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In the presence of Viorica Dăncilă, Prime Minister of Romania, Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, and Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, CEEP Vice-President Milena Angelova addressed the Tripartite Social Summit today [19th March 2019].
Highlighting the challenges and priorities for employers of public services and services of general interest, she said:

”The European social model is the biggest asset of the EU. It should be maintained in a sustainable manner through cultivating an innovative and competitive European economy, together with guaranteeing high-quality, affordable and accessible public services. This can only be achieved through investments in essential services.”

 “It is important to stick to our joint commitment on the European economic governance, balancing structural reforms, fiscal stability and investment. The priority should now lie more specifically in well-targeted investments in physical and social infrastructures and in intangible assets, such as skills and competences, to foster productivity growth.”

 “Finding a workforce with the appropriate skills remains a pressing challenge for many employers of public services. To tackle this, reliable anticipations of the skills supply and demand and of the EU labour market’s future structure are key, together with making VET a first-class option for learners and fostering permeability between VET and higher education. It means also an increased demand for STEM, digital and soft skills, and great needs for the upskilling and reskilling of employees.”

Ms Angelova concluded on the importance of social dialogue in this context: “We will need stronger social dialogue and social partners to anticipate these challenges through cooperation and negotiations. We have committed to doing so at European level in our new Work programme 2019-2021, and many of our members are already actively working in this direction.”

The European Union has given long-lasting peace across our continent and has brought European people together around the fundamental values of democracy, human rights, freedom and equality.

Democracy needs to be lived in order to remain alive. We therefore urge citizens across Europe to go out and vote in the European elections from 23-26 May 2019 in order to have a say on the future and to defend democracy, sustainable economic growth and social justice.

The EU has been instrumental in making the European way of life what it is today. It has brought unprecedented economic and social progress and continues to bring tangible benefits for citizens, workers and enterprises across Europe.

These are uncertain times for Europe and for the world. Whilst we are on a path towards recovery, the economic and social consequences of the crisis can still be felt by citizens, workers and enterprises. Some people question or even reject the European project. We are facing huge challenges – international tensions, re-defining the EU-UK relationship, migration, unemployment, prospects for our youth, the climate and digital transformation and in several countries, increasing economic and social inequalities. But the answer is not to pull up the drawbridge and retreat – we must stand up and take action in a united way.

The EU project has to remain resilient and strong and we, the European Social Partners, believe that it can continue to help us to face our challenges and design a brighter future for Europe, its citizens, workers and enterprises. Europe is still one of the best places in the world to live, work and do business. We have much to be proud of and to cherish and we should build on this, together.

In this spirit, we will continue to contribute to a successful European project and a united Europe that delivers for its workers and enterprises, focusing on initiatives that improve their everyday lives and offer a better future full of opportunities for all.

Today [11 March 2019], CEEP General Secretary Valeria Ronzitti addressed EU leaders at the Macro-economic Dialogue at Political level (MEDPOL), on ‘Inequality and Inclusive Growth. In presence of Mario Centeno, President of Eurogroup, Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President of the European Commission and Benoit Coeuré, Member of the Executive Board of the ECB, Ms Ronzitti said:

”CEEP strongly believes that inequality hinders growth. Excessive and increasing inequality levels imply direct social costs, weaken incentives to invest in knowledge, prevent social mobility and may also inhibit sustainable and potential growth.”

 “There is also a strong political risk behind inequality as it undermines social confidence and reduces support for democratic institutions. Globalisation and Digitalisation will continue to have a tremendous impact on the citizens’ lives, and we must act to improve social inclusion and cohesion in Europe.”

“CEEP represents employers operating in sectors such as healthcare, education, housing, energy, transport, which are key in ensuring the social fabric of our territories and providing European citizens with the means to contribute to society.”

“We believe that part of the solution in tackling inequalities lies with targeted investment in physical and social infrastructures, high quality vocational education and training and stronger collective bargaining institutions.”

During the discussions, Valeria Ronzitti also supported the calls of the Romanian Presidency to propose a two-year up-front funding to overcome the technical and financial obstacles faced everyday by beneficiaries of EU funds. “It would propose a much-needed real simplification of the cohesion policy, and allow a prompt response to the challenges posed by the ongoing gaps and disparities at EU level,” said Ms Ronzitti. “It will also promote a more efficient use of the available financial resources, in favor of the beneficiaries.”

On Thursday 7 March 2019, CEEP held at the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) its first event on the EU elections. Focused on the importance of participation and engagement, the event featured as speakers Luca Jahier, President of the EESC, MEP Karine Gloanec-Maurin, chair of the European Parliament Intergroup on Public Services, MEP Jo Leinen, Honorary President of the European Movement International, Christian Mangold, Director for Campaigns at the European Parliament, Petros Fassoulas, Secretary General of the European Movement International, and Tellervo Kyla-Harraka-Rounala, Vice-President of the EESC Employers’ group.

