ETUC response to European Commission review of economic governance

ETUC General Secretary Luca Visentini holds a sign saying: "A fairer Europe for workers"

Responding to the European Commission’s review of economic governance, ETUC General Secretary Luca Visentini said:

“Trade unions welcome this review of economic governance as an opportunity to draw a line under a decade of harmful austerity and begin a positive programme of investment and upward convergence of working and living conditions that will make Europe fairer for working people by delivering sustainable growth,  social cohesion and a socially just transition to a green economy. 

The ETUC agrees that the rules have become too complex and the question needs to be asked whether the rules are still fit for purpose. However, we are concerned that the Commission’s proposal does not leave room for the scale of reforms which are needed.

“Public and private investment must be promoted in order to ensure citizens finally start to feel the benefit of the economic recovery through more quality jobs and better living standards. The financial crisis also showed that investment rather than austerity is the best and fairest way to economic growth and debt reduction. The ambition of becoming the first climate-neutral continent is welcomed but we cannot achieve this goal without the accompanying social measures.”

ETUC Confederal Secretary Liina Carr said:

“The document includes social partners within the stakeholders to be consulted but it neglects the role social partners have played in strongly improving their participation in the economic governance process over the last years. Social partners involvement showed to be crucial in maintaining transparency and democratic anchorage of the EU Semester. Social dialogue proved to be a driver for socially balanced reforms.

“This is an asset that should not be dispersed. The European Union’s economic governance must from now on be consistent with its ambitious social goals and the involvement of trade unions in the policy making process is essential to creating fair policies that will rebuild trust with working people.

“Finally we want to stress that the old ‘virtuous triangle’ of reforms, fiscal discipline and investments only brought austerity. The trade union movement looks forward to reviewed fiscal framework pinpointed on boosting investments for a green transition, achieving social progress and reinforcing social dialogue, to deliver a well-functioning and inclusive social market economy.”

Press release