EU must not interfere in national wage formation


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In the wake of the financial crisis the European Commission has launched far-reaching proposals for increased governance of the Member States' economic policies. LO disapproves of the new proposals, particularly as regards interference in wage formation and Sweden's possibilities of pursuing an independent economic policy. LO President Wanja Lundby-Wedin comments on the proposals.
The new rules

In the aftermath of the financial crisis, many countries in the EU have pushed for more stringent governance of the Member States' economic policies. So does now the Commission, by using the crisis as a means to carry through rapid changes.

The reasons for LO's scepticism

LO does not criticise all parts of the proposal. Increased transparency is positive, as well as increased debate on how to lead the EU out of the present crisis. The method chosen is however wrong. Pressing down wages and controlling countries' fiscal policies is a shift of power from individual Member States to the EU level. This is an orientation towards increased supra-nationalism, which constitutes a threat to national self-determination in areas at the centre of national democracy.

The proposals from the Commission constitute an unacceptable interference in the wage formation systems of the Member States. The European Commission will get the possibility of interfering in national wage formation if wage levels are considered to be too high and an impediment to the competitive position vis-à-vis the rest of the world. This means that the autonomy of the social partners will be lost.

In the long run this means that Swedish voters' possibilities of influencing policy will be curbed. Even if Sweden is not a member of the monetary union, staying aside from the consequences will be difficult in reality.

Further action

LO is acting on all political levels and carrying on opinion building activities.

The fact that the new rules are aimed to be carried through already during the spring is a problem from the democratic point of view. These issues are of such a dignity that they justify an extensive debate in the whole of Europe.

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