David Blunkett, the UK work and pensions secretary, argues that more important lessons are to be learnt for EU member states from successful European social models than from those of the US and Asia.
In a move to calm troubled waters before the Hampton Court Council meeting on globalisation and EU social models, which will take place on 27 October 2005, Mr. Blunkett said: “What we are proposing is not what happens across the Atlantic. We believe there has to be a social inclusion dimension that is appropriate for Europe. The challenge for Europe is make sure it equips people for change.”
Talking to the
newspaper, Mr. Blunkett also stressed that “a false dichotomy was being set between the US and continental models. We in Britain have been through the horrors of mass unemployment 20 years ago imposed by the Thatcher government. The last thing we want to do is visit that on our European partners.”
According to the Guardian, Mr. Blunkett argued that “Britain is not just looking to the US, and its wage inequalities, but to a European social model, found most often in Nordic countries”.
Talking to the Press in parallel to the Tripartite Summit of employers, trade unions, the Commission and the EU presidency, Mr. Blunkett justified the UK presidency’s choice for globalisation as the main theme for the Hampton Court Council: “Over the coming decades, Europe will face increasing competition from the rapidly growing economies of China and the rest of Asia. The current growth rate of both China and India is over three times that of the EU. […] The demographics are equally stark. Over the next 25 years the working age population of the EU will fall by seven percent while the population over 65 will grow rapidly.”