"No exit from the crisis without a strong social union" say S&D Euro MPs

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Following the publication of the European Commission's contribution on the social dimension of the economic and monetary union (EMU), S&D Group president Hannes Swoboda and S&D vice-president responsible for social policy Stephen Hughes made this statement:

"The Socialists and Democrats believe that the economic and monetary union will not be effective unless it is also based on a strong social union.

"For many months the Socialists and Democrats have been urging the Commission to act to build the social dimension of the economic and monetary union (EMU).

"Drastic austerity policies in Europe and the lack of effective social governance have caused mass unemployment, falling wages, cuts in social protection and growing poverty and social exclusion, with a whole generation of young people in despair.

"The contribution unveiled by the European Commission today will not cause a revolution but it is a start.

"At least the Commission has proposed setting up a scoreboard to help identify major employment and social problems acrossEurope.

"We can only redress the divergences between the different parts of Europe and the eurozone which have exacerbated during the recent crisis if we have a complete set of information on the state of the EU and the living conditions of European citizens.

"Social indicators are useless if they are not binding. We need a social governance policy at the same level as economic governance policies in the EU.

"The Socialists and Democrats also back the proposal for a European unemployment benefit scheme to help member states in the eurozone to fight long-term unemployment and poverty.

"In the meantime we urge EU governments to use the European funds available to put in place a youth guarantee to help young people who are out of work.

"Above all, Europe needs to break with the blind austerity policies that have caused so much harm and despair inEurope.

"The Socialists and Democrats have an alternative vision for Europe, working towards more growth, jobs, equality, decent work and social cohesion."