries to pack their bags and move to countries where there is work. That’s no solution for these crisis countries, where no more work will be available and it will lead in the Netherlands and other host countries to exploitation of workers and to wage competition.’

The Commission’s proposals to assist small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to overcome the crisis are in the best case unhelpful and in the worst likely to cause a renewed economic crisis. ´The Commission states that it is almost impossible for SMEs to find financing, but their proposals are completely misguided. By using complicated financial packages to encourage loans to SMEs the same kind of product will be created as caused the crisis on the mortgage market. I want to see plans to encourage credit unions and the Commission going all out in favour of the establishment of national investment banks to provide small- and medium-sized businesses with targeted loans.’

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