European Trade Union Institute, ETUI.

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26/06/2012

Rio+20: chronicle of an announced failure

rio

As expected, the Earth Summit held in Rio, Brazil, ended last week with a weak text full of good intentions, “promises” and diplomatic fluff but no concrete targets nor any serious action plan to reverse the unsustainable course of the global economy. The concept of a “green economy” (one of the two main themes of the summit) remained controversial with most developing countries seeing it as a hurdle for their future economic growth.

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18/06/2012

Minimum wages, austerity and poverty: three ETUI studies

poor people in Greece

The economic crisis and austerity policies have put the issue of minimum wages in Europe back on the political agenda. Although wage policy is not an EU competence, the new economic governance resulting from the debt crisis in several EU member states is increasingly intervening in national wage developments. In this context, minimum wages have become an essential component of the EU’s policy of austerity. Three new publications from the ETUI present a thorough analysis of the state of play of minimum wages in Europe and its implications for social inequality and poverty.

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12/06/2012

"The EU is running hard to stand still "

flags EU

The European Union saw a deluge of institutional innovations in economic governance in 2011 but made no progress in exiting the crisis and risks a real crisis of trust in the European project. This was the main message presented during the launch on 11 June of a new study on the state of social Europe in 2011. The annual flagship publication by the European Social Observatory (OSE) and the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) highlighted the “impressive acceleration” in European integration and the introduction of many new tools (revision of the Stability and growth Pact, the Six Pack, the Euro Plus Pact etc.) for the EU’s economic governance as a reaction to the debt crisis. Despite all these changes, the EU failed to stop the crisis and now seems further in trouble than ever before in its history.

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10/06/2012

European trade union leaders call for European Social Compact

protest against austerity Spain

EU trade union leaders meeting in Brussels from 5-6 June launched a call for a debate on a European Social Compact. As it is becoming increasingly clear that the austerity programmes in several member states are not solving the crisis and after the presidential win of François Hollande in France, the EU's narrative has been gradually shifting from austerity to growth as a policy priority. But although the rhetoric has changed, the overall policy drive remains one of competition, deregulation and further attacks on the European social model.

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7/05/2012

Occupational health in Europe: the Dublin survey shows a slight improvement, but the gap between workers persists

working conditions

On 12 April last, the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions presented to the European Parliament in Brussels the summary report on its survey of working conditions in Europe, often dubbed the ‘Dublin survey’ on account of the city where this European Union body is based. Some 40,000 workers from 34 countries in Europe, including the 27 European Union members, were interviewed about their work. Part of the survey, conducted in 2010, relates to occupational health risks.

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3/05/2012

The Spectre of the Precariat

london protest

A spectre is haunting Europe in the form of a new class-in-the-making called the precariat and it is still unclear how this new class will restructure the political landscape. This was one of the main messages of a presentation by Guy Standing, Professor of Economic Security at the University of Bath, during the April Monthly Forum of the ETUI on 27 April 2012.

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23/04/2012

Economic crisis leads to large-scale deregulation of labour law in Europe

A new working paper published by ETUI maps the labour law reforms in various European countries either triggered by the crisis or introduced using the crisis – falsely – as an excuse. Such reforms generally render existing labour law provisions more flexible and loosen minimum standards, shifting the emphasis to soft law (deregulation).

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3/04/2012

Working conditions in Europe: mounting inequalities

Working conditions are deteriorating in Europe, helping to reinforce social inequalities between workers, in particular in terms of health. Such is the conclusion drawn at the end of a two-day seminar staged in late March in Brussels by the ETUI. This event, originally intended for the research community, attracted a far wider audience of some 170 participants: proof that even at a time of economic crisis, the question of working conditions remains more than ever a major social issue.

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27/03/2012

Stronger social dimension needed in Rio+20 process

Clear targets and more political emphasis on sustainable growth, employment and social justice are needed if the Rio+20 conference in June 2012 is to become a real success. This was the main outcome of a two-day debate organised by ETUI and ETUC on 12-13 March at the Danish Metalworkers’ School in Jørlunde, Denmark.

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6/03/2012

Social inequality worsening in European Union

benchmarking cover

A new comprehensive study launched on 5 March by the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) confirms growing forms of social inequality in all EU member states. This worrying trend is the result of long-term policy choices for market liberalism and the prioritisation of harsh austerity programmes as a result of the financial and fiscal crisis post-2008.

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