In a statement, Richard Boyd Barrett, TD for the People Before Profit Alliance and Finance spokesperson for the United Left Alliance, said that the elections that took place last weekend gave two European countries the chance to tell their governments just what they thought about austerity policies: the result at the voting polls was a resounding rejection of policies which have stifled growth and increased unemployment. The peoples of Europe have told their governments that they want to see a jobs creation strategy and an end to high unemployment – not austerity policies designed to save banks and speculators.
A clear majority of French and Greek citizens voted for parties opposed to growth-stifling austerity measures, while in Spain, Portugal and elsewhere people are continuing to resist through unions and mass protests. As the right in Europe shuffles to save its discredited arguments for austerity – a policy purely designed to save the financial elites – even the ECB’s president, Mario Draghi, is now feeling the pressure of people power and calling for a ‘growth compact’. Despite this important shift in Europe, our government is stubbornly clinging on to a treaty that will institutionalize the failed and discredited policies of austerity.
Richard Boyd Barrett said: “The world has not fallen apart following Sunday’s resounding rejection of austerity policies in France and Greece, as the fanatical ideologues of austerity would have liked us to believe. Yet, Fine Gael and Labour remain married to the failed and discredited agenda of austerity and a treaty that seeks to institutionalize it.”
“The imposition of austerity policies in recent years has come mainly from the ECB and the EU’s right-wing governments whose interest is primarily to protect the riches of financial institutions. Finally the tide is beginning to swing against the dictatorship of bankers and financial markets, yet our government seems to be blind to this fact – clinging to this crazy austerity treaty.
“We urgently need a jobs creation agenda – a real one – not a fantasy agenda that only exists on the lips of our government’s spokespeople. There is a direct contradiction between signing up to the targets contained in the treaty and claiming on the other hand that you want promote job creation and growth. The direct consequence of signing up to the treaty would be to impose a level of austerity that will strangle economic growth and lead to even more unemployment. The government should stop wasting time and resources promoting this crazy treaty and, instead, stand with the forces in Europe that are challenging the austerity agenda and demanding that growth and jobs become the central priority.”