On 15/02/2017, the Workers' Group held an extraordinary meeting to discuss its strategy and priorities in view of the unfolding developments that are transforming the political and institutional scene in Europe and elsewhere: election of the new American President, the perspective of a Brexit, the end of the informal "big coalition" in the European Parliament, the government crisis in Italy and the upcoming elections in the Netherlands, France and Germany. Participants reflected upon the challenges and opportunities for European trade unions in the face of these changes that call them now, more than ever, to defend European democratic values and the rule of law against increasingly aggressive populist movements and their misleading proposals. Katja Lehto-Komulainen, Deputy General Secretary of ETUC, participated in the debate.
The Workers' Group is convinced that creating a new EU economic and social model for employment and growth that really works for the well-being of its people is the best protection against such phenomena. Europe must offer more than a capital market that paves the way for social dumping practices and growing economic and social divergences. There is a strong connection between the future of the EU and an effective social pillar and the debate particularly focused on ways of moving forward to strongly link it with important public and private investment to create new jobs.
In 2017, Europe will be put to the test: will it come up with specific proposals to transform this project into positive, concrete actions? Will it provide fair working and living conditions for all? In other words, will it be a fair EU or a failed EU?
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