Annual Growth Survey 2019 (additional opinion)

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Stanovisko EHSV: Annual Growth Survey 2019 (additional opinion)

Key Points:

The EESC:

  • considers that there is still a need for public and private investment as well as expenditure on training and education (starting from early child education) to improve the competitiveness of the European business sector. The country-specific recommendations have a welcome focus on investment this year. Special attention must be paid to productive investments and investment in social infrastructure to prioritise sustainable growth, and in enabling the implementation of the social pillar;
  • believes that the structural reform effort of Member States needs to increase. In particular, regarding the current account surplus countries, the low compliance of Member States with the Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure needs to be addressed for the sake of economic and political stability in the European Union and the euro area;
  • notes that the current environment of very low interest rates has freed up funds in national budgets. Member States should use these funds to expand their physical, digital and environmental investment expenditure as well as expenditure on training, skills and qualifications;
  • welcomes the larger role of the European Pillar of Social Rights and the social scoreboard . The Committee encourages the Commission to proceed with and develop it during the next cycles of the European Semester;
  • believes that climate change has become a central issue during the last year and can be reflected more in the Semester. Recommendations for next year's cycle should contain more CSRs to combat the existential threat of climate change, if not even at least one per Member State;
  • considers that taxation needs to favour productive investment and spending in the real economy. Tax revenue should be shifted to sources other than those related to work and sustainable consumption;
  • acknowledges that the financialisation of parts of the European economy has put an undue burden on companies and employees and asks the Commission to investigate the possibility of using the European Semester to promote overall stakeholder value rather than only shareholder value;
  • supports the introduction of minimum standards concerning the consultation of the national social partners by national governments at various stages during the European Semester.