- Unemployed now clearly in sights of Troika
- Same report downgrades growth forecasts
The reports of those who have seen the latest draft report by the European Commission about Ireland make chilling reading. It is clear that the Commission now has unemployed people and the social welfare system in its sights. The suggestion that having unemployment benefits that do not diminish over time represents an ‘unemployment trap’ is clearly nonsense. The reason there are so many people unemployed is simple – there are very few jobs out there as a result of cuts to the public sector and a collapse of private investment and consumer demand that has seen around five small businesses closing every day.
At the same time, the Commission reportedly is cutting its growth projections for 2013 from 1.9% to 1.4%, and its projections for this year from 0.5% to 0.4%. This is ascribed to the decline in external demand. In reality it is due to the impact of austerity in Ireland and across Europe. The EU is heading for its second recession within three years, with Germany itself now facing difficulties. Austerity has failed dramatically to bring any economic growth. Yet the prescription from the Commission is to apply yet more austerity.
The Troika will be demanding more cuts in what will be one of the harshest budgets of the crisis. Fine Gael and Labour will undoubtedly comply. An attack on social welfare will bring immense increased suffering for tens of thousands. What is needed is to prepare for a struggle to oppose yet more attacks that will destroy lives and the economy. It is radical socialist policies, rather than a continuation of austerity, that are necessary to exit from the crisis.