Competitiveness is not an end in itself. It is only a sensible objective if it improves people's well-being in practice. The EESC therefore recommends that an updated definition of competitiveness ("competitiveness 2.0") be used in future, taking into account "the ability of a country to deliver the beyond-GDP goals for its citizens". The EESC urges that future discussions refer not to "competitiveness boards" but to "boards for competitiveness, social cohesion and sustainability". The EESC asks the Commission to present concrete proposals on how the following necessary requirements with regards to these boards can be safeguarded: accountability, legitimacy and transparency; representation of balanced unbiased expertise; non-binding character of proposals of the boards; inclusion of the dual role of wages, both as a cost factor and as the main determinant of domestic demand.
The Commission communication on Steps towards completing EMU can provide a great opportunity to launch a debate at political level and with civil society to draw up conclusive proposals which go further than the current ones. It would be more useful to draw up a proposal for the European Semester as part of a comprehensive agreement on economic governance that goes beyond the status quo, changing macroconditionality and strengthening the Interparliamentary Conference. Democratic legitimacy is not tackled seriously by any of the Commission's operational proposals. The tripartite social dialogue could contribute to this matter. On the basis of its own roadmap, the EESC is committed to putting forward, possibly with the Commission, a plan on stage two (Completing EMU 2017-2025) to discuss these issues in the Member States, beginning with the euro area countries.
Comparable data on volunteering in the individual EU Member States has never been available. Such activities, however, represent real economic value and this data could provide a very useful tool for facilitating implementation of many social and economic policies. Therefore the Committee calls on the European Commission to work on a standardised methodology for research into volunteer work and to ensure its adoption by the Member States via an appropriate EU Regulation. In so doing, use should be made of the ILO Manual on the Measurement of Volunteer Work. The Commission should also introduce binding legal measures to enable the non-profit sector to co-finance public grants with the economic value of volunteer work.
Growing inequality is a problem which can no longer be ignored. It is causing a divide between different social groups and has contributed to the rise of extreme movements and parties. It is a destabilising factor for both the economy and society and we urgently need to tackle this problem – these are among ....
GDP is the best-known measure of macro-economic activity. While it is used both by policy-makers around the world and in public debates, it was not designed to be a comprehensive measure of prosperity and well-being. Thus, other indicators are needed to assess and address the global challenges of the 21st century such as climate change, poverty, resource depletion and to promote health and a higher quality of life. Beyond GDP indicators should become instruments to not only monitor and measure, but also to inform policy development, improve communication and encourage target setting. Against this background, the Section for Economic and Monetary Union and Economic and Social Cohesion (ECO) of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is currently working on an own-initiative opinion on 'Beyond GDP measures for a successful recovery and a sustainable and resilient EU economy'.