Boosting long-term inclusive growth through reforms and investment

Background

The Belgian presidency of the Council of the EU has asked the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) to suggest ways to improve social unity in Europe while managing debt and investing in key areas like health and jobs. With this exploratory opinion, the Committee is also looking at how these ideas fit with the European Semester and the European Pillar of Social Rights. The EESC emphasises the need to tweak financial rules so countries can invest more in social programs. It also worries that tight budgets might slow down progress on important goals like fighting poverty and climate change. This opinion is set for discussion and adoption by the whole organisation during its March 2024 plenary.

Key points

In the opinion, the EESC

  • shows that reforms and investments in key social areas (particularly those that foster human capital) can have a positive impact on economic growth, productivity and competitiveness, while can reduce major future costs;
  • stresses the need for a more efficient use of financial resources, including public-private partnerships, and to discuss establishing an EU financial capacity by 2026 for common priorities like social investment and cyclical stabilization, supported by EU-wide guidelines and funding;
  • insists that strengthening the social aspect of the European Semester is vital for overseeing economic and social policies in the EU. By aligning it with the European Pillar of Social Rights, we can better coordinate among Member States, improve transparency, and monitor national plans effectively;
  • asks again to involve the social partners and civil society throughout decision-making. Formal consultation procedures can facilitate this involvement. Moreover, effective social protection systems and reforms are key for maximizing the impact of social investments;

Additional information

- EESC section: Economic and Monetary Union and Economic and Social Cohesion (ECO)

- opinion type: Exploratory opinion Presidency

- rapporteur: Javier DOZ ORRIT (Workers - GR II/Spain), Luca JAHIER (Civil Society Organisations - GR III/Italy), Wautier ROBYNS DE SCHNEIDAUER (Employers - GR I/Belgium)

- reference: ECO/630-EESC-2023-2023-04451

- date of adoption by section: 29/02/2024

- date of adoption in plenary: 20-21/03/2024

Contact

Thomas KERSTEN

Press Officer

Tel.: +32 (0) 2 546 8931

Email: thomas.kersten@eesc.europa.eu

 

Colombe GREGOIRE

Policy Officer

Tel.: +32 (0) 2 546 9286

Email: eco@eesc.europa.eu

 

Krisztina PERLAKY-TÓTH

Policy Officer

Tel.: +32 (0) 2 546 9740

Email: eco@eesc.europa.eu