The social dimension of the Economic and Monetary Union

EESC opinion: The social dimension of the Economic and Monetary Union

Key points

  • The unprecedented economic and financial crisis, which has hit Member States of the Eurozone particularly hard, has also exposed structural weaknesses in Europe in general.
  • The Union is witnessing the proof in some of the most hard-hit countries that the economic and social crisis also has become a political crisis, where extremist and undemocratic political movements are on the rise. The need to counterbalance this trend is a matter of utmost urgency, through concrete actions at European, national and local level.
  • The Committee welcomes the increased attention brought to a social investment, a greater targeting of European funds to sound employment and social policies, a dedicated youth employment initiative and youth guarantee scheme, and better cross-border mobility. It also welcomes the foreseen strengthened social dialogue as part of the European Semester process.
  • It particularly supports the idea to step up closer surveillance of employment and social imbalances within the EMU through a systematic monitoring of rates of unemployment, of young people not in employment or training or education, of household income, poverty and inequality.
  • The proposed scoreboard of employment and social imbalances based on key indicators and thresholds should therefore pro-actively detect asymmetric developments and spillover into overall economic performance. This monitoring system should trigger where required a timely and effective adjustment mechanism and policy response, as is the case for similar economic and financial imbalances.