German chem union leader urges EU growth strategy to fight crisis

16 May 2012 23:05  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--The leader of Germany’s chemicals and energy union wants the EU to develop an economic growth strategy to help indebted countries in southern Europe, he said on Wednesday.

“We really need a growth strategy now, to help effectively complement consolidation efforts,” Michael Vassiliadis, the head of Germany's IG BCE, told a gathering of European industrial labour union leaders in Brussels.

Such a strategy needs to focus on promoting investments and innovation, Vassiliadis said. 

Vassiliadis also called on EU leaders to take steps to stop and reverse the de-industrialisation of southern Europe, and to combat high unemployment among young people across Europe.

“I honestly cannot see how a rigid savings regime alone can help those hard-hit eurozone economies get out of the crisis”, Vassiliadis said.

Especially the situation in Greece showed that such a strict savings programme was the wrong way to go, he said.

Vassiliadis also pointed to France’s election earlier this month when voters ousted president Nicolas Sarkozy, who had largely supported German chancellor Angela Merkel’s call for government budget cuts and savings as a way out of the eurozone sovereign debt crisis.

“These elections made clear that voters in France want a policy that promotes growth, a policy that creates incentives for investment and employment,” Vassiliadis added.

In related news, the European Commission said this week that EU GDP stagnated in the first quarter of 2012, showing no growth compared with the 2011 fourth quarter when GDP shrank 0.3%.

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in his Chemicals and the Economy Blog

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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