The "Agenda for new skills and jobs" is one of the seven flagship initiatives under the Europe 2020 Strategy. It proposes actions within four key priorities in order to reach an employment rate of 75% by 2020. In its opinion the EESC broadly welcomes the European Commission initiative but puts forward a number of comments and recommendations. For instance, the Committee finds that the proposed initiative fails to encapsulate the urgent need to create good-quality jobs. It does not constitute a sufficient stimulus to Member States to set more ambitious national goals backed by the necessary investment and structural reforms.
The Committee's opinion, prepared in view of the Spring European Council, comments on the Commission’s ‘Annual growth survey’ (AGS) 2012.
In the first part, it deals with general issues related to the AGS such as: its focus on growth, on fiscal consolidation and on the implementation of reforms agreed in the framework of the European semester as well as the implication of organised civil society and social partners in the AGS process.
The second part brings together specific contributions from various EESC opinions that were adopted in 2011 in relation to the five AGS priorities: pursuing differentiated, growth-friendly fiscal consolidation; restoring normal lending to the economy; promoting growth and competitiveness; tackling unemployment and the social consequences of the crisis; and modernising public administration. These comments update the EESC’s position on the AGS 2011 that was adopted in March 2011.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) endorses the priorities set out in the European Commission's 2017 Annual Growth Survey.
The European Semester is seen as a good instrument for further progress in policies and reform, leading to recovery and employment. The AGS 2017 outlines the most pressing economic and social priorities, accompanied by specific recommendations, however the EESC takes very seriously the negative aspects of the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact and Country-Specific Recommendations applied at national level to set the euro area fiscal stance.
The absence of economic and social convergence among Member States and regions is a threat to the political sustainability of the European project and all the benefits it has brought to European citizens. Developing economic and labour market resilience with economic, social, environmental and institutional sustainability should be the principle guiding policies. This will foster upwards convergence and fairness in the transition towards a climate-neutral economy while managing the challenges posed by digitalisation and demographic change.
On 23 February the EESC adopted two opinions addressing the issues of education and training and vocational skills development in the EU. Initiatives intended to promote high quality education for all could be meaningless, the EESC warned, if the austerity measures still in place in many EU countries prevented these from making the highly needed investments. As for the Commission's New Skills Agenda, the EESC wishes to see more innovative solutions focusing on social and gender perspectives, non-formal and informal learning and entrepreneurship as a life skill.
Seven years since the start of the crisis, the Committee expresses its concern over high unemployment, which is an issue in certain Member States in particular. The 2016 AGS contains much more in the way of social analysis, objectives and goals, but for this new approach to be effective, it should not be based on the reiteration of the policy recommendations of previous years.
On Monday 3 October the Greek Economic and Social Committee (OKE) and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), jointly organised the conference: Reforms needed to re-launch the Greek competitiveness which took place in Athens, in the premises of OKE.On Monday 3 October the Greek Economic and Social Committee (OKE) and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), jointly organised the conference: Reforms needed to re-launch the Greek competitiveness which took place in Athens, in the premises of OKE.On Monday 3 October the Greek Economic and Social Committee (OKE) and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), jointly organised the conference: Reforms needed to re-launch the Greek competitiveness which took place in Athens, in the premises of OKE.
It is vital to foster economic growth; only if Europe has a strong economy, can it better face the political and social challenges that stand before it. This was one of the main messages of the EESC opinions adopted yesterday in Brussels. The EESC calls for more investment– both private and public – directly in the countries that need it most. The EU body representing Civil Society also finds that the Juncker plan is not enough ...
The public hearing on "Towards a more resilient and sustainable European economy with a vision for completing EMU" to be held on Friday, 12 April 2019, starting at 11.30 a.m., will discuss from a wider civil society perspective the future of the European economy and the political initiatives and decisions that need to be taken during the upcoming legislative term and beyond. Taking into account the conclusions of the debate, the EESC will draw up two own-initiative opinions, entitled "Towards a more resilient and sustainable European economy" and "A new vision for completing the Economic and Monetary Union", to be forwarded to the new European Parliament and European Commission.