The impact of the global crisis on the main European manufacturing and services sectors

The impact of the global crisis on the main European manufacturing and services sectors

Gist of the opinion

The EESC is convinced that the consequences of the current financial crisis on the major European manufacturing and services sectors are such that the EU institutions and Member States must undertake a profound review and closer coordination of EU policies.

The EESC strongly advocates ratification of the Lisbon Treaty in order to ensure that the EU's architecture can respond to the need to make our continent's development more competitive, sustainable and open.

The EESC is convinced that if the European project is renewed, it will be possible to launch a European economic recovery.

The principle of subsidiarity needs to be understood in its original meaning. Faced with global problems, policies and instruments have to be of a European and global scale.

The EESC is aware that some countries are displaying considerable impatience with the rules of the internal market. This is a mistake.

In present circumstances, the Council – backed by the European Parliament and the Commission – should devise a "strategic pact", including:

• strong commitments to the single market;
• an undertaking to introduce fiscal coordination;
• an agreed option for Member States that are "feeling the crunch" to join the eurozone rapidly;
• implementation of coordinated public measures to reduce systemic risks.

The EESC is convinced that the first instrument to be put in place should be a real substantial industrial policy that is not influenced by the choices of financial speculators and aims at sustainable development. Fifty years of concrete experience in industrial policy based on the ECSC Treaty in two key European production sectors should be consulted, updated as necessary, amended to foster a sustainable development, and used as a reference for future action.

It is through the development of businesses and the social economy, and their ability to provide innovative responses, that Europe will overcome the crisis and recover economically.

In order to create a development strategy, the social partners and organised civil society as a whole should work towards developing Territorial Social Responsibility (TSR) with a view to implementing a coordinated set of strategies. The Lisbon Strategy must retain its credibility and demonstrate its ability to adapt to this new context by stepping up reform and identifying clear priorities and new methods, and streamlining with the objectives of the EU Sustainable Development Strategy  in the post-Lisbon strategy to be defined in the coming months.