Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Spring Alliance ...

Paul Sweeney: In 2009, the Spring Alliance was established with the four key civil society groups within the European Union: the European Environmental Bureau, the European Trade Union Confederation, the Social Platform and CONCORD, the body representing NGOs in Europe.

Spring Alliance has set out an agenda for the next decade, laid down in their Spring Alliance Manifesto. It has already had two debates with President Barroso on the results, and this manifesto formed the background for many contributions to the consultation on the EU-2020 Strategy being debated by the Commission.

The see five major challenges facing Europe:

The first challenge: climate change and loss of biodiversity and natural resources.

The second challenge: global inequalities between North and South are growing, and fundamental rights violations remain widespread.

The third challenge: the EU’s focus on competitiveness and deregulation has failed to serve the public good.

They argue that, since 2005, the EU has made a push to increase the deregulation of its markets, including its labour market, in accordance with its “Lisbon” growth and jobs strategy. This has had a detrimental effect on European society, causing a rise in low-quality work and failing to reduce poverty. The Lisbon strategy, with its strong emphasis on competitiveness, also had an adverse effect in the environmental domain, by halting or slowing down the adoption of legislation, including in the area of climate change.

In addition to these trends, today we’re facing a global economic crisis that has been triggered by the same philosophy of deregulation, which gave rise to irresponsible lending and negligence on the part of weak regulatory bodies. As a consequence, unemployment is now rising, and public debt is increasing.

The fourth challenge: inequalities in wealth distribution are increasing, putting the cohesion of our societies at risk.

The Spring Alliance notes that “79 million people in the EU are living in poverty, affecting one child out of five. Although many of these people have full-time jobs or receive pensions or benefits, their income is still too low to stop them from falling into poverty.”

Finally: the gap is widening between the EU and its citizens

It is stated by Spring Alliance that “The majority of the EU population feels disconnected from EU decision-making processes. National politicians often consider “Brussels” as an external power, and sometimes use it as scapegoat for unpopular decisions. This further undermines the EU’s credibility and its capacity to lead its citizens through difficult times.”

The Spring Alliance suggests ways in which these challenges can be addressed with the EU taking a lead. Further information is available on their website.


Paul Hunt said...

I knew we'd have a new post to distract from the discussion on the previous thread and, right on cue, we have this lorryload of platitudes and aspirations. Lobbying the European Commission - and getting lukewarm support from its President - might generate a warm, fuzzy feeling, but any innovative dirctives or regulations drafted by the Commission will require the approval of the Council and Parliament. It's the people who elect these politicians who need to be convinced - not Senor Barroso and his colleagues.

oliver1vandt said...

@Paul Hunt
"I knew we'd have a new post to distract from the discussion on the previous thread..."

I haven't been posting here long enough to come to that conclusion.
I hope I don't ever do so.

Progress begins at home. Before we launch pan-European iniatives on anything we need to sort out Ireland first. Otherwise it's like the Irish missionaries setting out to convert Europe while leaving the human sacrificing druids still in control. So keep discussing the need for a petition to the President to make the Taoiseach give us an election: