Lessons learned for avoiding the severity of austerity policies in the EU

EESC opinion: Lessons learned for avoiding the severity of austerity policies in the EU

Key points


  • welcomes the Commission's aim to reform the euro in key aspects by abandoning austerity policies and deepening the Economic and Monetary Union and recommends that future crises in the European Union should be managed by striving for a better balance between fiscal and social objectives;
  • recommends that in future crisis situations affecting any EU Member States, the European Union Institutions should be solely responsible for developing and implementing the adjustment programmes;
  • urges the Commission to design supplementary economic and social recovery programmes, to be applied at the same time as or at the end of an adjustment programme;
  • recommends setting up a targeted programme for social recovery to operate in the countries that are, or have been, subject to adjustment programmes;
  • calls on the Commission to draw up a European strategy for eradicating poverty in the EU and integrating the homeless as a matter of urgency;
  • recommends reforming the Lisbon Treaty by asserting the primacy of economic cooperation and growth policies and of solidarity as the real alternatives to restrictive austerity policies;
  • recommends making specific funds available to channel more resources into creating jobs in the health services and the sectors most affected by emigration (science, programming, new technologies, engineering and medicine) to encourage those who have left to return to their countries of origin;
  • recommends that further examining the ideas to set up a universal, basic European unemployment insurance scheme to respond effectively to the challenges of digitalisation, automation and AI that are changing the labour markets, and calls for the introduction of a minimum living income;
  • underlines that the social partners and representatives of civil society must be included in the programme's monitoring and assessment panel, on an equal footing with representatives of the EU, the ECB and other bodies;
  • calls upon the Commission to follow up on the conclusions of the High Level Group on the mutualisation of debt and euro debt securities;
  • suggests that the Commission strive to set up an independent international body with the task of evaluating credibility and impartiality regarding the adequacy evaluations conducted. It should also promote the creation of a European Credit Rating Agency.