Austerity and Health

Interviews with Carmen San José, Martin Schirdewan and Harald Weinberg

Jul 1st, 2020
Austerity and Health

For years, the neoliberal policies followed by the European Union and EU Member States have imposed privatisations and cost-cutting measures on health care systems, causing a significant deterioration in the essential services such systems provide. In southern Europe in particular, the deterioration has been especially pronounced in recent years, with massive cuts in spending on social policies imposed on large segment of society by the ruling classes.

The coronavirus crisis is not only exacerbating pre-existing contradictions, but has dramatically exposed the fragility of our health care systems and reinvigorated organising processes as well as social and labour struggles across the entire health care sector.

Social struggle is one of the focal points of the work done by RLS Brussels. Even before the crisis, we were already working on the issue of health and had published a brochure on social struggle in the health care sector. We sought to discuss what an emancipatory approach might look like in an era of neoliberal globalisation. With the current crisis making this issue increasingly topical and urgent, we sat down to discuss health care with three prominent speakers (from Spain, Germany and the European Parliament) with a view to developing an analytical overview of the dramatic situation, explaining its causes and coming up with alternatives worth fighting for.