An international crowd of over 50,000 people marched to put an end to highly destructive austerity policies and to call for the implementation of progressive alternatives to lead the EU out of the crisis.
Launched by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) to send a clear message to EU leaders eight weeks before the European elections that workers have had enough to bear alone the costs of the crisis, over 50 000 people took to the streets in Brussels. An international crowd – representing 21 trade unions from across Europe – marched to put an end to highly destructive austerity policies fueling inequalities and poverty, and to call for the implementation of progressive alternatives to lead the EU out of the crisis: “A New Path for Europe”.
Adopted at the meeting of the ETUC Executive Committee on 7 November 2013, the plan for investment, sustainable growth and quality jobs “A New Path for Europe” aims to address the social and environmental challenges faced by the EU. An alternative exit from the crisis requires a substantial increase in demand that could only be provided by an EU-wide investment plan. The ETUC recommends to invest 2% of EU GDP per year over a 10-year period in energy efficiency – decrease in energy consumption to lower energy dependency and in greenhouse gas emissions –, in sustainable industries through a massive support of research and development, and in public services – whose function must not be forgotten in the completion of the ecological transition and whose quality must be improved.
In her speech held at the end of the Euro-Demonstration, Bernadette Ségol (General Secretary of the ETUC) vigorously called for “an immediate end of austerity. We paid to save the banks and to save the euro. Europe needs a new path!” She also insisted on the necessity to push for a sustainable re-industrialization Europe capable of generating growth and quality jobs. Before she left, she urged the demonstrators to vote at the forthcoming EU elections “to give Europe a new direction.”