A taste of the EU Treaty - Michael Briguglio

The Times, 28th January 2008


A few weeks ago, the EU Court of Justice decided that a Latvian company can employ workers in Sweden and avoid applying Swedish strict work conditions as well as avoiding a collective agreement applicable in Sweden. The Vaxholm case shows that in the name of free-market neo-liberalism, social dumping and wage dumping is now permissible, whereby transnational companies can overrule workers' rights and collective bargaining in any member state. The decision of the Court of Justice shows us all how the EU Treaty shall be interpreted when it comes to workers' rights.

This is a far cry from a "social" Europe and will result in less employment rights, dismantling of public services and a race to the bottom. Zminijietna - Voice of the Left therefore urges trade unions to speak up for the need of a referendum on the EU Treaty.
Indeed, Malta should follow the example of Ireland, which shall have a referendum on the treaty, thus trusting its citizens to decide on this important issue. Yet, the Nationalist government wants the EU Treaty ratification process concluded now.

It is an insult to democracy that such an important issue as the EU Treaty, which shall affect present and future generations in a profound way, is being rushed through Parliament in what shall be a mere technical and legal formality. Is electoral manoeuvring more important than everyday democracy and public debate within civil society?

Irrespective of one's position on the treaty, this requires a process of analysis and debate with the full participation of civil society organisations such as trade unions, NGOs, constituted bodies, the public, the media, political parties and academics among others.

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