austerityIn yesterday’s post, we asked whether or not you thought the EU represented solidarity. We got a strong response, with many angry commenters answering that they did not believe there was solidarity in Europe today (as well as one or two slightly more hopeful comments suggesting that it could still be achieved). In a previous comment, Manuel had told us that he believed real solidarity in Europe was achieved through the welfare system and the so-called “European social model”:

The european social model is based on the principle of solidarity. Solidarity between the rich and the poor; the people who are able to work and those who are not; the healthy and ill.

Several of you have written in about the future of the European social model (or ‘models’) and whether it is still sustainable in an era of budget cuts and public austerity. Carlos, for example, argued that Europe could keep its social model, as long as it made certain necessary reforms:

citizen_icon_180x180With the proper modifications the ‘European Social Model’ can survive. Obviously the so-called ‘French social model’ is not sustainable in the long-run and this present economic crisis is showing that. However, if the burden of the healthcare spending can be shared more evenly between patients and state, then we can maintain the European social model.

Others argue that austerity is just an excuse to pursue a free market ideology and destroy much-cherished public institutions. Paul, for example, sent in the following:

citizen_icon_180x180We must not allow neo-liberalism to destroy the European social models. Over the years, there have been attempts to dismantle it always using cost or misuse/abuse [or] demographics as reasons. But do we want to become like a third world country without a social safety net?

Speaking during a “Citizens’ Dialogue” event in Tallinn earlier this month, the European Commissioner for the Euro, Olli Rehn, argued that deep and comprehensive economic reforms were still needed if Europe wants to ensure its social model is sustainable. He stressed, however, that the “European social model” was a cornerstone of European society, and that he believes it should remain in place:

rehn-speaksClinging to the status-quo would only lead to the permanent economic decline of Europe [but I’m not talking about] dismantling the European social model… Instead, we need to work by genuinely reforming and modernising the social market economy in Europe for the sake of sustainable growth, better growth and sustainable job creation.

Debating Europe has put together an infographic to illustrate some of the facts and figures on welfare spending in EU member states (note: you can click on the image below to get a higher-resolution version). It’s important to point out that some of the statistics need to be taken with caveats (e.g. not all member states have a minimum wage, and though we have measured minimum wage in euros, not all countries belong to the Single Currency). Nonetheless, it should be clear from the data that there is a great deal of variety within the so-called ‘European social model’ (Bulgaria, for example, has one of the lowest rates of healthcare spending as a percentage of GDP, whilst having a relatively high amount of paid maternity leave).

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – 401(K) 2012

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What do YOU think? Is Europe's social model still sustainable? Should it be reformed, or scrapped altogether? Or is the drive for austerity ideologically motivated? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we'll take them to policy-makers and experts for their reaction.

  1. avatar
    Fer Nandinho

    99% pf the social models in Europe are not sustainable, our pensions, our health systems, our expenditures, the contamination levels, food…so austerity is just like putting an extra petrol into the fire…wont help, but it will burn quicker…

    • avatar

      Sorry but if our social model is not sustainable (which I agree with) how does austerity not help fix this (as it reduces what the social model offers)? If anything, the best way for Europe to go is less social welfare, more euros in the pockets of citizens and more productivity?

    • avatar

      There is no unique European social model.Sure it s better than those of the USA or the third world countries .It has to stay based on the international Cherter of the human rights first.Than we have to stop to always try to do straight to the liberal corporatism system or just be happy that we are not unemployed yet and start thinking beyond the economical reality. Then we have to more harmonise the civil society sector and the labour market, adjust the minimum wage and try to control the social welfare system (abuses, forever unemployed without really looking for a job or have a big family without having the means to raise their children) and tax the multirich companies who abuse too because today there are moor poor people and the welth is concentrated in the hands of small number of people.But countries reduces every year their social budget saying that there has to be savings which is not normal. And really but really trying to take our suggestions seriously in debatingeurope and not just make statistics. Cause everything and everyone has its limits and we begin to feel like a sacrified generations.

    • avatar

      I can appreciate the sentiment but think beyond the economic reality? How does one do that? Money is just a measure of value, you either have it, will have it or don’t have it. These benefits must be accounted for somehow unless you think people are going to volounteer the time on mass and equally? And minimum wage which a fair few are calling for is no instant solution as inflation can wipe out any gains unless people are encouraged to spend. Also are we sure we want these companies paying more tax (when they can easily move abroad) when we’d rather they were using the money to make more jobs? I’d rather have 10 businesses paying less tax creating jobs than 5 companies taxed to death.
      I don’t mind a social benefits but they have to be paid for in a way a countries creditors find acceptable, unless we want a rerun of Greece!
      I can understand the wanting more social benefits but at the moment feel we should be looking to ourselves and not to governments for aid.

  2. avatar
    Davey Brown

    The EU social model is one that is already leading to social collapse and violence. The recent events in Greece are just the beginning. You are the architects of your own destruction, we the free people shall be the instrument.

  3. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris

    Ideologicaly motivated for sure.. The rich elites are losing out bow that China and India are rising and pose a threat on the monopoly the Western oligarchs and super rich capitalists had on people and resources all over the world.. So how to compensate the loses and keep the profits coming? Scrap all social security policies and has us working for nothing.. They never liked paying for them anyway…

  4. avatar
    Parthena Papadopoulou

    No i think it is not sustainable any more. Its time for onother road. The current system does not drive anywhere. Yes absolutely must reformed. Austerity must end. People needs money to make investments for the unemployd people and other areas such health educattion. ?conomist from all the Europe must make conference to find solutions. Austerity is out of time

  5. avatar

    I sincerely believe the social model is one of the strengths of the EU. As an institution born out of an asocial, industrial focus on large steel- and coal production, the EU has shown some improvement by enforcing social and worker’s rights. The infographs above show a one-sided image: only the costs are included in the’ charts. However, this leads us to forget that healthier workers and minimum wage (and increase purchasing power) also form a large contribution to our economy.

    The international ‘race to the bottom’ for cheaper wages has led to extreme situations of poverty and abuse. The continuous strikes of garment workers in bangladesh, for example, can be compared to the European social drama’s during the industrial revolution in the European Union. We can be an example for the world.

    • avatar
      rui david

      Short and to the point. I totally agree with you. Thanks.

    • avatar

      We’ll have to get rid of the EU first. The EU is the tool of the rich and corporations to facilitate the race to the bottom.

