A radical change in policies together with job creation and poverty reduction measures were urged by GUE/NGL MEPs during a debate on the employment and social aspects of the Europe 2020 strategy in the European Parliament this morning.

“There's no point in just repeating our lamentations on EU policies, we need to change those policies,” said French MEP Patrick Le Hyaric. “Economic policies rely on the best choice of social policies, but social goals should not just be pious wishes.”

Calling for an end to flexibility and austerity, Le Hyaric said that they did not create jobs, just more precarious and insecure work. “We won't be able to roll back poverty without adequate public services, minimum wages, a minimum income and decent work. Reorienting the 2020 strategy has to be root and branch and based on human development, social and economic progress.”

For Danish MEP Rina Ronja Kari, with 24 million unemployed in Europe, one in five young people out of work, a growing number of working poor as well as increasing wage gaps, “we need to fight poverty by changing policy, scrapping austerity and achieving inclusive growth”.

“We also need to recognise that the employment situation changes from country to country and the 'one size fits all' approaches do not work.”

“It comes as little surprise that EU 2020 targets weren't delivered,” said Inês Zuber (GUE/NGL Portugal). “Millions of young people know that precarious jobs mean that they will end up unemployed and recent European Commission studies show that these types of contracts are on the rise.”

“The number of collective agreements protecting workers has been drastically reduced in recent years and we are seeing increasing numbers of strikes. It's only through these struggles that we will win.”

“The Council and Commission know that poverty and inequality have increased, especially in countries under Troika programmes,” said Spanish MEP Paloma Lopez. “They also know that any new social objectives will not be implemented because of austerity policies.”

“Europe 2020 reinforces the neo-liberal system which led to the crisis.”

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