Europa-Catalunya: Stability and Progress | By Camil Ros and Javier Pacheco

A demonstration took place in Barcelona on May 1st, with thousands of delegates and supporters from CCOO and UGT participating. The current political landscape is turbulent, with threats against democratic values driven by a conservative undercurrent led by radical far-right options.

Around the world, many countries, including India, Mexico, Europe, and the United States, are heading to the polls this year. The global question at stake is whether democracy should be the guiding principle to avoid increasing global inequalities.

In Europe, the focus is on preventing the far-right from disrupting the progress towards a political and social space within the EU. There is a need to advance in fiscal harmonization to continue implementing social protection policies and public investments in the necessary shift in the productive model. Progress towards federalizing member states and strengthening the European social pillar is essential, as it is a defining feature of Europe on the global stage.

It is crucial to avoid returning to austerity and to continue supporting successful policies to overcome the health crisis. Spain and Catalonia are examples of this success, with more people employed than ever before, permanent contracts dominating the job market, and pensions maintaining their purchasing power. These indicators show that the Spanish and Catalan economies are outperforming those of their neighboring countries, improving people’s lives.

This progress has been made possible, in part, by the policies in Europe and their implementation by progressive governments in Spain and Catalonia, which have successfully engaged in social dialogue with employers and trade unions. It is vital to maintain this combination. That is why the upcoming elections on June 9th and the participation of the working class are crucial to halt radical options seeking to return to a model of cuts where the working classes bear the brunt. Voting to stop the far-right is a union call to the country’s workers, as we did nearly a year ago in the general elections, and now we must stop the right and the far-right in Europe as well.

There is a common thread of progressive and democratic policies at the Catalan, national, and European levels, which must be continued both in political and social dialogue. The outcome of the Catalan elections will have significant consequences. The formation of the Parliament’s board, the first stage of this legislature, is imminent, with the investiture on the horizon to determine whether it definitively begins or, on the contrary, we return to voting. This latter option is rejected outright by the labor movement, and parties are called upon to act responsibly.

CCOO and UGT believe that consensus must be reached, considering that the game is being played in Europe, Spain, and Catalonia. We want to continue implementing reforms that further reduce inequalities, strengthen the framework for decent work, and fortify the pillars of the social welfare state by enhancing public services. We aim to address the challenges of major transformations with fair transition policies that leave no one behind. We also want political dialogue to continue, depoliticizing politics and finding new solutions, both territorially, financially, and socially. To achieve this, institutions need to be strengthened to ensure stable majorities, reinforcing the investiture majority in the State and a progressive majority in Catalonia to sustain the social policies initiated in previous years.

We urge Catalan political parties that were instrumental in the investiture of the State Government to apply the same responsibility in Catalonia. To continue guaranteeing social and national progress, continuity in political and social dialogue policies in Catalonia and Spain is essential.

Catalonia, Spain, and Europe need stable and progressive institutions to build a new social and democratic contract where decent work, the welfare state, and democracy reach everyone.