“From an economic perspective, cuts in public spending, social security and wages are not effective against the current crisis because they particularly affect those who receive the lowest wages, the unemployed, pensioners and other social groups in need of special protection - children, the elderly and disabled, migrants.”
“These so called austerity measures only further limit these people’s spending and means to support themselves. They thus constitute a real threat to democracy and social rights,” said Andrej Hunko (Germany, UEL), rapporteur on this subject, at a hearing on the crisis and its effects, organised in Paris by PACE’s Committee on Social Affairs. According to the rapporteur, measures best suited to achieve a balanced budget include reorienting austerity programs for economic growth and new taxes on high incomes and financial transactions.
Luca Volontè (Italy, EPP/CD), rapporteur on "the younger generation sacrificed: the social, economic and political crisis," believes that the main challenge is to free the first hostage of the financial crisis: young people. He believes they face a series of structural problems in society: less access to employment, housing and social services, the inability to choose their area of study, the emigration of highly skilled young people to countries with more dynamic economies. "The total absence of hope and the difficulties of accessing jobs and benefits could cause frustration and lead to violence against the authorities," he warned.
Sir Alan Meale (United Kingdom, SOC), rapporteur on "the impact of the global economic crisis on local and regional authorities", stressed the importance of ensuring the protection of fundamental social rights when deciding on the allocation of local budgets or the transfer of resources from government to local or regional authorities. "In times of crisis, when authorities face a higher demand for services and help for families in need, we need to adapt local and regional budgets in accordance with Article 9 of the European Charter of Local Government. The necessary reforms on local and regional finance must be viable enough to allow them to strengthen their capacity to provide quality services to their citizens, " Sir Alan recalled.