Establishment of National Competitiveness Boards within the Euro Area

EESC opinion: Establishment of National Competitiveness Boards within the Euro Area

Key points:

  • Competitiveness is not an end in itself. It is only a sensible objective if it improves people's well-being in practice.
  • The Committee therefore recommends that an updated definition of competitiveness ("competitiveness 2.0") be used in future, taking into account "the ability of a country (region, location) to deliver the beyond-GDP goals for its citizens" including social cohesion and sustainability.
  • The EESC urges that future discussions refer not to "competitiveness boards" but to "boards for competitiveness, social cohesion and sustainability".
  • The EESC agrees with the Commission approach which allows Member States to design their national boards either by setting up new institutions or adapting the mandate of existing bodies, provided they are independent and their aim is not to interfere with the wage setting process.
  • In view of the need to avoid duplicating existing work and bodies, the EESC asks the Commission to carry out a full mapping exercise.
  • The EESC asks the Commission to present concrete proposals on how the following necessary requirements can be safeguarded in case these boards are established:
  • accountability, legitimacy and transparency;
  • representation of balanced unbiased expertise;
  • non-binding character of proposals of the board;
  • inclusion of the dual role of wages, both as a cost factor and as the main determinant of domestic demand.
  • The EESC already put forward specific proposals for deepening EMU before the latest Commission package – proposals which should be implemented. The Committee also shares the Commission's view that closer coordination of national economic policies is essential in order to remove existing imbalances and make it less likely that imbalances will occur in future.
  • Competing national strategies are not needed, but rather a common European strategy. It is of crucial importance here to expand macroeconomic dialogue and introduce it for the euro area.
  • Also at national level, the role of the social partners must be strengthened and systems of macroeconomic dialogue developed or consolidated.