Social justice, solidarity and the danger of deep public cuts were the issues tackled by Maria Damanaki, the Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, when she spoke to Brussels Labour in September 2010. The timing of her speech on the European Debt Crisis and the European Left was particularly apt: the Commissioner had just emerged from talks on the financial package of responses to the banking and financial crisis, while the debt crisis in her native Greece remained a core concern for the European Union.
The Commissioner’s frank and critical approach to the subject reflected one of her main messages: the need for socialists to speak out and tackle the debt crisis head-on so as to reclaim ground lost to the centre-right in diagnosing and treating the problem. For Mrs Damanaki, socialists have understood better that the problem lay in poorly-regulated financial markets, but somehow our voices have been drowned out in the argument over solutions. It is painful to see how centre-right governments are putting forward our diagnosis and claiming it as their own whilst at the same time gambling with jobs and livelihoods of working people through proposing deep public sector cuts which may put future growth at risk. Continue reading ‘Treat the cause, not the symptoms’ – Damanaki’s antidote to ‘austerity mania’