In his opening statement, Tom Beattie, CEEP Vice-President said:

“Ahead of the EU elections, the coming months will be very important for the EU and for CEEP. It will be a moment to make sure CEEP is seen and heard in the debate, and that candidates for a mandate at the European Parliament get a clear understanding of the importance of Europe, of public services and of services of general interest for citizens.”

Closing the event, Milena Angelova, CEEP Vice-President, a

“Focusing primarily on the importance of participation and engagement, this event was successful in bringing around the same table a broad range of actors from different horizons, in order to share ideas and thoughts. With the EU elections now two and a half months ahead of us, many new eligible decision-makers will need to get familiar with the EU, and the functioning of the EU institutions. It really is a capital moment: the EU institutions are called to give a new breath to our European project, and CEEP intends to stay active on those issues.”

On this occasion, CEEP also joined forces with the European Parliament ahead of the elections. Valeria Ronzitti, CEEP General Secretary, commented:

“The European Parliament’s campaign ‘This Time I’m Voting’, the EMI’s Democracy Alive festival, the rEUnaissance high-level conference of the EESC: those are all initiatives CEEP is being involved in, aimed at carrying this pro-democracy message. Both in their constituencies and in Brussels, our members are calling for such platforms for open and frank discussions on Europe, and to have a say on the future of its institutions, placing SGIs and public services at the core of it.”

Today, [on 21 February 2019], Valeria Ronzitti, CEEP General Secretary, addressed the ‘Civil Society for rEUnaissance’ event organised by the European Economic and Social Committee. At this occasion, Ms Ronzitti has highlighted the key messages for employers and providers of public services and services of general interest:

“Representing providers of public services and SGI, CEEP holds some of the keys to bring answers and propel forward the European project. Our members are active in sectors which are of prime importance for the daily life of our citizens. Without affordable, efficient and effective public services and SGIs, such as education, healthcare or energy, how would the EU society would look like?”

“At a moment when ‘sustainable’ is on everyone’s lips, we need to clearly recognize public services and services of general interest as instrumental for this sustainable future, bringing together environmental, social and economic concerns. And to act accordingly, in order to promote social and territorial cohesion, as well as upwards convergence for citizens and enterprises.”

“Three minutes is a pretty short time to present all our key messages, but CEEP has prepared its ‘Priorities for 2019-2024’, and I will just highlight 5 of the items we brought forward: 

A fair and predictable level-playing field for all SGIs;
An active and living social dialogue;
An attractive investment environment for our infrastructures;
The integration of migrants and refugees;
A European democracy supported by cohesion and subsidiarity.”

“All in all, together with colleagues social partners, we are engaged in contributing to the successes of the European project, convinced that our socio-economic model makes Europe one of the best places in the world to live and work.

Today, [on 6 February 2018], CEEP, ETUC, BusinessEurope and SMEunited have signed their 6th autonomous Social Partners Work Programme. The official signing ceremony was attended by Valdis Dombrovskis, European Commission Vice-President for Social Dialogue and the Euro, Marius-Constantin Budăi, Romanian Minister of Labour and Social Justice, and Marianne Thyssen, European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs.

During the signing ceremony, CEEP General Secretary Valeria Ronzitti said:

“With this 6th Autonomous joint work programme, the European Social Partners renew their commitment to address the challenges our members face on a daily basis.

Representing public services and SGI employers, CEEP looks forward to negotiating an autonomous agreement on digitalisation. Together with our trade unions counterparts, we will design solutions to accompany the transformation brought up by automation, artificial intelligence and the rise of the data economy on the labour market. Developing skills and innovation, empowering national social partners via capacity-building and promoting circular economy are other key issues bearing new opportunities for Social Partners to work together.

We are confident that, through this Work-programme, we, the European Social Partners, will prepare and promote constructive and pragmatic solutions for a fair, competitive and sustainable Europe.”

You can consult the Work Programme here.

Video presentation:

Today, [on 11 December 2018], 16 enterprises providing public services and services of general interests have been awarded the CEEP CSR Label 2018-2019. The awarding ceremony was hosted by the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR, member of CEEP Sweden) in Stockholm, and jointly organised by CEEP and CEEP Sweden. A compendium of practices from enterprises awarded was also circulated.

“Throughout Europe, providers and employers of public services are particularly conscious of the impact their operations have on the society and the environment. Awarding CEEP CSR Labels is for us an important demonstration that public services’ providers are now doing more than fulfilling their services” said Filippo Brandolini, CEEP Vice-President.

Sophie Thörne, President of CEEP Sweden, also emphasised the importance of CSR for public services’ enterprises and organisations in Sweden. “The CEEP CSR Label is a very important benchmarking exercise and is really inspiring for CEEP Sweden and our members. It gives credit to the hard work they are doing and gives them recognition for their activities.”

Corporate social responsibility has become a key element for the management of public services. CEEP created the CEEP-CSR Label in 2008, as an answer to the need of members and enterprises providing public services to be recognised for their activities in the field of CSR, whilst no label dedicated to public services’ providers existed at European level.

