Debate on the climate finance pact
Guaranteeing adequate funding to finance the enormous energy transition project is an issue very dear to the Workers' Group, with major investment needed to achieve a fair transition to a low carbon economy, creating quality jobs. These were the points debated by our Group, Commissioner Arias Cañete, and experts Pierre Larrouturou and Jean Jouzel.
The debate on the transition to a low carbon economy gravitated around major questions on the transition to a low carbon economy, particularly regarding investment and quality jobs. On 17/01/18, the EESC plenary welcomed Mr Cañete, Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Pierre Larrouturou, agricultural engineer and economist, and Jean Jouzel, climatologist, for a debate on the climate-finance pact promoted by Mr Larrouturou and Mr Jouzel with the aim to bring finance to serve the fight against climate change. Guaranteeing adequate funding to finance the enormous energy transition project is an issue very dear to the Workers' Group. In this respect, Isabel Caño, Member of the Workers' Group, stressed that major economic investments were necessary to achieve a fair transition to a low carbon industry, with the creation of decent and quality jobs. The EU should be a leader to make sure that in COP 24 funding would be at the nucleus of debates. Gabriele Bischoff, President of the Workers' Group, pointed out that fair transition as regards climate change and the digital economy are major challenges that need more European funding. Furthermore, they both must be tackled in a consistent manner by a united EU for its citizens to have the feeling that they were being led into this new era by capable hands. Rudy De Leeuw, Workers' Group Member and FGTB President, stressed that the debate Europe should be having was precisely how to orient European industry towards the future. It was time to stop "suffering" technological progress and to give a concrete response to secure a fair transition. The EU needed a sustainable long-term strategy that ensured equal rights and respected the environment, and a real economy that promised well paid, high quality jobs by taxing benefits rather than investments. The Committee was preparing a position in that respect to present to the EU institutions.
Debate on the presentation of the priorities of the Bulgarian presidency of the Council of the EU
The Workers' Group stressed the Bulgarian Presidency's priority of a strong social Europe, in the 'Future of Europe' and 'Stability and Security', and solidarity as a horizontal principle in their work, in the debate with Ms Roussinova, Bulgarian Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Policy, together with the importance of implementing the Pillar of Social Rights
The Workers' Group members wished success to the Bulgarian presidency in the implementation of its priorities emphasizing particularly the need for the EU to have a strong social dimension. On 17/01/2018, the EESC plenary also welcomed Ms Roussinova, Bulgarian Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Policy, for a debate on the presentation of the priorities of the Bulgarian presidency of the Council of the EU. In this framework, Gabriele Bischoff, President of the Workers' Group, stressed that inequality, poverty, unemployment and divergence endanger the EU and that the Bulgarian Presidency has to play a key role to put the social pillar in practice at both EU and national level in order to ensure social and economic convergence and thus combat nationalistic retreats. Plamen Dimitrov, Workers' Group Member and President of the Bulgarian Confederation of Independent Trade Unions, also insisted that the first priority was to deliver on the commitments on the social pillar by integrating the social dimension in the European semester and called for an alliance for the convergence of wages and minimum levels of income to become a political priority. Giuseppe Iuliano, Workers' Group Member, stressed that the EU was very interested in the development of the Western Balkans, calling for a solid and coherent use of the financial instruments for pre-accession assistance. Bulgaria could share its own experience in European integration.