EUR/005 - EESC opinion on the Annual Growth Survey 2013

Considering the dire state of the economy, the negative consequences on social cohesion, the high and rising unemployment and the increase in poverty, the EESC warns in this opinion against the continuation of the policy of austerity and against the severe consequences of recession.

The EESC admits that in emerging from the crisis, some economies have a much greater effort to make in restoring stability and growth than others. Nonetheless, the Committee warns against the risk of pronounced negative impacts of a rapid consolidation, particularly on the Member States that are already going through a deep, austerity-induced recession.

It recalls previous opinions in which it advocated consolidating public finances over as flexible a period as possible and urges to balance fiscal consolidation against a substantially strengthened and tangible Compact for Growth and Jobs.

Indeed, the EESC calls for decisive action to restore growth, jobs and competitiveness and for a rapid implementation of the Compact for Growth and Jobs, that should be turned into a vast European investment programme. It restates the importance of cohesion policy, the potential of the single market and the need for innovation. It then highlights the key role of businesses, social enterprises and cooperatives in the process of recovery. The Committee also considers that the greening of the economy and of the European semester should receive more attention. The opinion reiterates the need for investing in education, training and life-long learning, and for further action to foster employment (raising labour market participation, improving skill levels, facilitating mobility, improving public employment services, supporting entrepreneurship, etc.).

Finally, the Committee calls for a stronger role for the social partners and organised civil society at EU level and especially at national level. It also reiterates the need to improve the democratic accountability and legitimacy of the various processes of the European Semester.