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Euro area economic policy 2018 (additional opinion)

EESC opinion: Euro area economic policy 2018 (additional opinion)

Press release: EESC gives European Parliament, Commission and Council fresh input for improving economic governance in the EU

Key points:

  • agrees with the aims of the Council Recommendation and some of its proposals, but expresses its disagreement with the proposal for a neutral aggregate fiscal stance of the euro area, as well as with the way the recommendation on salaries is formulated;
  • believes the economic policy of the euro area should be designed as part of a project to reform EMU by overcoming shortcomings in its structure and functioning, and expresses concern about the paralysis in the reform process;
  • believes the Council recommendations should be part of a general economic policy strategy that uses as reference the 2030 Agenda, the SDGs and the Paris Agreement;
  • favours a positive fiscal stance for the euro area through investment spending in surplus countries;
  • believes the EU and Member States must make a greater commitment to the fight against poverty and inequality and to increased social cohesion, in particular by providing adequate funding for the European Pillar of Social Rights;
  • considers that the effort to limit unit labour costs should not come from reducing or freezing wages, but from an increase in productivity;
  • believes that wages need to be determined by the social partners and that the European Semester should reinforce collective bargaining or introduce it where it does not exist;
  • believes additional measures must be taken to raise the lowest wages and reduce precariousness suffered by young people in particular;
  • believes favourable environments for business investment and innovation should be promoted, in particular when dealing with the digitalisation of economic activities;
  • reiterates that Banking Union and Capital Markets Union are very important for financing economic activity, and expresses concern about the delays and obstacles in developing Banking Union;
  • believes European authorities should commit effectively to the fight against misappropriation of public funds, tax fraud and aggressive tax planning, money laundering, tax havens and unfair tax competition between Member States.