European Transport Workers’ Federation Statement on the European Elections

10 Jun 2024

Despite democratic forces in the European Parliament maintaining a majority, the significant growth of the far right is deeply troubling for workers across Europe. In the EU and at national level, far-right representatives have consistently voted against workers’ rights, threatening the hard-won protections and benefits that millions rely on, including in the transport industry.

The rise of the far right is not an isolated phenomenon but a symptom of deeper economic and social unrest. Years of policies from an EU with its back turned to workers have driven inflation up, while the welfare state has been eroded by neoliberal policies all over Europe. This has led to widespread economic and social insecurity, leaving many struggling to make ends meet.

The Green Deal’s ambitious goals are badly needed to fight climate change. However, so far, the EU has failed to deliver robust proposals that would make the just transition a reality.

In times of high inflation, with war returning to Europe, underfunded welfare states and the concrete risk that the price of the environmental transition is placed on the shoulders of working people, many feel abandoned and vulnerable to far-right populistic rhetoric. This is particularly true for young Europeans – as several surveys show, in many countries, young people have voted for far-right parties.

As talks are taking place to build a majority within the European Parliament, the ETF renews its call on democratic parties not to form any coalition with far-right parties.

At the same time, the ETF appeals to the future Commission, European Parliament and the EU member states to include the following in the next EU’s political agenda:

  • An ambitious just transition plan focused on working people to ensure the creation of attractive jobs with fair pay and improved working conditions
  • Enhanced and well-resourced public services that meet the needs of all citizens, namely in public transport, healthcare, and education
  • A European industrial policy which recognises the strategic role of transport and allows financing infrastructures, funding mass public transport, supports European companies that are exposed to global competition, linking such support to social conditionalities.

The recent election results have made it clear that business as usual cannot continue.

Democratic forces have a crucial role to play in rebuilding security and hope by delivering on these promises. The ETF will persist in its struggle to protect workers’ rights and promote a fair and sustainable Europe for all, with the belief that positive change is within our reach.