Media around the world dedicate untold column inches to the global economic crisis that has gripped much of the international community. Under the pretext of the crisis social concerns are disappearing from the political agenda. It is clear that for some governments the crisis is being used as an excuse to attack long established rights, such as rights to strike, collective agreements and social security systems. Across Europe, governments are implementing severe spending cuts; gutting essential services, increasing unemployment and disproportionately hitting those most in need.
Our overwhelming preoccupation with the financial dimension of the crisis has stopped decision-makers from seeing society as a whole. This is also a social crisis that brought for many people the fear of losing jobs and ability to house and feed families. There is no doubt that the crisis presents a real challenge, but it is also an opportunity to make the transition to the green, sustainable society that we so urgently need. We need a future that guarantees equal opportunities, equal rights and robust social protections for all, a future which guarantees investment in both people and society.
The pamphlet gives examples of the work currently on the agenda of the Green/EFA Group and emphasizes the message that the response to the current economic climate can and should be the beginning of a more inclusive society, where market rules are not allowed to override fundamental social rights.
This excerpt has been adapted from the forward to the pamphlet written by Jean Lambert.