DAY 64, BUS 2: Aabenraa

27 June 2018

The last stop on our #eminbus tour before heading back to Brussels was in Aabenraa, Denmark. The numbers of people who passed by was low, but the SAND volunteers did a great job going around the town and getting people to come to the bus.

In the afternoon we had an important exchange with Troels Ravn, Social Democrat, Chair of the Domestic, Social Affairs and Children’s Committee of the Danish Parliament, Egler Schutt, Danish Folk Party and member of Aabenraa City Council and Claus Rosenberg, Communication Officer, 3F, the largest Trade Union in Denmark. While each had different starting points and analysis they expressed concerns that the EU is facilitating social dumping. They also spoke about workers from other EU countries undermining wage standards in Denmark. However, they still insisted that the EU should not have a role in the social area. The discussion centred around, how you can complain about the EU not protecting social standards and at the same time not give the EU the means to be better able to protect social standards. We also spoke about how the EU economic policies can impact negatively on the ability of member states to deliver social protection and what would be needed to ensure a more balanced social and economic EU policy.

There was also the chance to discuss the examples of ‘activation’ that we had heard about the previous day. They confirmed that supermarkets do have workers on ‘activation’ schemes paid by social assistance. These placements were expected to lead to real jobs but there was acknowledgement that this is not happening in the majority of cases. There was general agreement that there needs to be some thorough review of how ‘activation’ policy is working in Denmark.

At the end of the meeting there was the feeling that some genuine exchange had taken place. This was a very fitting way to end our EMIN tour. We were also happy that local radio and newspaper reported on the stop in Aabenraa.