ETUC on 2018 European Semester Spring Package

Commenting on the European Commission’s European Semester 2018 Spring package – and the Country Specific Recommendations – Katja Lehto Komulainen, Deputy General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) said

“The European Commission is clearly pushing a more social agenda in its economic policy. Recommendations on curbing Government deficits are balanced to some extent by proposals for social rights and skills. The recommendations on active labour market policies are welcome as an investment in full employment and quality jobs. Nonetheless there is a lot further to go to address inequality and social injustice, and the heavy emphasis on skills needs to be matched by more recommendations on wages, wage inequality, in-work poverty and tackling precarious work.”
“Higher wage growth is needed throughout Europe, not just in Germany and the Netherlands. It is disappointing that there are no recommendations at all on increasing statutory minimum wages or on tackling aggressive tax planning.”
“The European Commission is moving towards an Economic and Social Semester, and Member States are encouraged to continue in that direction.”

The ETUC notes a number of ‘country specific recommendations’ for social progress including  

  • Promoting higher wage growth in Germany and the Netherlands
  • Increasing investment in Germany and the Netherlands and public investment in Spain
  • Reducing the gender pay gap in Estonia and increasing women’s participation in the labour market in Austria, Slovakia and Italy
  • Active labour market policies in Poland, Belgium and Czech Republic
  • Poverty reduction in Croatia and Lithuania
  • Childcare in Italy, Poland and Slovakia  
  • The inadequacy of pensions in Latvia and Slovenia  
  • Encouraging permanent contracts in the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and Poland
  • Improving social dialogue in Romania and Hungary
  • Minimum wage setting in Romania