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2005-06-15

Slovak creativity and the SPÖ's idea of solidarity 

Faced with stubbornly high unemployment, currently at 17.5% in spite of a rapidly growing economy, the economically liberal Slovak government is experimenting with a new idea to reduce its burden. Unemployed residents of several border regions are to receive a subsidy of up to 50 euros per month for a period of three months to cover travel expenses if they commute to a job in the border regions of EU-neighbours Poland, Czech Republic, Austria (unemployment 4.6% but rising), and Hungary. (Der Standard [DE]).

The Austrian yellow press is fuming, as this cover [DE] shows: "Slovakia sends us unemployed". No need to worry, says chancellor Schüssel in a rapid intervention, the Austrian homeland is saved by the 7-year suspension of the freedom of work that bars all citizens of the new EU-members from taking employment here.

And here is what the socialdemocrats of the SPÖ have to say [DE], through chairwoman Doris Bures:
SPÖ-chairwoman Doris Bures characterised the plan of the Slovak governement as "extreme unsolidarity". This export of unemployed from Slovakia was another mosaic-piece of the mistaken European politics, criticises Bures, who appealed to [conservative] chancellor Schüssel to pronounce a firm verdict [Machtwort].
Right at the moment when the mistaken neo-liberal course of individual European governments had received a clear rejection by the European population, the Slovak government wanted to go one step further in the direction of neo-liberal deregulation, criticised Bures. Moving problems from one EU-country to another was not what the SPÖ understood by European solidarity and ambitious European politics.
This is the correct translation and not a parody. Well-understood European solidarity, SPÖ-style: "Solve your own problems, beggar-my-neighbour dude!" Stupid me, and I thought that the lack of labour mobility within the EU was one of Europe's structural deficits that is threatening the viability of the euro and putting Europe at a competitive disadvantage to the US.


3 comments:

"Extreme unsolidarity".

Fantastic. Does she have a blog?
 

Sadly, Doris Bures doesn't have a blog. In fact, not a single politician or activist of the SPÖ - the largest Austrian party according to opinion polls - has a blog, quite in contrast to their competition. I'm sure the SPÖ has a reason.
 

I am aware that this is not properly formulated but could not the fact that the unemployment insurance burdens are unequal accross borders justify a negative response?

If there were insurance harmonisation, or indeed if social security were an EU agenda then there would be no case. It seems to me though, that creating a system of mobility without harmonising the saftey net must lead to resentment.

It might not show solidarity, but it is perhaps understandable, no?

I will not defend this to the death, it just occurred to me
 
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