Public investment in Europe: the EU can and must do more!

Extraordinary meeting of the Workers' Group

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Europe continues to suffer from a lack of investment, hampering economic recovery and social progress. Boosting economic recovery through public investment was the focus of discussions at the Workers' Group extraordinary meeting on 30 November. Achim Truger,  Professor of Economics at the Berlin School of Economics and Law, presented his study 'Implementing the golden rule for public investment in Europe', explaining how public deficits can be justified if used for investment purposes. Participants discussed among others how such a rule could be successfully applied at European level, to allow greater flexibility in the Stability and Growth Pact by excluding productive and progressive investment from national deficit and debt targets.

Chiara Crepaldi, Senior Researcher at the Institute for socio-economic research in Milan, also presented a study 'The investment plan and the Social Pillar: a step forward to a new strategy for Europe', examining possible synergies between the Investment Plan for Europe and the European Pillar of Social Rights initiative, as key elements of a new strategy for upward economic and social convergence in Europe. In the debate that followed, participants addressed among others the question of how the EU can develop a positive project – which is urgently needed - to guarantee security and fair living and working conditions for its workers and citizens, especially in view of the danger of rising nationalism and the employment, economic and social challenges of the digital era.

The meeting was an opportunity to discuss progress on President Juncker's Jobs, Growth and Investment Package, focusing on ideas to promote European investment policy and the 'Social Pillar' initiative as instruments to secure sustainable and inclusive growth and as an alternative to austerity policies.