Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy 2021

EESC opinion: Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy 2021

Key Points



  • welcomes the fact that the Recovery and Resilience Facility confirms the importance of genuine involvement of civil society organisations and social partners in the development of national recovery and resilience plans; 
  • advocates the establishment of a binding conditionality principle requiring governments to involve social partners and other civil society organisations in the planning and implementation; 
  • is convinced that in order for the joint actions to be effective and for the  Facility to be implemented successfully, it is essential that conditions favouring economic development be strengthened and, above all, that the Single Market continue to be fully functional, in particular by ensuring the free movement of people and goods;
  • notes that public debt arising from borrowing to finance programmes under the Facility should not burden future generations. In that connection, the EESC recommends Member States earmarking funds from the Facility for budgetary expenditure relating to the current crisis, and take it as an opportunity to make our economies and societies sustainable and equitable;
  • suggests considering not counting loans under the Facility in the medium term towards a Member State's budget deficit; 
  • warns against phasing out support measures, such as the escape clause, too early and advocates the establishment of new fiscal rules that reflect social and economic realities after the pandemic;
  • welcomes the appropriate steps taken to address the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic in the context of the European Green Deal. While this means that the transition to a green model of growth will continue, the EESC stresses that a prerequisite for its success is for the national recovery and resilience plans to be in line with the proposed territorial just transition plans;
  • believes that the digital transition should not only contribute to productivity gains, but also improve education and the political, social and cultural participation of everyone living in the EU. Special attention should be paid to older people, people with disabilities, people at risk of social exclusion and other vulnerable groups;
  • takes the view that one of the objectives of the digital transition should be to establish universal access to broadband internet as a public service free of charge for all EU residents;
  • regrets that the strategy devotes too little attention to social issues, particularly in view of the urgent need for consistent implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights. Efforts to move rapidly towards a green and digital economy must not result in a further increase in poverty and greater social exclusion;
  • believes that the current socio-economic situation for young people could have a negative impact on the future development of the EU and therefore calls for a smooth implementation of the reinforced Youth Guarantee programme;
  • calls for the introduction of new instruments to combat tax evasion, undeclared work and the shadow economy which is linked to insufficient protection of workers' rights, money laundering and corruption, including with regard to transnational corporations;
  • recommends that the joint, coordinated European flagships proposed by the European Commission (EC) be reviewed to ensure equal access to affordable and high-quality healthcare systems and social services;
  • recommends that the EC draw up an additional document presenting the content of the Communication in a clearer and simpler way so that it can be debated within civil society organisations.