Representing CESI at the press conferences are CESI president Romain Wolff and CESI Secretary General Klaus Heeger. Commenting on the events Mr Wolff said: “We are coming to Spain and Portugal at a crucial time. These countries are among the worst affected by the austerity policies and this has been demonstrated by widespread social unrest and economic instability. What CESI is trying to do today and tomorrow is to appeal to the key decision-makers, both at the European and national level, to rethink their economic strategies.”
The press conferences follow a difficult week for southern countries, in terms of the publication of the country specific recommendations. While Spain was granted additional time to reduce its deficit, Portugal remains tied to the financial assistance programme set by the EU, the IMF and the ECB. Furthermore, while more time was given in the case of Spain, more in the way of reforms was requested. In the press conference, CESI has presented agreed courses of action ahead of the European Council meeting at the end of June, which will officially adopt the country specific recommendations for each country.
Just as the European Commission sees each countries needs as being ‘specific’, CESI considers there to be no single solution to the problems each country is facing. There is however one clear, single message from Spain and Portugal: to review the policies being imposed across the Iberian peninsular and to consult all stakeholders in the process. CESI Secretary General Klaus Heeger considers this one of the most important aspects of the press conferences: “One of the most important messages we are sending out today is that regardless of the sector, public or private, regardless of the country, there are huge problems that need different solutions to the ones being offered. What unites us today, among other things, is our strong commitment to social dialogue which we have seen diluted in recent years as a result of the crisis. Successful solutions will be the solutions which staff are at the centre of.”