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MEP Cerkas:Troika’s austerity caused a “social tsunami” and “acted like butchers”

The troika caused a social tsunami in Greece, Cyprus, Portugal and Ireland. This is the result of the members of the Employment Committee of the European Parliament who have investigated the impact of austerity and bailout program imposed on the debt-ridden Euro zone countries. “Unemployment grew, small companies disappeared, poverty rose even among the middle classes,” says the report asking at the same time for a jobs and social recovery plan.

“The European social dimension was completely forgotten by those who acted as if Europe was only a creditors’ club”, said rapporteur Alejandro Cercas, Socialist MEP from Spain during a press conference.

“They have improvised measures without consulting the people. They could have acted as surgeons, cutting superfluous…But in some cases we have seen that they acted as butchers.”

Below the press releases issued by the Employment Committee of European Parliament

Growing unemployment – especially among the young, leading to their emigration – the loss of small firms and rising poverty rates, even among the middle class, are the key impacts of the economic crisis and adjustment measures designed by the ECB/EU Commission/IMF “Troika” for Greece, Cyprus, Portugal, Ireland, say Employment Committee MEPs in a resolution voted on Thursday. It calls for a jobs and social recovery plan for these countries.

“The moment has come to recover the employment and social situation that was destroyed and to repair the damage. The European social dimension was completely forgotten by those who acted as if Europe was only a creditors’ club”, said rapporteur Alejandro Cercas (S&D, ES), whose text was adopted by 27 votes to 7, with 2 abstentions.

Rising unemployment and poverty rates, loss of small firms

The economic and financial crisis and the adjustment policies in the four countries have led to rising unemployment, especially long-term unemployment and youth unemployment which in 2012 reached over 50% in Greece, over 30% in Portugal and Ireland and 26.4% in Cyprus, leading to emigration. The loss of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is a key cause of unemployment and the biggest threat to future recovery, say MEPs, underlining that adjustment policies recommended by the Troika did not spare strategic sectors which should have been protected to sustain growth and social cohesion.

Job precarity has grown along with deteriorations in basic labour standards such as reductions in minimum wages, for example by 22% in Greece. New forms of poverty affecting the middle and working classes have arisen, as inability to pay mortgages and high energy prices have led to exclusion from housing and energy poverty.

The committee’s recommendations will be put to a vote by Parliament as a whole in March.

sources: euro2day.gr, EuropeanParliament, ElPais

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