As EU leaders meet for summit talks in Brussels today, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) warns that the Economic and Monetary Union could unravel if its social dimension is not strengthened. The Committee pleads for pro-active measures and improved social dialogue on economic and employment policies. More solutions from social partners will help to build trust and reinforce the social fabric of the Union, said the EESC.
The EESC cautions the European Council, in its opinion on the social dimension of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) adopted at its last plenary session, that if there is a lack of political will to revitalize the EU social dimension, the option of enhanced cooperation should be invoked within the EMU itself.
This should be done with its own financial resources, a supplementary Social Fund, a Social Progress Pact and social standards, objectives and stabilizer mechanisms matching the fiscal, budgetary and monetary stabilizer mechanisms.
George Dassis, the Greek President of the EESC Workers' Group, rapporteur for the opinion, warned that "without building up a strong social dimension, the EMU could fail".
For the EMU to succeed, a simultaneous approach must be adopted that will match employment and social targets with debt and deficit targets in order to trigger adjustments and prevent greater inequalities among Member States.
The EESC argues that the European Semester, the EU's annual cycle of economic policy-making, must include employment and social inclusion indicators which are preventive and pro-active, triggering where required a timely and effective adjustment mechanism and policy response, before unemployment and social imbalances become a danger for democracy.
The EESC also calls for better cross-border labour mobility, both for maintaining employment and competitiveness and creating new jobs. To achieve this, the EU should continue reducing existing barriers to free movement while respecting collective agreements and labour law systems at national level. It stresses that EURES, the European Job Mobility Portal should work closer with social partners to ensure the provision of comprehensive advice and information on social and legal employment latters.