The event was organised by the IMF as a book launch for its new publication: “Jobs and growth: Supporting the European recovery”. In setting out a roadmap for Europe to follow, Ms Lagarde wanted to move the policy focus away from an obsession with structural reforms. Instead, policies which have an impact on the ground, such as education and skills improvement can help labour markets help in creating growth.
On social dialogue, Mr Schäuble underlined the importance of including trade unions at both the public and the private level, but that each country had its own traditions of dealing with the social partners. For CESI, it is clear labour markets run smoother with effective social dialogue.
Ms Lagarde also entered into the debate on social dialogue. While clearly advocating for job creation, the IMF chief also considered those behind the jobs, the workers. Ms Lagarde said, “We should not be trying to protect jobs, we should be trying to protect employees”.
While these words are very welcome by CESI, far more needs to be done in terms of actions to show a commitment to the protection of workers. Currently, the IMF still has much to answer for in its role in one third of the Troika which has seen devastating cuts to public sector jobs and public services in countries such as Spain and Portugal.