The Future of Public Services in Europe

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Just as this week's votes have made it possible that there will be a future for public services in Europe, progressive UK research group Catalyst is making available a special discussion document on what that future might look like. Prepared in collaboration with the Centre for European Reform and the major UK and German public sector unions, the paper argues that in the support they provide for shared values of equality and solidarity,public services can be seen to lie at the heart of the European "social model". Their future is thus of particular concern to public service trade unions - not only in providing employment to their current and future members but also in upholding the principles and advancing the kind of society for which trade unions have traditionally stood.

In April 2005 the UK's UNISON and its German counterpart Ver.di came together at a special seminar in London to discuss joint strategies for promoting public services across Europe. This discussion document by Catherine Needham of Catalyst and Alasdair Murray of the Centre for European Reform situates the debate in its current context and sketches some possible future developments.
"This paper explores the most vital public service issues and looks ahead to see where different policy directions will take us. Its purpose is to stimulate a discussion of how trade unions can best respond to these challenges and to identify our common ground as the basis for a developing a strategy to champion public services," explained a spokesperson for the two unions.
The full document is available free of charge from the Catalyst website