Unions must tackle economic insecurity that fuels the far right globally

Addressing EPSU Congress, PSI General Secretary Daniel Bertossa emphasized the crucial role of unions in Europe in championing fairer economic policies for working people to stem the rise of the far right.

PSI highlighted how economic insecurity and fear were fueling the worrying success of far-right parties in recent EU elections. 

“Right wing politics is a symptom – created by anger at a global economy that people don’t think works for them. A global economy that provides massive wealth for some - and precarious work for others. That creates massive corporate profits – but never seems to have money to fund public services. 

Where a nurse on night shift on a COVID ward night pays more tax than the corporation that is making massive profits from the medicine she is administering. 

Many people think that the global and European institutions have made their lives worse and not better. If we are to defeat the far-right, we need to tackle the global forces that create fertile ground for the reactionary right to thrive.” 

Bertossa commended unions in Europe for their valuable advances across issues such as the regulation of digitalisation and re-municipalisation of public services which comrades around the world are learning from. 

He outlined how unions must present a vision for Europe that is no longer threatened by corporate interests or the extreme right and can convincingly promote values like equality, democracy and peace on the world stage. 

In particular, he pointed out that when unions and governments in the global south see the EU block vaccine patent waivers or undermine global tax reform efforts, they ask difficult questions about whose interests the EU is really serving. 

“Europe cannot be safe alone in the world. It can only be safe in the world. If we don’t win global rules that are fair then people will demand a return to national and nationalist solutions.” 

In conclusion, Bertossa called for strengthened international solidarity between workers in all countries. “Because in these troubled times – more than ever - the unity of labour is the hope of the world.