  6. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris

    In Greece we used to have rights.. Christmas bonuses, Sunday work pay, free health care.. Because Greece had strong unions both in the public but also in the private sector.. That is why it is targeted by the global capitalists.. Countries like Ireland never faced such grilling by them and the media that they control, because in the private sector there is no union activity at all, they have established an absolute liberalized labor market that the capitalists love… That is why Ireland is being respected by the global media despite being also bailed out.. Greece on the other hand is being brought to its knees, to smash the unions and force compliance.. Got the lesson kiddos?

    • avatar
      Paul X

      ..and where did all the money come from to pay for your health care, Christmas bonus & Sunday pay?
      It’s all very well yearning for a socialist eutopia but somebody down the line has to pay for it and that is usually the very capitalists you are complaining about because they are the only ones making money

  7. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris

    In the end of the day, if they want me to be privately insured, they should raise my salary to the level of Ireland or Luxembourg.. Raise the minimum wage to ? 1200 per month and let me find my own insurance… I will be able to afford it then… But droping the minimum wage to the level of many Eastern European countries AND ask me to be privately insured shows that the European leadership has no morals, values or idea of how to lead.. They are a disgrace to us all!!

    • avatar
      Paul X

      And there in lies one of the biggest flaws with the EU’s wonderful “free movement of workers” policy
      People from poor countries are free to work anywhere in the EU therefore wages everywhere drop to the lowest common denominator

  8. avatar
    Helder Silva

    I thought there weren’t a european social model, but rather a sum of several and diverse national models, most of them bankrupt.
    Our situation was driven by the liberal poltics that have ruled in majority over the last 15 yrs, a process initiated even earlier with Tatcher and Reagan, that hs led us to This situation where the markets rule everything and the polititions are merely There instruments with no self poltical capacity.
    And the deeper we dive, the more liberal our systems become under the flag of austerity.

  9. avatar
    Jaime Martins

    O problema no reside na segurana social mas sim na corrupo e nas reformas de quem nunca descontou para ter tais valores de reforma. Criem um sistema de Segurana Social, sustentvel e justo para toda a Europa.

  10. avatar
    Samo Košmrlj

    in the world where 20% of the population produces all the goods needed, it is clear that social system can be more generous than ever before. what we need is effectiveness, because money gets lost in the pockets of few selected individuals along the way and that is why it seems unsustainable.

  11. avatar
    Anastasia Petraki

    the European social programme has to immitate the Norwegian social policy….there is democratic deficit, official fraud and upsence of social justice in almost every aspect of Europeans daily life…..we have to re establish the primary values of European Union….we have to remember the reasons that brought together the european states after the 2nd world war…..finally the current mentality of capitalism has failed cause real economy suffers from stock markets and head funds…..we need a new ballance both personally and politically

    • avatar

      Who’s gonna give other countries similar quantities of oil that Norway has?

  12. avatar

    The Social model can only be sustainable if it runs on a better market economy. More competition and more private business knowledge. Education explaining that these social policies have a cost that must be accounted for (or planned for through reasonable debt).
    If Europe wants to compete with the likes of the US/Asia it must be prepared to tell people they need to work more or work smarter, and businesses (that pay tax or invest in the EU) must be persuaded to have a strong operation here.
    Companies should get out of closed shop union agreements and people should be allowed to work at whatever level they wish to.
    Minimum wage should be kept but should rise at equal or lower the inflation rate when looking to boost employment (and most certainly should never be raised just to keep workers happy). It should pay to work more or not gain more skills. Get people into work and then worry about raising their wealth.
    The best way to help Europe is to teach them to fish, not to just give them fish.

    • avatar

      Sorry meant: It should pay to work more or gain more skills. Get people into work and then worry about raising their wealth.

  13. avatar
    Joseph Bartolo

    Why do the citizens of Europe mainly the working class and the pensioners have to pay and suffer more ? While the Rich such as the Royal Families of Europe find a way out without suffering the same fate like everyon else of the majority. Its time for the citizens to stop this once and for all without violence.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Joseph Bartolo
      I don’t know what country you come from BUT in my country (UK) the Royal Family does not set dodgy Libor rates or sell junk derivatives or basically screw people’s finances over – perhaps you should refer to the recent debate about monarchies on this website about same some time AGO?

  14. avatar
    George Danieldsg

    E.U. treaty and existence means that every citizen has the proper income for a living LIKE EVERY PROTECTED ANIMAL without any intevention from bureaucrats.It is a simple human action which solves basic social problems.Without that precondition there is no meaning for any further debate.

  15. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris

    Paul X the capitalists are making money by exploiting my sweat and hard work… The least they can do is to give me what I deserve..And that is not just a piece of bread, that many would like to give me.. Europe should not become India or China..We fought hard for our rights, there is no going back to slavery my friend!!

    • avatar

      But what do you deserve? Or what does any European deserve? If those in India and China are working harder than us Europeans, who are we to take away their growth?

    • avatar
      Lorena Secades

      China and India, and Brazil too, are growing so fast because they treat their people like animals, as Europe did 100 years ago, by that we have a social system, not because we were good, because we fight hard for it. We can not let people who just think in their pockets make the law and sucked everybody else!!! By that we should support the people, and not just the “good people”. Why are all the taxes systems taking money of the workers and not of the richs? Because we have let the rich to make the law, thinking that they work for everybody, well, they just work for themselves!!!

  16. avatar

    As it currently is, it is completely unsustainable. As we are beginning to find out that economies cannot grow forever.

    The EU, ECB and the IMF want to protect bankers and corporate profit at our expense (see the example of Greece for the EU/IMF/ECB agenda). So part of the solution would be to disband all three of the aforementioned.

    Bond buying and QE would just be more bailouts for the rich. After all, who owns the bonds and assets that the central banks are buying/would be buying? Exactly, the rich do.

    I’m for confiscating the wealth of every corporate type and politicians who did or made possible the mass outsourcing to non European low wage countries.

  17. avatar
    Pedro Celestino

    Quite easy:

    1- you dont put jobs on slave/lawless countries like china and/or you dont take their products.

    2- rich people pay, at the very least, as many taxes as everybody else.

    3 – If there is still not enough work for everybody (which is quite probable, because machines do most stuff) you reduce the labour time for everybody.

    4- You start to shift the economy for a sustainable based one instead of a growth based one (first thing you do is stop letting the banks create money out of thin air).

    The “funny thing” is that we produce enough food for everybody, there is more houses than people to live on them, and more knowledge than ever. It is just that must of it is in the hands of few.

  18. avatar
    catherine benning

    You ask, ‘How can we make the European ‘social’ model sustainable?’

