TUC calls for more clarity on EU from prime minister

Prime minister Tony Blair gave his first speech to the European Parliament yesterday, but the TUC said he will have to do a lot more to convince Europeans that the UK is committed to a modern social agenda.

Blair denied that the UK ran an “Anglo-Saxon market philosophy that tramples on the poor and disadvantaged” and stressed the importance of pushing the social agenda in Europe.

However, the TUC said he needed to do a lot more to persuade supporters of social Europe – both here and in the rest of the EU – that UK government actions will back up these words.

TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber, focused on how the UK government was currently blocking protection for agency workers and working time rules.

He said: “Both the prime minister’s and the chancellor’s emphasis on economic reform and deregulation is seen as code in much of the rest of the EU for dismantling important elements of social Europe, rather than its modernisation.”

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