Economic policies followed until now to tackle the economic and social crisis have failed. They brought about low growth and deflation, increased precarious work and unemployment, particularly youth unemployment, rising poverty and inequalities. Divergences within and between countries increased.
Competition has been extended to all fields, including taxation, workers’ rights, workers’ wages, workers’ protection, working conditions, and social protection.
Competitiveness should be achieved on the basis of fair social standards, good wages and the development of skills and competences – not on the basis of unfair social competition.
Economic governance must fully integrate the objective of a social Europe. Austerity policies must stop. Countries must be given the fiscal flexibility necessary to see a revival of employment.
A continuation of current policies will fail and further alienate workers and citizens.
The ETUC has a clear proposal for a new path for Europe. Our proposal is based on an investment plan of 2% of EU GDP per year over ten years, leading to sustainable growth, to an environment friendly reindustrialisation of Europe and to social investments. Investment in childcare and care for the elderly is necessary to ensure that men and women have access to jobs. Our plan would bring 11 million new jobs. Public investments are necessary to trigger private investments.
The ETUC is convinced that social dialogue is the best way to find progressive and fair solutions. Social dialogue must be developed at all levels. Existing agreements must be implemented. The ETUC will continue its dialogue with employers and with EU institutions for more and better jobs.
The ETUC also reiterates its position on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations: no to Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), a positive list clearly protecting public services and the inclusion of standards of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) with an enforcement procedure. We oppose the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Canada (CETA) since it does not meet these conditions.
The ETUC supports fair and better regulation. We reject the REFIT deregulation project impinging on workers' rights and protections. All workers, whether they work in big, small or micro companies, must be equally protected.
The ETUC is determined to stand against all types of social dumping. The Posting of Workers Directive should be revised to ensure equal treatment of posted workers. We want a social progress protocol preventing economic freedoms from taking precedence over fundamental social rights.
The ETUC supports an ambitious programme on energy and climate including provisions for a just transition and taking care of workers negatively affected.
The ETUC supports freedom of movement in the EU. Abuses, by employers and/or illigitimate restrictions by governments, if and when they exist, should be addressed.
The investment programme proposed by Jean-Claude Juncker is not ambitious enough, compared to the ETUC plan. However, the ETUC believes it could be a step in the right direction, provided it is not simply a reshuffling of existing funds. We will closely scrutinise the source and implementation of this plan.
The President has also emphasised commitment to decent jobs, social dialogue, and equal treatment for posted workers, thus echoing some ETUC demands.
It is now time for the Commission to deliver on all these objectives. Nice words will not guarantee the new path for Europe that the ETUC is demanding. Action is necessary to restore people’s confidence in the capacity of the EU project to improve their lives.
Adopted by the ETUC Executive Committee at its meeting on 21-22 October 2014