CEEP Opinion on the Reflection paper on the Social Dimension of Europe - PDF

Executive summary

  • CEEP members are committed to supporting upward social and economic convergence between Member States and regions. It is critical today to identify which of the paths ahead is the most realistic and achievable to realise this ambition.
  • It remains critical to recall that a unique model that would work for every country does not exist and that only Member States can anticipate the implications of policy initiatives at national, regional and local level.
  • As social partners and as representatives of providers of public services and SGIs, the scenario “Nothing but the Single Market” can surely be excluded. The Single Market is, and should remain, a tool to achieve sustainable growth, territorial and social cohesion. It should not be an end nor the only goal of the European Union.
  • The option for enhanced cooperation should not be established as the main scenario for the future of the EU as it could lead to blocking the EU. There must be limits to differentiation so as to dilute the risk of excessive complexity, and therefore a lack of visibility.
  • There is potential in the scenario “deepen the EU Social Dimension together” and CEEP intends to highlight the following proposals as priorities:
    • To ensure that a genuine EMU is supported by the EU citizens, national reform programmes need to be secured with proper social dialogue.
    • EU-wide societal benchmarks and good practice guidelines on access to child-care services, active ageing and access to enabling services should also be integrated within the social dimension of the European Semester.
    • Quantifiable European employment and social targets should be integrated within the stability and growth pact rules that govern debt and deficit targets.
    • Short-term economic efficiency must not be at the expense of longer-term investment in social infrastructures.
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