    Well, if you can bother to take the time to read two articles from Britain you will have the key to bringing solidarity to the entire European people across all borders and across all classes. All you have to do is follow their lead. Simple.–and-finally-give-labour-some-real-competition-8651057.html

    Additionally, read this from one of our despised British members of Parliament. Read them both, forgetting who they are, only take in what they suggest in their writing and ask yourself, how much of it you agree with and wish would be implemented hastily.

  19. avatar
    Paul X

    “The european social model is based on the principle of solidarity. Solidarity between the rich and the poor; the people who are able to work and those who are not; the healthy and ill”

    The issue is not about those who are able to work and those who can’t, but those who are able to work but can’t be bothered because they get as much from the state for lying in bed all day

    • avatar
      catherine benning

      Paul X you are out of your little mind.

      In Britain, no one gets as much from the state by lying in bed all day as they would working. However, I admit the minimum wage in the UK is so low you need at least two jobs to sustain a minimum lifestyle and three jobs if you have a family. And to make this point lawyers are preparing a case for going to the EU courts of justice to establish that the removal of this £51pw, in order for the now unemployed to have to work for no wage at all, is why this government and people like you who back them, want us out of Europe. You want to free the Tories from any Human Rights obligationsl. And the world knows it. You are not fooling anybody.

      What is being proposed in my country presently, is worse than the $2.00 a day those out of work in the USA get. Which is why you, Paul X, have your head so far up their jumper as what they have you want to see in the UK.

      Look at this people, this is what this person is backing for a so called civilized society where the population have been paying into a ponzi scheme of benefit promises for years. He is advocating slave labour for his people. And that goes against our human rights. …Shudder, at the naming of human rights because the likes of you and Farage want to reduce us to a third world existence, whilst you spout ‘winner takes all.’

      Food banks in the UK. Run and financed by charities. Thousands being thrown into homelessness by the week. That is what we are seeing and this berk is advocating.

      Feast your eyes on modern Britain folks.

      But lets go one further than that. People in the UK pay into a system called taxation and national insurance that is sold to them as a fund held to help them should they fall on hard times and be out of work as a result. That benefit is £77.00 a week to stave off starvation. And to lie to take peoples money and con them into paying for war, MP’s expenses that they cheat, wealthy billionaires being supported by that same ‘benefit’ in order for them to have no responsibility for their work force, is called fraud. And you want to support our government in their fraud.

      Ian Duncan Smith who has proposed this attack on the disabled and the poor in my country is a hurry come up gigolo who lives off his wife’s inheritance. And the cheeky bugger got this way because he couldn’t fill non paying jobs on his wife’s vast estate by offering run down cottages as tied work no pay to the locals where he lives. And this threw a bad light on him as he couldn’t fill the need for employees to run his little game. As those locals couldn’t work for nothing. So now he has them in the palm of his hand he thinks.

      And you are paying tax and NI I assume? Yes. Well you suddenly get made redundant or laid off, and low and behold you have to line up for JSA. They tell you that it doesn’t matter how much you paid into the fraud kitty, you do not qualify for the £77.00 a week unless you are will to work for that benefit without getting the minimum wage as a punishment for being made unemployed. On top of that you face deliberate homelessness and that same government wants to tax you a further bedroom tax of £14pw as you have an extra room the size of a cupboard. Which is also going EUHRC for assessment.

      Therefore what I put up on this forum was what is needed throughout the entire EU states in order to save the people from another war brought about by pigs with their snouts in the trough who are backed by slow thinkers like you.

      And the idea of the proletariat being educated in the truth rattles those who are doing very nicely off the state paying their wage bills for them doesn’t it? They fear the backlash that is on its way. That’s what is annoying you about me. I won’t keep my big mouth shut and let you and yours away with the fraud will I? No, I won’t.

    • avatar

      The social model should be more about providing opportunities to all to do better. Not some egalitarian utopia which benefits some over others.

  20. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris

    JJ we deserve to work and get paid for it what the law says that we should be paid.. We deserve to have quality of life, and to be looked after if we have a health issue that prevents us from working for some time.. We are also entitled to pension..we can not work forever..We are not machines… even machines are out of order at some stage.. We are human beings and we deserve to have a work -life balance.. we deserve to have a family, Europe needs children.. We deserve education and so as parents we should be able to educate our children too.. I hope that clears some things for you…

    • avatar

      I agree all those things are nice to have. I wouldn’t say we deserve them though. We work for them and should have the opportunity to have them but I fail to see how Europeans can say these are minimum requirements (without thinking of whether we can afford them). Not only that but how can the EU say it deserves these things more than other nations?! None of these things are rights but to aim to have them (which I agree is a noble goal) we need to be responsible to know how to afford these without being totalitarian about it.

    • avatar
      catherine benning

      JJ: Yes we do deserve all the benefits we have. Why, because we pay for them. Ask yourself what are you paying taxes and NI for? So that governments can pretend to you it will educate your children for free, then doesn’t? So that government can buy billions of pounds or pay billions of Euro’s to the US for WMD and nuclear bases? So that government can tell you they will give you free healthcare, then take the money and give it to bankers to bail them out of their bad business decisions instead? What are you saying here?

      Tell me what is it you feel we do deserve for our tax money then? Foreign aid whilst our own starve? Is that it? Perhaps you feel we should pay all this tax so the government officials can enjoy tax free perks, and live high on the hog with our hard earned cash? Hasn’t stopped them feeling they deserve it, has it?

      You sound like a cap doffing simpleton who feels he should be footing the bill of those who despise your working principles. Are you happy with how Europe has spent your forced donations called tax?. That they take from you by whether you are hungry or not, to simply throw around in any way they wish?

      I quite definitely feel I deserve what I was led to believe I was getting by paying taxes. And remember, every penny you are allowed to keep is also taxed on top of tax already taken when you dare to spend it. And I know for a fact I deserve a decent living wage. I deserve a health care system I was told I was paying for. I deserve my children to have an excellent education for my money was taken under the pretense of giving me this. I deserve my receipt of benefits should I fall on hard times, because I was told I would receive when needed. Damn right I deserve it. I have been paying through the nose for it. And no it is not nirvana. It is plain good old common sense and more than possible if those who lie at elections got their head around it and did what they tell us they are going to do.

      So what kind of idiot are you buying into the Capitalist lie that we will only get a meager living if we work for nothing and let them take the lot to squander, willy nilly on their greedy selves and chums. Wake up and smell the coffee.

