Sustainability in the 2020 European Commission Work Programme

by the EESC's Workers Group

Digitalisation, climate change, demography and globalisation are the four issues dominating political priorities in the new term of the European Parliament and Commission. To tackle them a new, sustainable industrial model is needed that provides a fair transition towards a circular and green economy. Past experiences (such as the gilets jaunes) teach us that these urgently-needed measures will not gain popular support if they disregard workers and if they alone bear the burden.

An overarching strategy that empowers citizens and workers, ensures sustainability and protects fundamental rights is needed. Advancing towards an inclusive future means that the EU must develop legally-binding instruments ensuring a minimum income level, providing a floor for living minimum wages, and common frameworks for unemployment insurance.

For this purpose, social investments (in health, education, social inclusion and green transition) should be excluded from the Stability and Growth Pact by means of a golden rule, ensuring the proper development and implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights and the sustainability of public finances. Sustainability efforts must consequently always include social, economic, and environmental dimensions and the burdens and responsibility must be distributed accordingly, particularly regarding taxation. Social dialogue, the involvement of the social partners in policy-making, and respect for collective bargaining and workers' rights are fundamental tools to achieve this just transition that leaves no one behind.   (prp)