The EESC welcomes the Commission’s Annual Growth Survey (AGS) 2015 with its conceptual objective of promoting suitable growth levels to support Europe’s recovery. The three pillars approach – boosting investment, structural reforms and responsive fiscal and budget consolidation - seems to be a good response to Europe’s needs. However there are still some weaknesses in the process, bearing in mind that the AGS does not cover sufficiently social and environmental aspects.
In view of the Investment Plan for Europe, it is crucial to establish appropriate conditions for partnership-based investment involving both the private and public sectors. Here social investment can play a critical role in the promotion of welfare and the eradication of poverty and exclusion.
The EESC believes that fiscal responsibility is needed from all Member States and it should be directly linked with employment promotion and social accountability. The Committee supports growth-friendly fiscal consolidation and asks – where possible – the Member States to reduce the tax burden imposed by austerity policies to re-stimulate private investment without neglecting smart public investment.
The EESC welcomes the streamlining of the European Semester, but cautions that a new 'civil society calendar' must be implemented. The Committee underlines that the mid-term review of the Europe 2020 strategy should be published in a timely manner in order to give stakeholders sufficient time to prepare their positions.