      Of course you deserve what you have paid for collectively. Do you think we would pay taxes if they told us they were going to throw it around the way they do by not giving us what they tell us they will use it for? No, you would not. And neither would anyone else. And they in government know that too. Which is why they lie to us in the first place in order to get us to cough up.

    • avatar

      @Catherine. Hello, I was wondering when you might reply. For my Taxes and NI, I expected the Government to provide the best education they could, free Healthcare at the point of delivery for reasonable procedures, a fair foreign policy to benefit Britain in the short and long term, a force and staff to protect the rule of law as best as any human force can, a defense worthy of any global requirement (for a short term deployment), a green policy that is balanced, a trade policy that is global, an economic policy that puts Britain back on its feet and looks to help everyone do better and likely many other policies that are generically great. I realise however that at the moment all these wants cost more than the UK produces (the debt burden) and as such may have to accept that the UK pinches a few pennies here or there to offer the vast majority of what I expect on the whole.
      Furthermore I believe that a mixed economy is both historically and hypothetically the most successful and humane way of growth that the world knows of so far (and let’s be under no illusion that any European economy is a capitalist economy as otherwise we’d be dealing with a large amount of employed people thanks to the collapse of the banks).
      I deserve no more than what my taxes deliver. I can suggest the government is inefficient in many ways but realise that not only are politicians human but they must compromise for the greater will of the voters. If I find them really bad I can help vote them out, though I except some inefficiencies because markets aren’t perfect. I am however extremely grateful for what I get. I am only one voter and not the will of the people, but as the UK voted for austerity I expect that the view of the people recently was to role up sleeves and works hard (and to worry about our benefits later), this may change soon but let us hope Ed Balls is not let anywhere near a budget decision.
      Regarding your rather personal attack, I expect to have to work my way through the world and capitalism gives me the freedom to succeed, I do not expect others with good will to be able to provide for me. I’m voiced in finance and economics, but through your rant you don’t seem to say how we can afford everything you deserve? Most EU countries are currently running a defect however you somehow expect them to give you an incredible life?? Are you sure your taxes afford as much as you think?

  21. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris.

    JJ I did not say that we deserve them more than other nations.. What other nations do for their citizens is not of my concern.. If they want their citizens to work for 2 dollars a day without any health insurance or working rights, and have them working 12 hours a day with no overtime paid, then it is up to their citizens to rise up against this abuse and exploitation.. We in Europe did in the past and we should maintain our rights.. People dies for us to have them.. I hear that in the UK many companies can have their employees working for as many hours needed with no notice.. Or change their roster the last minute and call them for work.. This is disgraceful practices… People need their time and to have a work-life balance… We are humans and we need quality of life, not to be exploited by some wealth mongering folk….

    • avatar

      Fair enough Chritos, I can understand the will to have a good balance, I agree it’s worth striving for but I worry when I see the word deserving. I live in a successful area (non EU) which works long hours, longer hours on average than any European country does and generally have more diplomas than any European I’ve ever hired (as an equivalent). They do well and could on average as a society earn enough for the comforts Europe has, but it is not offered (despite there being a horrible inbalance in wages). Few here I believe would ask for what Europe does, the local belief is the harder you work, the more you get (I’d suggest a fair suggestion though this is a horrible simplification and there are exceptions) and that one should control as much of their own income as possible. I’m no spokesperson but as an EU expat I haven’t the heart to tell them they don’t deserve as much as any European, what they lose in social benefits however they gain in the freedom to decide their own fate economically, a goal I believe is far more worthwhile than the sedate existence a socialist EU has us inching towards.
      You are right regarding the UK, whilst working there I was typically given a document (which I was expected to sign) allowing me to opt of a limited working hour arrangement. I see no harm in this, I sign into work to do a job, not to work a certain amount of hours, I expect and count on my colleagues to work to their goal and not just the hours required (I admit this is sometimes hard to do). There is still a limit however (it’s not save labour) and I would prefer as country we aim for this balance than say the French 35 hour week which seemed to ignore the economic idea of the “lump of labour fallacy”.
      I am proud of what Europe has achieved, and where it is affordable (not the case at the moment for many countries) I believe the country should use taxes to provide a minimum safety net, however I am very grateful for what already exists and believe more isn’t deserved but should be worked for in the now (and not live off our descendants deeds).

  22. avatar
    Paul X

    So Catherine
    “In Britain, no one gets as much from the state by lying in bed all day as they would working”…….Well Here’s one…

    ..and here’s a few more ……..

    It’s my tax & NI they are blowing on cheap cider and takeaways and I’m perfectly entitled to complain about it without you jumping on some high horse

    • avatar
      maude elwes

      Paul X:

      Oh, pleeese, you have to be kding me. Even you must have the wit to read these articles and know they are propaganda right wing stories made up to induce the sheep to hate their fellow man even when their lives have been turned inside out because of them.

      First of ll this woman was in a job that paid her £120K pa. And on that she must have had a considerably high tax bill. So she paid her way and is getting what she is due. Yet, you despise her for it. Even though she is one of you. Typical of Tory loyalty. Not to mention you despise the fact she as a woman is facing up to her difficulties without the creep she married looking after her and his children as is his duty.

      Then the article is completely unclear on every level. It gives no facts of how, what when and where. It’s a clap piece of journalism and designed to foster hatred toward the fellow man. It is the politics of envy. I hope this happens to someone close to you and then you will see how these articles lie through their teeth.

      But instead of dwelling on the unfortunate why not lets have a look at the brand called ‘doing well’ and see how they fiddle their taxes as well as their expenses along with anything else they can get their hands on in order to reduce the standards of the working poor and their middle class sisters and brothers, shall we? Lets start with how those same foxy bankers, who robbed the world, are doing so well today as they are, once again, put in charge of the chickens by the leader of the ‘free world.’.

      Followed by, how people continue to allow those who robbed our social fund to continue to live high on the hog. When, if they had to repay what they stole. we would be back in business as usual.

      Here is a good read which will tell you all about it. Sit down in a comfy chair and feast on the revelations.

  23. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris.

    JJ I personally find disgraceful to be asked to be working any amount of hours and at anytime as you are always on call.. I work 8 hours, that is a third of my day, that is a third of my life.. If a company needs me to work more, it must be with my agreement and I should be paid for it… Otherwise it is slavery..

    I have a life, I have plans, I have obligations to my family.. Imagine if you are a father and you can not spend enough time with your family.Or even worse, a mother.. Just because your boss thinks he/she owns you, at any time.. Is this a society we want to create?

