Work programme – what the Commission considers important

European Commission

The European Trade Union Confederation

  • agrees with the European Commission that the proposed ‘pillar of social rights’, boosting investment and the Youth Initiative are important initiatives for 2017;   
  • welcomes the proposed review of the Stability and Growth Pact;  and the promise to strengthen ‘trade defence instruments’ although following the recent CETA drama thinks a commitment to fair trade and transparent trade negotiations would be appropriate;
  • is dismayed by the absence of any reference to workers’ representation on boards, European Works Councils,  protecting workers’ health and safety; and the obvious implication that these are not “important things” for the European Commission;
  • is disappointed that the European Commission has ignored the repeated request of employers and trade unions for the development of an ambitious industrial policy to be included in the Work programme https://www.etuc.org/sites/www.etuc.org/files/press-release/files/2016-10-18_businesseurope_and_etuc_letter.pdf and https://www.etuc.org/sites/www.etuc.org/files/press-release/files/14.03.16_final_statement_industrial_policy.pdf;   
  • is surprised that Brexit negotiations are not mentioned, and underlines the absolute importance to citizens of upholding the rights of EU citizens living in the UK, and UK citizens living in other EU countries.

ETUC General Secretary Luca Visentini said “The top priority of the European Commission should be to create sustainable growth and quality jobs, and to tackle the poverty and inequality that is turning the atmosphere in Europe very nasty. I am not convinced this work programme is sufficiently focussed on that, although some trade union demands are taken on board, and much depends on the ambition of proposals they will make next year. I put the European Commission on notice that we expect a strong social pillar including new legal rights for workers and their families.”