Europe trade unions call for social pact at Merkel meet
(BERLIN) - Trade unionists from nine EU countries met Chancellor Angela Merkel Thursday to call for a social and growth pact to counter a German-driven austerity push for fighting the eurozone's debt crisis.
"The fiscal pact is not going to resolve the problems, it will increase them," Michael Sommer, head of Germany's DGB trade union confederation, said after the meeting.
He was referring to a new German-inspired pact on fiscal rigour that 25 of the 27 EU nations have signed after months of market turmoil and political wrangling to stop the debt crisis spreading.
"Europe urgently needs a social bailout fund," Sommer told reporters, flanked by trade union leaders from Belgium, Spain, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Sweden and the Czech Republic.
"The European social model, the indispensable core identity of the European Union, is increasingly devoid of substance. A social and growth pact is needed," he added speaking to reporters on the street outside the chancellery.
Merkel, for her part, said in a written statement that "the interest of the German government is to strengthen growth and employment in Europe in a durable way".
Key to that is a combination of solid state finances, strengthening competitiveness and solidarity, she said in the statement.
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