With the increased importance of the role played by labels in Public Procurement following the 2014 Directive which is now being implemented in Member States, the CEEP CSR Label has gained in visibility and recognition, bringing a clear added value to the awarded enterprises.

 

The enterprises and organisations awarded in 2018 are:

Enterprises awarded with merit:

Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) Germany – Germany
SAEMES – France
Uppsalahem AB – Sweden

Enterprises awarded:

Ambiente Servizi S.p.A. – Italy
APS – Administração dos Portos de Sines e do Algarve, S.A. – Portugal
BS|ENERGY – Germany
CILIOPÉE – France
Empresa Municipal Mixta d’Aigües de Tarragona (EMATSA) – Spain
EMEL – Empresa Municipal de Mobilidade e Estacionamento de Lisboa – Portugal
GEBALIS – Gestão do Arrendamento da Habitação Municipal de Lisboa, E.M., S.A. – Portugal
Groupe SERL – France
Gruppo HERA – Italy
Junta de Freguesia de Olivais – Portugal
SEM Plaine Commune Développement – France
SEMEAST – France
SIC – Real estate company of New Caledonia – France

The European Commission published today [28 November 2018] its “Long Term Strategy for a Clean Planet for All”. This long-term strategy focuses on greenhouse gas emissions’ reduction and is the first step towards the implementation of the UN Paris Climate Agreement. Commenting on the report, Valeria Ronzitti, CEEP General Secretary, said:

“Reducing our greenhouse gas emissions is more than a goal. It is a moral obligation and a commitment for the EU. As such, CEEP welcomes the ambitious approach brought forward by the European Commission in the fight against climate change with this strategic long-term vision ‘A Clean Planet for All’.”

“Gathering members from sectors such as health, transport, communications, environment, waste, water, education, housing, local administration and energy, CEEP represents one-third of European jobs, and our members will have an enormous role in achieving the climate goals and will bring an important added value in the decarbonization process.
CEEP is committed to contributing to an efficient and sustainable path to reach a net-zero emission by 2050, whilst maintaining a high-quality of public services for all citizens.”

“Public services and services of general interest are the best-placed to ensure a socially, territorially and societally inclusive energy transition. We call for long-lasting investments in sustainability, and a holistic approach for infrastructures strategy as a vital step in achieving this goal.”

CEEP has played an active role in the preparation of the Strategy, providing inputs to the discussions with a feedback provided in the context of the “Have Your Say” initiative in August 2018 and a response to the European Commission public consultation in October 2018.

Earlier today [Wednesday 14 November 2018], the European Parliament adopted its official negotiating stance on the European Commission’s proposal for the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 (MFF). Valeria Ronzitti, CEEP General Secretary, commented:

“CEEP welcomes the fact that the European Parliament, through its debates yesterday and today’s vote, took a clear stance for an EU budget able to address the current challenges. We consider the support shown by MEPs for an ambitious Cohesion Policy, a more important European Investment Programme and coherent Single Market regulations, as a clear step taken in the right direction.”

“However, building up on the success of the Juncker Plan, we believe that an even stronger support to an ambitious InvestEU is needed. Promoting a more modern vision of investment, we see this proposed programme as an efficient way to channel money where needed, which should as such be further boosted, especially its social window where the investment gap remains important.”

“The debate on the EU added-value has highlighted the need to ensure that the EU is acting at the most appropriate level, in respect with the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality. CEEP believes that this EU added-value should become one of the key criteria for the successful use of EU funds and will ensure the proper functioning of the EU. “

“The ball now is in the European Council’s court. In line with our joint statement with the EU social partners in March 2018, CEEP now urges heads of state and of government to agree on the Multiannual Financial Framework, at least in principle, before the European elections. Such an agreement is necessary in order to ensure political continuity for EU priorities, for the benefits of citizens.”

On Monday 5 November 2018, CEEP General Secretary Valeria Ronzitti addressed the Macro-Economic Dialogue, in presence of Mario Centeno, ECB President, Valdis Dombrovskis, European Commission Vice-President, and Hartwig Löger, Austrian Minister of Finance.

Addressing the potential of digitalisation to support the economic recovery and the EU competitiveness, Valeria Ronzitti highlighted the following priorities:

Digitalisation to modernise Public Services and SGIs: “Public services’ enterprises in all sectors are on a firm path towards digitalisation, as it can contribute to reaching cost reduction targets, to driving productivity and quality, and to allowing organisations to refocus on delivering critical public services.”

Digitalisation calls for new skills needs: “For Public services’ employers, many public services’ jobs are forecast to be displaced because of automation by 2030. However, it is clear that digitalisation will imply an increased demand for new skills, both digital skills and soft skills such as analytical, social and entrepreneurial skills. This will lead to a great need for the upskilling and reskilling of employees.”

Digitalisation and the need for a level-playing field: “The digital transformation of public services will require large investments in the public sector. These are investments that will come on top of investments in infrastructure and human capital and could have an impact on the growth and stability pact. One way to meet the demands for increased investments is to allow public services’ enterprises to follow the same deduction rules for investments as private companies”.

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