Judy McKnight, former General Secretary of NAPO and Chair of the TUC Women’s Committee, is now a TUC nominee on the European Union’s Economic and Social Committee (EESC). In that capacity, she took part in the 2012 annual meeting of the European Economic Area (EEA) Consultative Committee, held in Iceland earlier this month. The Committee brings together representatives from civil society in both the EU and the EEA countries – Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. Here’s a summary of her speech.
There is a striking difference between the Nordic countries and the rest of Europe, including the UK, in terms of economic inequality and social justice, and interestingly, levels of growth. Nordic countries not only top OECD indices on economic inequality and social justice but are also recovering from the economic crisis quicker than those countries such as the UK. Since the mid 1970s we have had a greater increase in income inequality among working age people than any other wealthy country, we trail the Nordic countries on social justice and, having adopted austerity measures, are not finding a quick path to growth. And all these issues are connected.