Last week Richard Bruton, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, signed a declaration with nine other ministers from EU member-states, following the publication by the European Commission of the Single Market Act, a strategic initiative to reinvigorate the single market by the end of 2012.
The declaration followed in the wake of the meeting of European heads of state and heads of government on 24 and 25 March and was filled with lofty aspirations, such as their desire
to see a Europe that allows the increasingly important services sector to thrive and achieve its full economic potential
and the need to
remove restrictions that inhibit access to the EU’s service markets, reduce the number of regulated professions within the EU and make a firm commitment to implementing and enforcing the services directive.
They then stated their belief that
there is no contradiction between the rights of the citizens, as workers and consumers, and growth and competitiveness oriented policies
and went on to state:
Proposals such as those previously announced by the Commission to reduce the opportunities for companies from Brazil, China and South Africa to tender for public procurements in Europe should be strongly resisted. These proposals risk leading to fewer tenders, higher prices and increased costs for taxpayers in Europe.
It’s clear from this position that Bruton favours companies from Brazil, China and South
Africa tendering for public procurements in Ireland, despite the precarious situation in the jobs market here.
One need hardly be an economist to accept that these companies would win many contracts as his criteria of low prices, more tenders and less cost to the taxpayer would easily be met by contractors from these low-wage economies.
However, job opportunities for Irish workers and those from other EU member-states in the Irish work force, of whom there are at present 220,000 according to the Central Statistics Office, would be seriously diminished.
Perhaps this is what Fine Gael means by a jobs stimulus package – a package, incidentally, that will cost €1.6 million and has to be “revenue-neutral,” that is, the funding will come from further cuts elsewhere.
However, it seems that the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation is not thinking primarily of an Irish jobs stimulus package.
The declaration concludes with a call to arms.
Together, and with others in the EU who share our views, we will fight for a single market that supports these objectives.
It is signed by, among others, Maxime Verhagen, Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands and and Minister of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, and Edward Davey, British Minister for Employment Relations, Consumer and Postal Affairs.People’s Movement · 25 Shanowen Crescent · Dublin 9 · http://www.people.ie
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