    I understand that there are many people, lazy, who abuse the system and being unproductive and want to do as little as they can.. I have worked in the public and private sector, both in Greece and in Ireland and I found people like these in every job, both in the public and private sector.. They are not a reason to allow big companies to take away our rights as human beings..

    Coming from a Mediterranean country, I pride myself of the very balanced work-life status I have established.. AngloSaxon nations, think of it as being lazy.. Well I call them irrational and sad, that they think that the meaning of life is to work two jobs, just to be able to have a large fridge, a big car, a big house and everything that the media push in my face, but deprive my children of my presence at home, a normal social life, mental health and find happiness just in consuming things that I do not really need.

    That is not a society I want to live in..I totally disagree with the American, AngloSaxon or Protestant ethos, that happiness is to always consume and accumulate wealth.. I disagree with capitalism not in a ideological ground, but with the practicalities of it and what it does to human beings..It just turns them mad, sad over-consuming, moaning minging little creatures , with doses of perfectionism and delusion..

    If my holidays are not exactly as I was told I will cause an uproar and give people hell, because I am working all year to pay for those holidays and they are not what I expected. You live for 2 weeks a year and the rest you are a robot, that someone owns.. Then you go to places like Spain and Greece, and you are jealous of the lifestyle they are having, while you moan about it as you fight to book your sunbed by the pool the previous night by placing your towel on them..

    If someone dares to move your towels you call for the manager to explain him/herself!! Seriously.. If this is the kind of people that we want to inherit the Earth, I want to stop this planet to get off..Can I please?

    The media and the American/AngloSaxon dominated economic and political circles want to turn all humans into hard working, not thinking -because you have no time for it-, little demanding, little protesting, manic consuming, massively producing machines..While it is clear that this system destroys our planet and exhausts our resources..

    I am not in.. When I work, I work hard, as hard as a German if not harder… And yes I work overtime often, if only I am paid for it or it is taken into consideration and appreciated by my employer.. But I decline to be called on my allocated day off, when I have planned to deal with my house chores, deal with the bank, the revenue, the tax office and everything else that the government or this capitalist system demands me to deal with, so that my employer see his job done but I develop cancer on my liver because of the stress of having to catch up to deadlines of paying bills etc…

    I do not expect from the government to provide me with everything, as other hard line socialists/communists do..But if the government decides that I should seek private insurance, then it should lower the taxes I am paying and give me higher salary so that I can afford to pay for private pension schemes and insurance..

    What happens though is that the capitalist elites want me to be private insured and have a low salary or pay the taxes to cover their mistakes they do when they take risks to invest in their various projects, to make money.. Well here is where I protest.. They want their cake and eat it.. And it is unacceptable I think…

  24. avatar
    Paul X

    The basic issue is that workers “rights” should never be detrimental to the needs of the business or the simple fact it the business will fail and the workers can forget about rights as they will have no job

    This is why the UK has very little manufacturing industry because short sighted left wing unions brought companies to their knees with their demands. You can “demand” all you want but despite all the socialist rhetoric a lot of businesses do not have bottomless pots of gold to dish out to workers every time they fancy a pay rise or better pension contributions

    • avatar
      Christos Mouzeviris.

      Then they should not be in business… They like making profits and expanding their business on the shoulders of others.. If you want me to work overtime, then pay for it.. And why bankers and economists are being given bonuses for the job they do, but a worker is not entitled to them? Seriously something is wrong with your standards!! .. The UK has no manufacturing because of Thatcher… She changed Britain’s economy from a production industry to a financial sector and services industry..And I do not remember her being a socialist or left wing!!

  25. avatar
    Paul X

    So you are trying to tell me a business is only there for the benefit of its employees?, excuse me if I don’t agree. A business is there to make a product or provide a service and it has to do it competitively or it will not succeed. If it doesn’t succeed then it closes and people lose jobs. That is the basic fact and no amount of socialist fantasy can create a business that can pay its workers as much as they want and still keep afloat

    …and as for the old “blame Thatcher” routine. Lets clear one thing up, a Prime Minister cannot close an industry…. end of story. If a business is profitable then it will keep going even if mickey mouse is PM. All she did was remove the subsidies (i.e. my Taxes) that were propping up failing industries, and they were failing because of hard line left wing unions making British industry completely uncompetitive and the laughing stock of the industrial world.
    The majority of those who complain about Thatcher clearly weren’t around in the seventies before she came in, suffering power cuts, rubbish and rats on the street, unburied bodies etc etc due to militant socialist idiots wrecking the economy and our country
    I’m not a fan of any politicians and she made her fair share of mistakes, but she was definately the strongest PM this country has had for decades

    • avatar
      Christos Mouzeviris

      Paul of course a company must make profits to exist and that is for the benefit of both the employers and the employees… But why the employers never see bothered to give bonuses to the chief executives that cost thousands of euros for doing very little but the get hot under the collar over the increase of salaries of the ordinary workers.. Keep an employee happy and he will work for you.. Abuse him and think of him as a fool and you will always have problem finding the right employees.. We are not talking about “militant” union leftist nonsense and you called them.. I have worked in the public sector and I have seen what it does to people and business. But let us not take it to the other extreme and abolish all worker’s rights.. Worker’s rights are human rights unless you are against those too and want to go back to the years of child labor and work houses in Britain… In the past I was working in a hotel in Greece and a German customer lectured me that if I was in Germany I would not be able to be so “relaxed” at work.. I told him that I have done everything I was expected to do by that time.. He replied that in Germany my employer would have me cleaning over and over my position in order to keep me busy.. I replied that if my employer want to see me busy then he should make sure that he brings enough customers in the hotel to keep me busy and I would be more thab happy to work hard to serve them all.. It is his job to make sure customers keep coming by marketing special events organizing and competitive prices.. It is my job to make sure the service they are getting is within certain standards.. If the customers are not coming to keep me busy then it is clearly his fault as it is within his responsibility to manage the place.. Not mine.. Unless he offers me the salary and responsibilities of a manager then I could thake the blame.. In other words Paul when a company is not going well it is often a management issue but the businesmess like to blame ordinary folk like me and my salary or working condition demands!! That is pure nonsense!! Manage your company well and you will succeed!! Greed and lust for quick and easy money is the main problem and this mentality is embeded in our culture bowdays!!

      10/01/2018 Luke Hildyard, Executive Director at the High Pay Centre, has responded to this comment.

      10/01/2018 Kevin J. Murphy, Professor at the University of Southern California, has responded to this comment.

  26. avatar
    catherine benning

    JJ: For someone who claims to be an economist you certainly appear to have very little knowledge of the system you so dutifully adore. And before we go any further, I too believe in a balanced economy. Not a free for all.

