Why Commissioner Rehn wants us all to work more for less

Press conference by Olli Rehn, Member of the European Commission, on the spring economic forecasts for 2012-2013. (EC Audiovisual Services).

Press conference by Olli Rehn, Member of the European Commission, on the economic forecasts for 2012-2013. (EC Audiovisual Services).

Yesterday Commissioner Olli Rehn speaking at the regular monthly meeting of the European Financial Affairs Council (Ecofin), which regroups the 27 EU ministers of Finance, made a completely wrong evaluation of Eurozone’s economy present status, despite some quite superficial references to the real causes of the ongoing crisis. Let’s see all that in details. His basic remarks are being quoted below.

He said “the Commission fully supports the Council conclusions as agreed today on the Annual Growth Survey. The AGS has a very strong focus on the need to boost competitiveness, particularly in view of the decline in manufacturing employment in Europe over the past decade: 2.5 million jobs in our four largest Member States alone have been lost. We need to reverse this downward trend…this means investing in education and training, and continuing reforms in our labour markets to remove obstacles to job creation. It means supporting entrepreneurship and investment and completing the single market. It means finishing the job of financial repair to boost the flow of credit to SMEs and households. It means supporting public investment…”

Loss of jobs

Everything that Rehn said is either false or half-true. Beginning from his lamenting the losses of industrial jobs over the past decade, he failed to mention that this trend is invariably present in all developed economies. Industrial jobs are being transferred to the developing world and this is a well-known process, actually favoured by the US and Europe. At the same time our developed economies create new jobs and more added value in the tertiary sector, spearheaded by activities like financial, professional, scientific, technical, administrative and cultural.

However it seems that his failure to say the truth about industrial jobs was intentional. Here comes the proof that what Rehn said, he meant it as an indirect accusation against Eurozone’s working millions, of not being productive enough. That is why he continued asking for more liberalisation of the labour market (…continuing reforms in our labour markets to remove obstacles to job creation…). What does this colourless person want from Europe’s working Peoples? What other obstacles should we abolish for Rehn to be happy? Many Europeans already work for ZERO salary. You don’t believe it? Neither did I, until I read on BBC’s internet news service an article entitled “Back-to-work scheme breached laws, says Court of Appeal”. Unfortunately that kind of news is only being reported indirectly.

Working for nothing

In detail, yesterday a British Court ruled as illegal a government programme obliging the unemployed to accept jobs WITHOUT PAYMENT, if they wanted to continue receiving some social benefits. As a result thousands of young Britons work for some hand-picked companies AS SLAVES. This is the correct definition of the unpaid compulsory labour, euphemistically baptised as training. Not enough liberalised to your taste, our European Union labour market Mr Rehn? Is this probably what you mean by “investing in training”?

Further down Rehn tried to say some truths by acknowledging, that we need “finishing the job of financial repair to boost the flow of credit to SMEs and households”. But in this front too Rehn failed to identify the culpable party. So we must remind it to him.

The banks

During the last five years Eurozone countries’ sovereign debt jumped from 60% to 90% of the GDP. This deplorable development has to be almost entirely blamed on the financial industry’s salvage, with piles of government and central bank money. Unfortunately this dreadful practice still goes on, as if nothing has changed. More bailouts of failing banks are being constantly undertaken by the authorities, thus increasing every day the cost of saving the banking sector from its own catastrophic activities.

This newspaper has proved how the huge costs (about €4.5 trillion) of keeping alive the financial sector, was transferred to the real economy and drove many Eurozone countries and populations to their social, political even physical limits of endurance (see European Sting article: It’s a lie Eurozone isn’t competitive). Four years after Lehman Brothers went bankrupt, the European Commissioner tells us, as if nothing has happened in the between, that the task to make the banks be again what they once were, is an unfinished business.

But Mr Rehn the business of forcing the banks become banks again, protecting our deposits and give loans to SMEs and to households, hasn’t even started yet. And this was your responsibility Mr Commissioner. Aren’t you failing the European citizens with this omission? How dare you ask them work more for less or nothing, while you let bankers continue doing the same things that brought us in this miserable position?

 

 

 

 

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