Today tens of thousands of trade unionists marched in Brussels and other European capitals to say ‘No’ to austerity and to call for policies for growth and jobs. On the very same day the European Commission has presented new proposals that are supposed to strengthen economic governance, but whose main thrust is to constrain member states’ ability to run fiscal deficits. And that means, in the present context, forcing them to run austerity policies. To say the least, that is an unfortunate coincidence.
The proposals are detailed and cover other areas than fiscal consolidation, and so a full evaluation will have to wait until tomorrow. (I was on the demonstration.) But what can already be said is that Europe needs strengthened economic governance, not one-sided policies in the name of fiscal rectitude. That was the clear message today from workers right across Europe.