    What you seem to be missing is the issue of fraud. Government cannot promise to give its people a contract of care, make commitments under that contract and then welch on the deal because they have allowed the financial sector to scam them through blatant ignorance. On top of this, allow the same financial segment to go on gleaning funds from society under the auspices of they ‘deserve’ to rob us because we are stupid enough to let them away with it…. They made a contract with millions of tax payers who were forcefully made to cough up into that fund and who expected and ‘deserved’ to receive what they were promised when they needed it. It is simply unconscionable to now say ‘we no longer can afford it.’ That is tripe. And why? Because they continue to spend money they say they don’t have in order to support their cronies to the tune of billions, is why.

    You also seem to be missing that ‘fact’ that indeed government can afford to give us what we paid for had they allocated funds sensibly and fairly keeping the nation at heart. I did not pay taxes to allow my government to bail out liars and banking fraudsters. And if the money they took from the public purse was a decision they made, regardless of the millions of people who would suffer and starve because of it , and meant nothing to them, that is not good enough. It is their duty to allocate funds they are now playing with in a way which will not affect the people adversely. Example: they can stop squandering tax payers money on doubling the British House of Lords content with their friends, idiots and kick back payers. Our house of Lords was doubled in size for no reason, as it is overwhelming full to the point where the inmates have no seats or desks and no place to put them. In addition to adding criminals who were jailed for fraud and inept women for no other reason than a son was murdered. It is a costly PC farce and outlandish in its insult. If they choose to continue to squander our funds they must not be allowed to renege on the deal they made to the customer, us, the tax payer. They must instead rethink the cost of Trident and their other useless war game machines. Especially as this is simply a demand made by the US government of the British tax payer. This doom machine is not only unnecessary it is useless, and can never perform the task it is sold to us on.

    They must cut all foreign aid to countries outside of Europe, until we are in a position to reconsider. They must cut ridiculous expenditure on security, funding private companies brought into the UK under the guise of protection, when the reality is, it’s simply spreading money in the direction of their old cronies for companies they have massive shares in. They could stop privatizing our energy companies which likewise cost a fortune and reduces our ability to care for ourselves. Tax breaks and off shore tax avoidance, QE and public funding of high mortgages to incur another property boom as they want to increase the assets of their land portfolios and of course to bail out banks ‘once more.’. HS2 dumped as well as putting an end to immigration from outside the EU. We are well and truly overcrowded and have no need of unskilled outsiders when the work can be taken up by our present unemployed.

    I could write a thesis on this, but instead you think about why you feel our people, who are the workers keeping this country rolling, should be the scapegoats for mistakes made by the countries richest elite. And wonder if the financial bust was a mistake at all or a deliberate act of pure greed. And then tell me I have no right to feel you are an imbecile who can only think hard enough to shoot himself in the foot.

  27. avatar
    Paul X

    Catherine, though you may not believe it I often find myself in agreement with large portions of what you say………but it’s a debating forum, and there really is no reason to call someone an imbecile just because their opinion differs from yours

    • avatar
      catherine benning

      @PX: I didn’t write anyone off as an imbecile for not agreeing with my political leanings. My assumption of their idiocy stems from the obvious subjugation of the self. Anyone who writes of himself and his fellow man as ‘undeserving’ of their contract with government and the enforcing of that government by taxation, paid toward a political promise he/she has bought into, must be suffering from the idiocy of serfdom.

      How can you accept a deal that offers you a promise of support through an insurance policy you pay for, then, when time comes for the policy or contract to be forthcoming, say, those who misspent my money and against the wording of the contract gave that funding to con men, now find they can no longer afford to give me what they promised. Means that I do not deserve to receive the cover in the first place. Additionally, same insurers continue to receive the payments through forced taxation and go on squandering your fund at the same time as telling the said customer they don’t have the wherewithal to pay up. Explain to me why you feel that person is not an imbecile waiting to be seen coming repeatedly.

      Your analogy on my wording doesn’t make sense. Unless, what you are saying is, I should not draw attention to the dilemna the customer has, as it is not politically correct to do so. Or, if you like, not tactful.

  28. avatar
    Lorena Secades

    The european social model is sustenaible, but just if we focus on the social sistems and not in the banks of the huge business. Sometimes it looks like Europe is going back to the medieval times where the superiors dictate the laws to the inferiors, who had to work hard, being cold and starve, so the nobility and the church could live better.
    The burocrats in Brussels make the law for the bankers or lawyers, not for the hard workers, who make most of the whealth in all the countries. The politicians in those countries, do not respect the will of the people who have voted for them, they just think about what Brussels think of them, and that is wrong!! We need to have back the real democracy, one person one vote, and no alliance between differents parties, because they want the power, not helping the people who have voted them!!!

    • avatar
      catherine benning

      Yes, Christos, I agree with a lot in your article. Absolutely I do.

  29. avatar
    Paul X

    Christos, employee rights is not just about the headline grabbing “bonuses given to bosses of multinational companies while their employees get no pay rise”
    Over 20% of businesses in the UK have less than 10 employees and employee legislation applies to these just as much as the large corporations with thousands of workers. The difference is excessive regulation can kill of one of these companies in a single stroke. Small businesses work on very small margins and cannot absorb increased costs of social legislation.

    • avatar
      catherine benning

      @PX: You certainly have bought into Corporate flim flam haven’t you. Take your sight off the fancy footwork for a few hours and look at it with eyes wide open rather than with eyes wide shut.

      Small business do have a great deal of red tape that is true. But, without regulation they go as mad as the big corporations. Take the known ‘fact’ that even with all the regulation they have, they continue to employ illegals in order to bypass the minimum wage. Some of them paying as little as a £1.00 a day in exploitation of their fellow man. Simply because these people are in dire straits and cannot do anything other than take up the job at any price.

      Even one of our so called ‘Baronesses’ who was Attorney General under Blair, (a politically correct position as she is an incompetent therefore not deserving of the post) hired an illegal maid at less than the minimum wage, So the fraud comes from the top.

      Of course, on the scale of things this is trivia, but, the point is, they are all at it. Playing the game of avoiding tax. illegal practices and any way they can find to fiddle the system or find their way around the law. So, taking up the cause for the businessman is a joke. And my heart doesn’t bleed for them.

  30. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris.

    Thank you Catherine… Paul X, then perhaps we should start applying different rules for SMEs and different for multinationals? Just a thought..!!

