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May 1st: Keep Up the Momentum to Bring a Strong Social Dimension to the EU

On May 1st, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) is celebrating, along with all European workers, Labour Day. The European trade union continues to press heads of state and government for a European Union with a strong social dimension. On May 2nd, ETUC General Secretary Bernadette Ségol will address the board of EU Commissioners with the following message: “citizens and workers have lost confidence; give priority to growth and employment. Democratic support for the European project is at stake.

In many European countries, May 1st will be a day for mobilising against austerity and in favour of employment and social progress. The major problem continues to be mass unemployment which is growing and is accompanied by an increase in precariousness and a widening of the inequality gap. The fight against unemployment must be a priority of the European Union. The trade unions will seize the opportunity of May 1st to denounce the failure of macro-economic policies, which are moreover threatening the European project and democracy.

The European Council will be convened on June 27th and 28th this year. It will decide on a roadmap for the social dimension of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). The social dimension is not a luxury, and must be an integral part of every policy. Before this summit, ETUC will meet with leading policy makers to demand a change of course, so that economic policies give priority to growth and employment. That is the condition for trade union support for the European project.

Bernadette Ségol, ETUC General Secretary, stated: “A discussion on the social dimension of EMU is acceptable only if it leads to social progress in the European Union as a whole. That is why we consider that the determination of the European Council to discuss essentially the social dimension of EMU is too restrictive. The social dimension of the EU must be based on respect of fundamental social rights and on the improvement of living and working conditions. It must be geared towards the fight against unemployment, poverty, inequality and social and fiscal dumping. It must promote our European social model which has proven its efficacy and consists of solid social protection, quality public services and social dialogue. The social dimension of the EU must be real. We continue our mobilisation with a clear message: the fight against unemployment and for social cohesion must take overriding priority. The trust of citizens and workers is at stake.

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