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Commission report shows economic measures alone won't beat Europe's crisis

February 3, 2010 11:37 AM
Originally published by Liz Lynne

Ignoring the dramatic social consequences of the financial crisis could be a fatal mistake for any strategy for recovery, Lib Dem Euro MP Liz warned today.

The West Midlands MEP spoke out as the European Commission in Brussels released a new Social Situation Report on the impact of the deepest recession since the 1930s. Research by Eurobarometer quoted in the report shows that although Europe's major economies have started to grow again, the full effects of unemployment and social disruption are only just beginning.

Liz Lynne is First Vice President of the Parliament's Employment and Social Affairs Committee. She believes the new data underlines the need for a twin track approach. She said:

"Thousands of people in the West Midlands region and millions across Europe have lost their jobs and homes. For many the end is not yet in sight. There has to be a social as well as an economic response to this crisis.

"So far the European Parliament and other Institutions have focused on reform of financial markets. The challenge ahead is to assess and mitigate the impact on the lives of ordinary people in terms of social exclusion, family breakdown, domestic violence and mental health problems.

"We need to ensure that fundamental rights are respected, and that any gaps in legislation in this area are filled.

"Apart from lawmaking, we also need to improve cooperation and coordination between countries in dealing with common problems, particularly through exchange of best practice in social policy. This costs very little to do but could provide huge savings.

"In many areas there is no need to re-invent the wheel, it is about finding what works best in dealing with our common problems. NGOs will play a vital role. We can and must do more to involve people who have experienced poverty and social exclusion in policy making."

"If we ignore the social dimension of this crisis and ignore the lessons of the most successful attempts to deal with it, we will dramatically lessen the chances of success of all our recovery programmes."