Taking into account the disastrous social and economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis, the EESC has outlined in two opinions its views on the current economic crisis and on recovery perspectives in the EU.

On the one hand, the advisory body considers the Commission's proposals for a Next Generation EU plan to be both welcome and timely. Any undue delay in approving and implementing the plan risks severely undermining the EU's economic recovery.

On the other, EESC members warn that Member States need to boost public investment and create synergies with private investment: the escape clause of the Stability and Growth Pact and maximum flexibility in State aid rules should apply at least until broad-based economic recovery has been fully established and unemployment has fallen significantly.

Overall, the EU needs a shift towards prosperity-focused and solidarity-based economic governance, as a return to austerity would dwarf any benefits from Next Generation EU.

Philip von Brockdorff, rapporteur for the opinion on the Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy 2020  said: "The EESC sees the ASGS as an opportunity for the dominant economic model to become far more resilient and sustainable, and to give equal weighting to both economic and social objectives."

Judith Vorbach, co-rapporteur of the opinion on the Recommendation for the economic policy of the euro area, stressed: "In order to minimise and avert the severe impacts of COVID-19 and climate change, the EESC recommends prosperity-focused economic governance, stepping up investment in sustainable growth, enforcing the European Pillar of Social Rights and reforming tax policies."

The two opinions, which were adopted at the October 2020 plenary, are the EESC' s contribution to the European Commission's forthcoming Autumn Semester Package and the ensuing inter-institutional discussions. Read the full news item here. (na)