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On the occasion of International Women’s Day on March 8th, Brussels is focussing on gender equality. Many events were organised in the advance in order to show and to discuss the still serious, mainly structural discriminations.

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Each year, the European Commission prepares a Country Report for each Member State within the framework of the European Semester. From the point of view of the Chamber of Labour, the current Report for Austria, which was published on 27 February 2019, includes several critical assessments by the Commission, but also contains a number of aspects, which have been raised by AK for years.

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After almost two years of negotiations concerning the exit of the United Kingdom from the EU, the result is still uncertain and the scheduled leave date, 29th March 2019, is getting closer and closer. Most recently the probability of a no-deal Brexit (without agreement) has increased, which is the reason for European institutions and Member States to intensively prepare for this scenario. However, during the last days the likelihood of a possible delay of Britain’s exit has once again been suggested.

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The increasing influence of nationalist movements in Europe does not only have an impact on social rights, but at the same time, trade unions are frequently a thorn in the flesh of these forces. This current political trend is in particular dangerous for the media and journalists. AK EUROPA and ÖGB Europabüro used these developments as an opportunity to discuss the multi-layered consequences for workers within the framework of an event on February 18th 2019. On this occasion, Prof.

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Nationalist movements are gaining influence throughout Europe. In some countries, like Hungary and Poland, they are in control of the government in others they are part of coalitions. Usually, they do not care much for social and trade union rights. This political trend is especially concerning for journalists. Attacks on the freedom of press paired with declining working conditions are challenging the whole profession.

Economist Joachim Becker confirms this in a recent study: “The rise of neo-nationalist forces has multiple consequences for workers.”

 

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Neo-nationalism has experienced a resurgence in the EU in recent years, particularly since the global financial crisis of 2008 and the subsequent years. Neo-nationalist parties are at its core. They have gained increasing influence on public debate and have managed to expand their presence in parliament in many EU countries. Public debate about neo-nationalist parties is strongly focused on the nationalist and sometimes xenophobic aspects of their programmes.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us

Monika Feigl-Heihs

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On 31st January 2019, the EU Parliament was witness to a far-reaching and not previously expected success. MEPs supported the report by the British MEP Richard Corbett (S&D) on the general revision of Parliament’s Rules of Procedure, which contains significant improvements concerning the transparency of lobbying in the EU Parliament. Just 4 votes tipped the balance.   

 

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In its audit report dated 29th January 2019, the European Court of Auditors voiced far-reaching criticism at the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI), colloquially known as “Juncker-Fund”. Key points of criticism are the exaggerated depiction of the Fund’s leverage effect and its imbalanced geographical distribution of investments. However, the main criticism has been reserved for the fact that about a third of the aided projects would have been realised without the funds of the EFSI, which means that the actual objective of the Fund has not been achieved in these cases.

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As it has done every year, the British NGO Oxfam has published its World Inequality Report on the occasion of the World Economic Forum in Davos. In Europe, the top 10 % hold 37 % of the total European wealth. The Austrian National Bank recently published a similar study for Austria with alarming result: the accumulated wealth of the top 10 % of the population is larger than the wealth of the remaining 90 %.

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AK EUROPA, the Brussels office of the Austrian Federal Chamber of Labour, and ÖGB Europabüro, the Brussels office of the Austrian Trade Union Federation, would like to cordially invite you to our traditional New Year's reception.

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