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Wealth inequality in Europe

EESC opinion: Wealth inequality in Europe


Key points:


  • believes that income and wealth inequalities in the EU have become economic and social challenges that should be addressed with appropriate measures at national level and with the support of EU-level action;
  • thinks that a well-functioning system of social transfers and social assistance is needed. Fiscal redistribution should complement the gaps in the market system. Public assets should be developed as a means of addressing inequalities. Fiscal income should be shifted from labour-based taxation towards a more wealth-based one;
  • believes that intensive economic growth is key to reducing poverty and wealth inequalities. This should be promoted through better use of the Structural and Cohesion Funds, encouraging entrepreneurship, protecting competition, programmes to support SMEs and the implementation of policies to prevent discrimination of women and people in disadvantaged situations;
  • recommends framing policies at European level to promote more inclusive growth using an integrated approach. The European Pillar of Social Rights should be tied much more closely in with the European Semester and the Europe 2020 strategy;
  • points to the need for targeted labour-market measures focussed on promotion of employment and labour force protection. It is very important to have minimum social standards that guarantee decent pay and working conditions. The accent should be placed on facilitating transitions in working life and guaranteeing common labour and social rights;
  • recommends that a transparent mechanism be put in place to systematically monitor and consolidate data on all income and wealth. The establishment of a register of corporate shareholders at European level would have an important role to play here.