On Wednesday 7 October, EAPN participated in a meeting in the European Parliament, organized by MEPs and 50 delegates from Latvian Trade Unions and NGOs to press the Commission about the serious social situation in Latvia arising from the conditions placed by the Commission on the Latvian Government to reduce their public deficit rapidly and make cuts in services. Urgent action was called for to redress this approach.
The meeting was preceded by a demonstration outside Berlaymont Building. The meeting highlighted some of the grave consequences of the attempts of the Latvian Government’s fiscal stimulus package which has left Latvia with unemployment at 12.1%, cuts in wages – and jobs (40% in wages in education sector), 10% cuts in pensions and maternity benefits/unemployment and a reduction of sick leave payments from 52 to 26 weeks. This when Latvia in 2008 already had 21% of people at risk of poverty, the highest inequality levels in the EU and 10% working poor. The participants called for an urgent social impact assessment and for the Commission to ensure stronger social conditionality in defense of social rights and standards in the Commissions loan requirements. MEP’s are preparing a Parliamentary question and declaration on the issue of social conditionality which will be presented at the end of October.
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