By the EESC Employers' Group

Ahead of the Social Summit in Porto next month, members of the Employers' Group met with Nicolas Schmit, Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights. During a frank and open debate, the Employers' Group president, Mr Mallia, stressed the need for a fast economic recovery, which is only possible if we ensure that our companies have the right business environment to be competitive, create jobs and consequently guarantee wellbeing for our societies.

In the midst of the worst economic recession since World War II, a sound economic recovery is both a prerequisite for and a way to facilitate social progress.

This means that the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR) and the Social Summit in Porto should not only be about social policy, but also about economic recovery and competitiveness.

Therefore, promoting job creation and participation in the labour market cannot be about new legislation or other obligations increasing the burden on companies. This approach has not worked in the past and will certainly not work in this dramatic economic crisis.

Instead, we need to focus on creating labour markets where flexibility and the ability of businesses to adapt to change are accompanied by adequate security for workers.

A vibrant industry and services sector and entrepreneurship remain central to Europe's future prosperity and wellbeing. We need a skilled and innovative workforce to embark on the digital and green transitions. Ensuring a competitive base for investments is fundamental to maintaining our social model.

EU legislation should be reserved for truly cross-border issues. When the EU legislates, all new initiatives at EU level should be better grounded in evidence and assessed on how they contribute to competitiveness. A new, targeted competitiveness check for all new initiatives would help to achieve this goal.

The Employers' Group met with Commissioner Schmit on 15 April. The discussion touched on a number of social issues, such as the EPSR action plan, the Porto Summit, the Commission's proposal on adequate minimum wages, and social dialogue and collective bargaining.

The full speech by Employers' Group president Mr Mallia to Commissioner Schmit can be found via this link: (dv/kr)