Annual Sustainable Growth Survey 2022

EESC opinion: Annual Sustainable Growth Survey 2022

Key points:

  • calls for a foresightful cooperation on the EU´s health policy, a boost to vaccination levels and the adoption of a global approach, in order to have an open debate at EU level on a temporary and voluntary TRIPS waiver;
  • advocates a prosperity-focused policy and supports the EU´s "competitive sustainability" agenda. Its four dimensions – environmental sustainability, productivity, fairness and macroeconomic stability – as well as competitiveness, should be placed on an equal footing in order to achieve the intended reinforcing effects and successful transformation;
  • believes that the weaker the involvement of parliaments, the social partners and other civil society organisations, the more likely it is that disparities will increase and acceptance decrease, especially with regard to the transformation of the economy to achieve climate neutrality;
  • stresses the importance of ensuring a fair distribution of the efforts and gains of the transition and of a sound business climate and of keeping strong industrial value chains in Europe, and calls for European industrial leadership to strive for sustainability;
  • believes that a fair productivity approach constitutes a critical driver for competitiveness and upward convergence in the long run, and calls for appropriate proposals on how to guarantee non-treaty protected national rules, since social and labour rights, which are fundamental, are not part of the constitutionally protected freedoms of the internal market;
  • fully agrees that Member States should intensify efforts to improve learning outcomes across their education and training systems and that access to life-long learning should be ensured;
  • calls on the Commission to scrutinise the distributional effects of pay-outs under the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and Next Generation EU (NGEU) and to secure their contribution to the development of a greener and digitalised economy, as well as to upward social convergence;
  • warns against promoting policies that curtail current expenditures relating to social, educational and health expenses and calls for fair revenue policies;
  • calls for social imbalances to be monitored, while surveillance under the macroeconomic imbalance procedure (MIP) has insufficiently taken account of interactions between new emerging economic challenge;
  • perceives that we are entering a new phase of economic policy and the evolving 2022 European Semester is a chance to enhance economic, environmental and social sustainability, and stressed that the balanced approach of the competitive sustainability agenda should be reflected in the upcoming country-specific recommendations (CSRs), and greater involvement of the social partners and organised civil society is long overdue;
  • stresses that the extent to which it will actually be reflected in the CSRs and the Recovery and Resilience Plans (RRPs) remains unclear, while the reinforced focus on the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights is welcome;
  • believes that economic governance needs to be integrated into the European Semester process in such a way as to ensure the democratic involvement of the parliaments, the social partners and organised civil society.