Finally putting right what the Troika got badly wrong?

14 Feb 2014

This week (13th February) the Employment and Social Affairs Committee (EMPL) of the European Parliament adopted a draft report criticising the work of the Troika in drawing up economic adjustment programmes for Greece, Portugal, Cyprus and Greece. CESI welcomes the report which highlights the damaging social impact of the measures taken. CESI recently had the opportunity to discuss these social implications with the rapporteur, Alejandro Cercas MEP (S&D, Spain).

Finally putting right what the Troika got badly wrong?

The report points the finger at the Troika, which is composed of the Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank, for a number of its failings in terms of long-term social damage. Criticism is particularly strong on the lack of proper assessment on the social impact of the measures imposed and their long-term nature.

MEPs also point out the fact that many public sector jobs have been shed in areas such as education, health and social services. In education for example, EMPL MEPs highlight the potential damage to the quality of education systems in Europe as a result of cuts in public funding. Moreover, in areas such as gender equality, MEPs note that pay disparities between men and women are wider due to new pay-scales, grading and dismissals, all put forward in these economic adjustment programmes.

The report is also very critical of how the Troika operated in terms of information and consultation of workers. The fact that social partners were neither consulted nor involved in the initial design of the adjustment programmes is underlined.

MEPs do not simply issue a judgement on the actions taken, but give recommendations on how the EU should look into, and where necessary put right, the actions of the Troika. One such measure, proposed by Marije Cornelissen (NL) on behalf of the Greens, calls on the EU’s fundamental rights agency to assess the impact of the troika on human rights and look into potential breaches of the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Commenting on the draft report, CESI Secretary General Klaus Heeger said: “The report highlights serious errors in the ways of the Troika which CESI has been pointing out for a long time now. It is important that specific references have been made to the damage inflicted the public sector, public services and social dialogue and it is good to see the Parliament finally reacting to this damage. We have yet to see the full ECON report, but hopefully together these reports can be the first steps to correcting some of the devastating mistakes of the Troika.”

The EMPL report, due to be voted on in the March plenary, will complement a report from the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee which has still to be agreed upon.

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