Commission President Juncker's State of the Union speech is due to take place on Wednesday 12 September 2018, and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) urges him to deliver strong proposals on the future of Europe, to restore social justice, ahead of the EU elections.
ETUC General Secretary Luca Visentini calls for a wide European alliance between parties, politicians, social partners and civil society organisations, to support democratic values and tackle populism, nationalism and racism.
“An alliance is urgently needed to safeguard democracy from populists and the far right," said Luca Visentini. "Faith in mainstream politicians is at an all-time low, because during the last ten years they have overseen rising inequality and in-work poverty, and falling living standards. Now is the time to stand up to extremism and for action for social justice.
"The ‘Europe that protects’ that Jean-Claude Juncker has rightly called for cannot be based only on security, defence and border controls. Europe needs social justice, and if democratic parties cannot deliver it, then voters will unfortunately look elsewhere.
“The EU needs investment and quality jobs. EU initiatives to boost public and private investment, including the EMU package, must be strengthened.
“Concrete action has to be taken to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights before the European elections. Tangible progress is needed on work-life balance, Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions, access to social protection, the European Labour Authority and Mobility Package, and we expect more ambition and no delays particularly from governments.
“Wage inequality also has to be addressed much more seriously: the gender pay gap, the east-west pay gap and poverty wages in all countries. Higher wages and upward convergence would boost demand, increase competitiveness, and reduce resentment.
“The EU should be doing all it can to promote efficient industrial relations, collective bargaining, social dialogue at EU and national level, and workers’ participation.
“Climate action and digitalisation must be managed to tackle the social and employment impacts and potential job losses, including through EU industrial policy.
“A common response to migration has to be found, based on rules, multilateralism and human rights and involving social partners and civil society organisations that can play a crucial role in the integration of refugees and migrants.”