  31. avatar
    Paul X

    Yes Christos I totally agree, micro enterprises should get exemptions from some social legislation. At the end of the day people working for these businesses realise their actions have a direct impact on the success of the company and they want to be able to work longer than 35 hrs a week etc etc

    • avatar
      Christos Mouzeviris

      Exemptions in taxation would help them I think to cope with employing a small number or workers…

    • avatar
      Lorena Secades

      Well, I don’t think so. People work to live, not live to work. The purpose of working is having a good live, sometimes making a better life. Not working for the saking of working. Micro enterprises are a good idea, and I agree with you that the should get exemptions, but not of the social legislation. The laws are being broken already as a matter the fact. Our politicians have given plenty of money to the huge business (Amazon, Vodafone), helping them to avoid the taxes, but they are jealous prosecutors of the jobless man who works but doesn’t declare the money he earns.

  32. avatar
    catherine benning


    I have a couple of posts waiting moderation for several days now. Why would they be considered doubtful of approval? Yet remain in line.

    Best wishes,


  33. avatar
    Paul X

    Well Lorena the problem with most social legislation is it is always “one size fits all” with no scope to apply any common sense

    Look for example at Maternity leave. There were proposals a while back to increase this to 4 months and include full pay. Imagine the effect of this on a Micro Enterprise that employs only 4 people? One person goes on maternity leave, the business has to hold their job for them and has to keep paying them so cannot afford a temp. Assuming the remaining 3 would still like some holidays productivity will at times drop to 50% because the working time directive will not let people work overtime even if they wanted. I would suggest it is quite likely the business will not survive the maternity leave period so who benefits from this, certainly not the 4 people now out of work due to the legislation?
    I know this is a bit of a devils advocate type of scenario but it is a simple fact that social legislation kills jobs

    And I don’t agree with your “People work to live, not live to work”
    This certainly does not apply to everyone, many people (myself included) like to put additional effort and go out of their way to develop and educate themselves in their chosen career without expecting financial reward for doing so. I have worked for small and multinational companies and to be honest I have no time for those who think they are doing the company a favor for turning up for work and when they are there they do the absolute minimum they can get away with. I cant imagine the mentality that thinks work is just something to be endured between weekends down the pub, most people will spend 50 years of their life working so to think like that throughout your working life would make someone a pretty miserable individual

    • avatar
      catherine benning


      Well the answer to this should be, as it is partially in Germany, women who work and bear children should be paid by the state at approximately their same salary for a minimum of three years after the birth, better it was five years, so that they can rightfully stay at home with their children until same children are ready and old enough to be separated from their parent for a full day.

      Businesses and Corporations should be taxed to provide the otherwise cheap labour they are getting by exploiting the work force the way they do. Increase their taxes to cover it. And the guy who is employing four or less workers is not paying for women when they give birth at anything like the rate he should, as they cost him so little in the long run. Especially now we have zero hour work. Pleeeeeese, stop this misleading of the population in this most unhealthy way. In fact what has been brought back into the UK from its Victorian past as acceptable is, men and women standing on the corner to get picked for a days work. And at less than the minimum wage in many cases. .No contract no rights no status of the working man Even ‘Buckingham Palace’ has taken up this disgusting no contract hourly rate. How quickly they return to the workhouse mentality.

      We are quickly learning the disgrace of our slave trade past through the explosion of immigration and the resulting horror of it. How this can be legal in modern Britain is an enigma. And if we are pulled out of Europe it will simply get worse.

  34. avatar
    Lorena Secades

    So Paul X
    Which is your answer? Don’t hire women or ask they at the work interviewers if they are plannig have a family, as it is happening in Spain.
    I have already heard that topic, and it is false. The women with children work twice hard, take less holidays and are a lot more commited with the company that a single or a family man, because they know that they work is to get the best for their children.
    But they don’t play “politics” at the office, like the men do, they have not time to do it. They do their job, so good and fast and they can, and after that they go home with their families. No time to go to the pub for a beer, or playing golf, or whatever people without families do after work.
    And I suppose you have not family or friends at all, everybody wants to be regarded at his work, but there are plenty of works which are too boring or bad paid so nobody want them, but still they need to be done. And the people who do them are bad look at, because, if they have that kind of work is because they are no fit for something more rewarding. Well, that is wrong. Taking care of the elderly, or the children is worthy, and the people who do that they should be so rewarded as the city bankers, but they don’t because “everybody can do it”. So their wages are short and their shifts long. And you expect them being so cheerful about their job as you?

  35. avatar
    Paul X

    Firstly, I’m not making a judgement on maternity policy just using it as an example how social legislation is not always to the benefit of employees

    And Lorena, I guarantee you there are employers throughout the whole of Europe who think twice about employing women just because of maternity leave and pay, it’s just another example of how this sort of legislation is counter

    Catherine, I’m afraid I disagree with your German example, I’ve had kids, my wife stopped working while she looked after them and restarted work when they were old enough and we survived, I did not expect some nanny state to continue to pay my wife’s wages. How is it fair for those who choose to continue working and not have children to pay for those who do? You say tax businesses but in one way or another the cost will always fall onto the consumer usually in the form of increased costs for goods or services. Despite the rhetoric not every business is lavishing huge bonuses onto its management and most do not have endless pots of gold to hand out to pay for people sit at home , increased costs = less jobs, simple equation
    We are not quite back to the Victorian work queue stage anymore then we are starting to stuff children up chimneys to clean them and zero hour contracts have always been around, it’s just the latest buzz word for casual work and some people actually prefer not having a contract and just working when needed but they just don’t make good headlines
    Have a nice day

  36. avatar
    Lorena Secades

    Right Paul,
    So women with families are not fit to work, but they do, they have to do it!. You speaked about your wife, well the one who was paying her wages was you, not the state.
    Everybody needs a certain amount of money to survive without being poor in our culture, but children, elderly and jobless has not that money or the way to product it. So they are dependents, usually of their families. But when that family can not sustain them, what?
    The discussion is if Europe still can have a sustenaible social model. That means that our elder, children, poor, jobless, etc.. are not to let alone on the streets. Our government take care of them when the families can not. All the workers pay the taxes to do so, or at least, some of them do. The laws now allow avoid taxes to a huge amount of people, and the rest is said to be in austerity times. Well, as you see in the news the NSH is cracked, the elderly care sucks and the children care is a shame. But, the army and the politician has new toys to play with. The retired and disabled soldiers, hurted in war to secure English interest are told to losed their pensions, because it is an austerity time. So, this is the Privatization of Beneficts while the loses are being made public.
    The bankers who started the recession are at home with the bonus they got by putting hole nations close to bakruptcy, meanwhile the ones who were arrested for break a door in the riots face jail.
    There is no way for social model if we let this happen.

