The IBEC CEO conference today, which will be addressed be addressed by José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission and Taoiseach Enda Kenny will costs €480+VAT for those who wish to attend. It clearly does not make any pretext of being anything else but a conference of the 1% to look after the exclusive interest of the 1% at the expense of the rest of society.
IBEC is proud to claim that it is “driving the recovery.” Their road to recovery means driving over the bones of ordinary working people. They have been vocal in calling for cuts to workers’ pension, the removal of increments and have, like their predecessors in 1913, opposed some of the most basic democratic trade union rights such as mandatory trade union recognition or collective bargaining rights.
Not content to just be putting the boot into ordinary working people they are happy to continue the destruction of our environment. Speakers at this conference have already reported in the press that they will call on governments to, in reality, de-prioritise the frankly minimum commitments governments have made to deal with climate change
There is of course a real need for a discussion on a real energy policy but this cannot be fruitfully done at a conference of big business. Those who claim “shale gas” may be some sort of magic bullet solution are really after a quick buck at the expense of local communities. It is well reported that ‘fracking’ generates immense environmental problems including contaminating water and any gains in to the local economy in terms of jobs are minimal and temporary.
Another feature of this conference is the need for a ‘reindustrialisation of Europe’, a vital subject Socialist Party MEP Paul Murphy recently spoke on in the international trade committee of the European parliament. Workers are of course the real victims of the process of de-industrialisation of Europe, with large often still profitable companies putting workers on the scrap heap. A crucial factor is the dramatic decline of private sector investment in Europe over the course of the crisis, to the tune of €350 billion between 2007 and 2011. This is not because of a decline in profits, which have increased with €750 billion now sitting in the accounts of European big business. In reality you have a strike of capital and massive hoarding of cash.
In that light, it is clear the Commission’s attempts and plans to incentivise big business will not work. A solution that is based on the private sector won’t cut it, what is needed is massive public investment and democratic public ownership of our existing industry which would mean we could democratically develop a a plan to meet the needs of society and our environment.