N2E006 - Trade unionists converged on Brussels on Wednesday
Trade unionists converged on
on Wednesday 29-Sep-2010 to protest against EU austerity measures as EU unveils plans for EU “economic governance” and sanctions for member states that do not cut budgets Brussels
More than 100,000 trade unionists from across
Europe to protest against austerity measures being imposed on member states (see attached picture). The protests occurred as Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn unveiled EU plans to massively centralize economic powers to . Brussels
The first set of proposals envisages financial sanctions for member states that break right wing Thatcherite EU economic policies and is restricted to eurozone member states. Fines for countries which persistently fail to meet the Stability and Growth Pact criteria will be "quasi-automatic", meaning that they could only be blocked by a qualified majority within the Council. Controversially, sanctions could possibly be imposed on countries with trade or current account imbalances.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said, "The proposals we are making today represent the biggest step forward on economic governance since we adopted the Stability and Growth Pact. Once approved and implemented by the Member States, they will mark a sea change in the way economic governance is dealt with in the European Union, and in particular in the Euro area".
In the WSJ, Richard Barley argues that the Commission's "proposals still represent something of a transfer of power to the Commission - and for that reason alone, some countries may try to water them down." A leader in the FT argues, "A well-enforced [Stability and Growth] pact might have stopped
Greece's reckless borrowing sooner, but would not have stopped the problems in Spain and , which were built up by private financial flows." It concludes that EU leaders cannot "stomach the idea of eurozone sovereign default, but an open-ended promise of bail-out weakens the force of the best-laid rules." Ireland
Telegraph Guardian: Leader FT: Brussels blog Mirror Irish Independent BBC BBC: Hewitt EUobserver El Mundo WSJ: Real Time Brussels blog
Independent El Pais Euractiv: Faymann Irish Independent Le Figaro BBC European Voice EUobserver Euractiv FT: Leader WSJ WSJ: Analysis Guardian Irish Times FT Handelsblatt: Leader