Ambitious proposals for sustainable recovery from the EU, now national leaders must show responsibility and solidarity

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Commenting on the EU Recovery Package, Luca Visentini, General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) said:

“Europe is facing the worst recession since the 1930s following the worst pandemic for a hundred years, which risks massive unemployment and inequality.

“That’s why the ETUC welcomes the ambitious EU recovery strategy proposed by Ursula von der Leyen. Funds of up to €750 bn for recovery, on top of 1.1 trillion from the MFF, are what Europe needs.

“We appreciate that such massive investment will largely be provided to member states through direct grants, and that the money will be raised via common debt instruments guaranteed by the European Commission through a very much awaited increase of EU own resources, so avoiding creating additional debt in EU countries.

“It is right that investment to get Europe out of recession should contribute to EU commitments to climate action and fight youth unemployment.

“We welcome that investment in green and digital will be privileged, and that all money will be channelled through economic and social cohesion funds, so guaranteeing that solidarity, equality and social inclusion are preserved.

“Recovery should not be back-to-business-as-before – austerity, cuts and unbearable fiscal conditions must never happen again. Citizens and workers want a fairer and greener Europe that works better for all.

“The EU cannot simply give money to businesses without exercising some control on how they behave. Recovery plan funding should be conditional on providing decent jobs, on paying taxes and working towards agreed climate goals.

“We emphasise  that human and social rights, the rule of law, social dialogue and economic and workplace democracy, the European Pillar of Social Rights, must be the compasses for all funding granted.

“Public services, health care and education, social protection systems and social infrastructures must be strongly supported.

“The recovery strategy is rightly expected to focus on reinforcing EU industries and economic sectors, on defending jobs in Europe, on rethinking our competition rules and making our trade policy more sustainable.

“It is also very important that in its Work Programme for 2020 the European Commission has confirmed all initiatives which would boost a fair and socially sustainable recovery, including those on pay transparency, minimum wages, fair taxation, youth employment, skills agenda and digital education, platform work, and EU economic governance rules. What is missing from the work programme is occupational health and safety and that needs to be added.”