Ireland 29/09/2015


MEPs discuss alternatives to unemployment and austerity

During the first morning of GUE/NGL's Study Days in Carrickmacross, Ireland, MEPs and guests representing Irish workers and civil society discussed the European response to unemployment and alternatives to austerity. 

Some of the main discussion points raised by the MEPs* included:

As a result of the ongoing economic crisis, the number of unemployed people has increased, yet at the same time the number of millionaires has also increased. We are seeing a transfer of assets away from the public and into the hands of the wealthy.

Austerity policies implemented in Ireland and across the EU have dramatically reduced public spending at a time when support for those hit by the crisis has been most needed.

In Ireland, the crisis has resulted in 750,000 people currently unemployed and 16 per cent of families living without anyone in the household gainfully employed. 

While some growth in employment has been recorded in Ireland, the jobs we are seeing are often part-time and precarious jobs.

We often hear EU representatives say that 'a precarious job is better than no job', but these jobs are leaving a generation of people unable to support their families. Young people in particular face a future of precarious employment that serves only the interests of their employers.

Young people are also particularly hard hit in Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal, where almost one in two are unemployed.

The European Union offers the 'Youth Guarantee' including actions such as creating internships and training courses, but so far these actions are not guaranteeing stable jobs.

MEPS agreed that the European Union response to the ongoing crisis in unemployment is inadequate and we need an integrated European approach well beyond what is currently being discussed.

A European response to unemployment can only take place with the resurgence of the left across Europe, involving trade unions and civil society.

We need to get rid of neoliberalism and pave the way for a Europe of solidarity and social progress.

MEPs speaking on this morning's panels included:

Marina Albiol Guzman, Spain

Liadh Ní Riada, Ireland

Inês Zuber, Portugal

Neoklis Sylikiotis, Cyprus

Lynn Boylan, Ireland



GUE/NGL Press Contact:

Nikki Sullings  +32 483 03 55 75

Gay Kavanagh  +32 473 84 23 20

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