Lessons learned from austerity make a change of policy mandatory

Lessons learned

Future crisis management should strive for a better balance between fiscal and social objectives to avoid adverse effects on the economic capacity, labour markets and social protection systems of the countries concerned. Instead of restrictive austerity, the EU institutions should implement policies in pursuit of economic cooperation, growth and solidarity, urges the EESC in its own-initiative opinion on Lessons learned for avoiding the severity of austerity policies.

"The EU institutions should be solely responsible for developing and implementing adjustment programmes, even if partnerships with external institutions are established," said rapporteur José Leirião (Various Interests, PT). "This is of the utmost importance as they have to be in line with our common values and objectives and must avoid the inconsistencies and shortcomings that have arisen in the past."

Based on the experience of the most recent crisis, the EU institutions should ensure that the social partners and representatives of civil society are involved on an equal footing with other bodies in the establishment, periodic monitoring and assessment of these programmes.

The Committee welcomes the aims of the Commission to reform the euro by abandoning austerity policies and deepening the EMU, as it considers that a reformed and completed EMU will make the EU more resistant to asymmetric shocks and help prevent future crises.

Nevertheless, the EESC urges the Commission to design supplementary programmes for the economic and social recovery of countries which were/are subject to austerity and believes that the Commission should propose measures to tackle, at EU level, the increase in poverty and to preserve social protection. (jk)