In response to the EU finance ministers finalising the Council’s position on reforming the EU’s economic governance rules, the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) has expressed serious concerns. These reforms, perceived as a renovation of austerity measures, are detrimental to workers, and public funding for transport in Europe.
The Council’s proposal, which requires member states to significantly reduce their budget deficit and debt-to-GDP ratio, is a cause for alarm. It suggests more countries will be forced to cut government spending, potentially affecting crucial public services and investments.
ETF General Secretary Livia Spera criticizes the proposed reforms, stating: “These new fiscal rules are a step backward for Europe. They threaten the livelihoods of millions of transport workers and risk undermining the quality of public transport services across the EU. We are particularly concerned about the lack of transparency, which seem to prioritize arbitrary financial targets over the well-being of European citizens.”
Spera continues, “At a time when Europe should be focusing on a fair and just transition to a green and digital economy, these rules could instead force a reduction in essential public investments, notably on infrastructures and public transport. This not only jeopardizes our efforts to create sustainable transport systems but also the social fabric of our communities.”
The ETF, in line with the Manifesto launched for the upcoming European elections, firmly opposes these austerity measures. We believe that fiscal policies should support, not hinder, the development of a socially fair and environmentally sustainable transport sector.
“As we approach the European elections, the ETF will amplify its campaign against these regressive fiscal policies. Our manifesto clearly articulates the need for an EU that prioritizes the welfare of its workers and citizens. We will keep standing with the ETUC and other trade unions in the fight against austerity 2.0. It’s time for fiscal rules that serve the people” concludes Spera.