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 Full text 
Wednesday, 11 November 2015 - Brussels Revised edition

European Semester package - Annual Growth Survey 2016 (debate)

  Anneliese Dodds (S&D). Mr President, I hope that as Commissioner Dombrovskis drafts the new Annual Growth Survey, he will rectify two major problems with its predecessor.

First, last year’s report ignores the disaster of competitive wage devaluation. The economic evidence speaks for itself. Where there has been recovery, in many cases this has been driven by exports, with the notable exception, of course, of my own country, the UK, which has an appalling current account deficit. Across much of the EU, demand from domestic consumption has stagnated, and it has often stagnated because wages have stagnated or even fallen. Increasing the incomes of the least well-off people across Europe is one of the most effective and sustainable ways of promoting growth. I hope this will be acknowledged, rather than dismissed, in the new report.

Second, last year’s report only promoted the involvement of social partners in implementing decisions – decisions that were taken by others – yet trade unions in particular often play an essential role in increasing workforce skills and productivity. Five minutes from where I live, there is a factory that produces three mini cars every minute. Trade unionists in that factory, working hand-in-hand with management, have introduced radical innovations, both in production methods and also in management of the workforce.

Commissioner Dombrovskis, we have got rid of many relics from the 1970s: flares, kipper ties and Abba have all gone, whether we like it or not. Please can we also get rid of outdated attitudes about trade unionists and put them right back at the heart of decision-making around the economy, where they belong.

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