    • avatar
      Paul X

      Lorena, I never said anything of the sort about women with families not being fit to work, I just reinforced your statement you made about Spanish employers by adding that the discrimination will be happening throughout Europe not just in Spain and very little can be done about it (unless the EU introduces some hair-brained legislation that companies must employ a quota of pregnant women?)
      My personal opinion on maternity pay is starting a family is a lifestyle choice so why should those who chose to have a family be supported by those who choose not to, how is that fair? Jobs are now held open for women to return to after having a child I think that is concession enough considering the current employment situation
      I’m all for social intervention if people fall on hard times or become sick and the elderly, I’ve been a UK tax and national insurance payer since I was 16, and I feel entitled to expect it if I need it. But if people choose to stop working or not to look for work in the first place they obviously feel they can support themselves and are therefore not in need of any additional social support (i.e my tax)

  37. avatar
    Dinko Dinev

    First, we do not have European social model – as seen from the infographic it is a different model for every state member. Actually the difference is soooo enormous that it can hardly be overcome. We won’t have any model or whatever sustainable until there are so many differences between state members. The path should be chosen for the EU. We really need to decide what we want the EU to be and work towards that direction. Now it seems to me like EU is a lost tourist wandering around without any idea where to go and pretty much staying at the same spot. It should really be decided what kind of a union we want and make it. Simple as that. If you want something you just put you efforts into it and get done. May be the problem is that the EU grew far too quickly without needed time for adapting. It’s like 3 friends from the neighborhood get together really well and decided ” Hey, see how much better is for us 3 together than alone, let’s put more guys into this!” So they found another guys and voila they thought we all would be better now. But they ain’t. Because the new guys had different views and different values and so goes the list. The idea is that the EU should have been more like a true union with unified laws, social models ans etc. Before joining every future member should have first adjust according to the union’s model and then becoming part of it smooth and easily. :)

    • avatar
      Paul X

      Dinko I think your analogy is quite good but I’d like to extend it bit
      Take for example forming a band…….
      Someone likes singing particular songs so he finds a person who likes the same songs and who plays guitar. Together the music is much better.
      The two then find another guitarist who is not 100% a fan of what the first two play but he likes the idea of playing in the band. This continues and they find a drummer and bassist. This band makes really good music for a few years but then they all fall out over musical differences
      Even the Beatles fell apart eventually………

  38. avatar

    Yeah actually (and i hate to admit it :) ) you pictured it better than me. Anyway, soo you suggest that the EU will fall apart… I guess not in some near future though. :) btw paid maternity should be provided. Otherwise it will be even harder to rise children and it may become some sort of privilege of the rich. And the rest will have to just work, work and work till death!? Sure having child is a personal choice but it is important for the society. If less people will have babies there will be less ‘society’ .

  39. avatar
    Lorena Secades

    Dinko, I agree with you that Europe has not a single social model, it is different in every country. Buth the Human Rights have been aproved by all of them, and in those rights it is the one about education, health, etc..
    Besides, the point of the debate is if the social rights we have thanks to the welfare system are sustenaible or not.
    For Paul, there aren’t. The welfare is dead and every person is in his own, for good or worst, the state has not obligations with his citizens. Well, for me it isn’t. The state is conformed by citizens who pay taxes, if the welfare has to die, then nobody has right to ask me for taxes no? If I have to pay my education, my health assistance, etc…, then I refuse to pay anything to the state. I will pay only the companies or the people who offered me those services, and I will need all the money I could get with my job. At the same time, and because I will have to take care of myself when I became elder and no fit to work anymore I refuse to pay to the army, or I+D or whatever is not in my personal and direct interest. I have no car, so I don’t want to know about highroads or the price of the gas. It’s no my problem, so why I should pay for it?
    But I do think that the Social Sistem is sustenaible, just we need to take a close look about how the money is spending and what is important. Most of the hospitals were built with public money, but now they are in private hands. The same with the trains and a long etc (Post Service in UK has been privatized these days!!!) And if we look closer we can see a lot of politicians at the counsels of the business which have been privatized, why?
    They keep telling us that the private service is much better than the public one, but there are uncountless reports which say otherwise, with plenty of proofs ,besides. But that doesn’t matter, they don’t look the reports, and they don’t care about the will of the people who are represented by they.
    So the question is why is money for this and not for that?

  40. avatar

    “…we can see a lot of politicians at the counsels of the business which have been privatized, why?” – Well, Lorena, this is simple – win-win situation for both politicians and business. Mainly money for the politicians and additional income sources for the business. I see something wrong with the idea of public services privatized. The very purpose of business is to make profit. So yes if the hospitals main goal is profit ok let them be privatized. The thing is they are meant to provide health care. This reason alone should be enough not to privatize, but the people who has to decide (politicians) are more or less regular folks. They are not some super moral, altruistic individuals that only care about the others. They of course care for themselves first. So their choice is not that hard – on one hand they could vote for the good of society but this leaves them nothing, on the other they could vote against the interests of society and gain money and power. Easy choice, don’t you think? Furthermore politicians do not perceive themselves as part of the regular people. And this is why they do not believe in defending these regular people interests – they are not theirs.

    • avatar
      Lorena Secades

      Well Dinko,
      The politicians forget that they are in that position thanks to our votes. And we forget that their job is work for us. If we forget our power as citizens then they can be our tyrans, so is our choice.

  41. avatar

    The austerity is a false problem; it doesn’t say to the States what items of expenditure they have to cut or which taxes they have to increase. If all governaments did the right structural adjustments, we would have the growth. For example they could cut improductive expenditure, or liberalize some aspects of the economic life, and, at the same time, they should decrease the tax burden. If all the States did it, now we would be richer and already put of the crisis.
    To attack the austerity is just a simple way not to acknowledge the responability of the bad manadgement of the economic policy.

  42. avatar

    We all talk about a “Europe without internal borders”, but the EU doesn’t seem to exist for people who live in one member state but work in another. Cross-border workers face a bureaucratic nightmare when it comes to social security and taxation.

  43. avatar

    Nobody has been looking at the cost of health systems , and who is responsible to the cost increase . The pharmaceutical sector is basically responsible for the costs hikes , followed by EU legislation .
    Nothing is said either about the fact that the EU is not reducing its costs and expenses and improving efficiency in its operations , and the amount of money which disappears in the EU . As the EU is not doing well , the EU Commissioners and MPs should take a massive pay cut , and be forced to prove better efficieny

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