Why also Europe?

The burden of the crisis on workers and the unemployed

Is the economic and financial crisis in Europe almost over? This seems to be the message coming from the Central Banks, the only managers of a common financial policy that has little to do with economic policies and pure politics. It is the impression conveyed by most of the Euro Group’s public accounts. However this is not the case in all countries, namely Greece and Spain, and since the Euro area is a Union it looks like there still is a long way to go. Apart from forecasts, we must address two main aspects: what is the cost of fixing public accounts? And what are going to be the consequences today and in the future for millions of workers? Setting in order the State’s coffers requires a series of tasks: combating public administration squandering; adopting a fair fiscal policy to counter tax evasion; gaining support in creating new jobs; reorganizing the welfare system; improving the quantity and quality of education and training. Needless say this should be accompanied by investments in infrastructures and competitiveness in order to address aggressive competition centred on “questionable” labour policies and low prices. But after all everyone has a path to follow. Until a couple of decades ago Europe and the so-called industrialized world hd decided to follow the same path. But notwithstanding good will and honesty, the common denominator to go from theory to practice is available financial resources. And since the latter are lacking we are compelled to turn to financial and banking markets.Recapping: in order to solve national debt States run into debt with international financial institutions, while businesses run into debt with banks to recover (no longer to prosper). New debts pay for the old ones: not bad as 3rd millennium economic policy. World crisis, increasing indebtedness and high labour costs, inevitably trigger surging unemployment rates. The more indebted is the country the higher the number of the unemployed. The situation is bound to get worse because even if there is light at the end of the tunnel for central banks and governments, citizens are left with their bills to pay. Economists and analysts agree on one thing: 2010 will be worse than 2009, unemployment rates are doomed to increase, on the wake of the eurozone outdated formula of cutting public salaries (even the lowest ones) and increasing taxes. Considering the difficulty in approving immigration regulations this might sound a warning we should not overlook.We now wonder why also Europe is involved. Notwithstanding the single currency (the situation would be even worse without it), the best social system worldwide and the productive sector. Perhaps we have given to much freedom to the European Central Bank and Commission on growth and stability; perhaps it is not enough to just put together resources, if the economy and economic development management are left to the parties and not to experts’ coordination; perhaps it is due to too much market, and little focus on citizens: perhaps those who for years floated on air thanks to easy bank loans are unable to put their feet on the ground. What now? We are not experts, but looking at the fact tables and statistics we can come up with a couple of solutions. By halving public squandering in a couple of years the debt would be reduced by a fourth; retrieving half of tax evasion would pay for half of the debt in one year. Eliminating tax evasion would erase debt. This would bring new resources to be invested in jobs and citizens’ wellbeing. It is not a matter of means, but rather of priorities. Choices. Fortunately it is once again a free choice, we just need the will to choose.

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