Hans-Joachim Reck, CEEP President, expressed the view of public services employers at the autumn 2015 Tripartite Social Summit. He insisted in his speech on two key points: the refugee crisis and the public services contribution to competitiveness.
On the refugee crisis:
“I want to thank Presidents Juncker and Tusk for keeping Europe together in these difficult times. We have to be conscious that the differences that persist between us put in jeopardy our burden sharing capacities when confronted to the refugees. Solidarity is the only path we can take and solidarity should remain our guiding approach. We all have to take our responsibilities.”
On public services contribution to Europe’s competitiveness
“As public services employers, we also have to be self-critical. For instance, about public administration, there is a quality problem in many countries, as they are not enough customer-oriented, citizen-oriented.
Overall, public services are essential for economic growth. I therefore propose to establish a benchmark platform at European level for quality management in public services. This is critical as Europe’s recovery requires a more efficient, modernised and speedy administration able to deliver for European enterprises’ competitiveness.”
On top of Mr Reck’s speech at the Tripartite Social Summit, CEEP addressed a letter to Heads of State and Government in view of the Council meeting and published its biannual ‘Pulse of Public Services’, presenting the main challenges faced by public services’ providers in Europe.
CEEP organises this Thursday a conference on the contribution of public services’ providers to the success of the COP21 and to a more sustainable economy. Organised in cooperation with its member CAP Group, the conference is held at the international EXPO2015 in Milan, highlighting the need to bring global answer to climate change. MEP Jean Lambert (Rapporteur on the “Green Employment Initiative”), Prof. Samuele Furfari (European Commission, Adviser to the Director General of DG Energy) and M. Peter Czaga (European Commission, DG Environment) will discuss the key role of public services in mitigating and adapting to climate change.
“Public services providers support ambitious climate action, being committed to it through their business culture and sectors of activity. Their approach is based on the logics of sustainability,
taking into account its environmental aspects, as well as its economic and social dimensions.
Above all, we want to prove, by sharing experiences, that a business case for sustainability exists.”
— Valeria Ronzitti, CEEP General Secretary —
The conference is the occasion for providers of public services to renew their call for the conclusion of an ambitious and robust climate agreement including binding commitments, dealing with both mitigation and adaption.
Mitigation policies should be structured around resource efficiency and decarbonisation. Public services sectors such as transport, telecommunications, energy, waste management and water treatment, as well as R&D have an important mitigation potential. Setting up a European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) must therefore provide a true and fair carbon price, creating a level-playing field to incentivise investments fostering decarbonisation of the EU economy.
Adaption policies should be seen as complementary to mitigation policies, tackling the consequences of climate change. Adaption measures should include the protection of infrastructure in order to increase their resilience. The implications of climate change on sectors such as water, energy and transport need to be urgently considered.
Finally, climate change policies cannot ignore the investment challenge: “There is a strong economic case for investing in climate action. Such investments will create the sustainable growth and jobs Europe needs. In order to unleash the full potential of investments in climate-friendly solutions, private investment needs to be underpinned by public investment,” explained Valeria Ronzitti.
CEEP welcomes the publication of the Action Plan on building a Capital Markets Union, aiming at boosting funding to enterprises and remove barriers to investment within the EU. The plan brings in a much-awaited long-term perspective, which main purpose is to identify the barriers to cross-border flow of investment and work out how to overcome them.
Commenting the Action Plan, Valeria Ronzitti, CEEP General Secretary, said:
“We believe that the transversal approach adopted by the Commission is the most appropriate. Surely, it will not be easy to tackle all the barriers and hurdles complicating the link between European savings and long-term sustainable investment in infrastructures.
However, after the Juncker Plan, this Action Plan on building a Capital Market Union is another step to better channel financial capabilities to projects waiting to be funded.
For CEEP members, this is especially good news, as providers of public services know perfectly how investments in infrastructures are key for an effective and efficient provisions of public services to citizens.”
CEEP organized on 15 September its opening seminar for the project “Training and Promotion of Social Dialogue measures for Public Services”, in cooperation with ETUC and UZS and co-funded by the European Commission. In Prague, speakers from CEEP addressed representatives of Czech enterprises from health and care sectors, social services as well as funding institutions and sustainable industries.
“We are committed to promote Social Dialogue. As one of the three general cross-industry EU social partners, it is CEEP’s responsibility to increase capacity-building and reach better implementation outcomes for Social Dialogue measures”, explained Valeria Ronzitti, CEEP General Secretary. “Such responsibility is clearly stated in the Social Partners’ Work programme for 2015-2017 that the organization committed to implement, as a joint commitment from EU Social Partners.”
This project aimed at reinforcing social dialogue for public services in Czech Republic. A second meeting will be held in December, with representatives from Central and Eastern EU Member States and candidate countries, to further develop tools and knowledge for social dialogue’s negotiations.
Following President Juncker’s speech on the refugee crisis during the State of the European Union, CEEP President Hans-Joachim Reck and CEEP General-Secretary Valeria Ronzitti commented:
“The approach proposed by Mr Juncker to tackle the current refugee crisis, based primarily on the implementation of an emergency mechanism to relocate 160.000 refugees and a European Agenda on Migration, is the right one, as all the Member States need to take their share of responsibility to bring a joint European answer.
Gathered in CEEP, representatives of employers and providers of public services are also aware of their own responsibility, as public services infrastructures can play a substantial role to support the integration of the refugees in the EU. Efficient and effective public administration, housing, healthcare and education infrastructures, among others, are indeed essential assets to ensure a genuine integration within the EU Social Model.
Whatever their sector of activities, public services are indeed key to support the consolidation of the European Social Model, which EU decision-makers should keep in sight at all times.”
The European social partner organisations BUSINESSEUROPE, CEEP, UEAPME and ETUC are calling for tender submissions to conduct expertise work on “promoting social dialogue and better implementation of EU social partners’ autonomous framework agreements in selected countries”. This work aims to identify the reasons for insufficient implementation of EU autonomous agreements in some countries and possible solutions to improve the situation. Suitably qualified candidates will be expected to comply with the tender specifications. The deadline for submitting tenders is 7 October 2015 (17:00).
At the informal meeting of Ministers of Employment, Social Affairs and Gender Equality in Luxembourg, CEEP General Secretary Valeria Ronzitti addressed the issue of youth unemployment. “There is no need for new instruments to tackle youth unemployment. The instruments now in place need to be used to their full potential”. The PES Network (Public employment services), as well as targeted investments within the Investment Plan and the 2013 Social Investment Package have the potential to bring jobs back for youth, especially the NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training). Promoting green jobs and social entrepreneurship could also be key to unlock EU’s job creation potential.
“In our Social Partners’ Work Programme 2015-17, we identified the challenges and the way forward, with active-ageing and an inter-generational approach, the development of digital skills, active labour markets policies and a fair mobility”, concluded Ms Ronzitti.
Ms Ronzitti also addressed the issue of the gender inequality. “In some public services, we have the problem of not having enough men in the workplace. Fighting gender stereotypes also means encouraging boys to find their ways in healthcare, social services or education”, explained Ms Ronzitti. “But above all, we need to create the conditions for investing in social and other public services infrastructures. Affordable access to various care services, such as childcare or healthcare, is a pre-condition for gender equality to happen.”
Following the presentation of the Energy Union Summer Package by Maroš Šefčovič (Commission Vice-President for the Energy Union) and Miguel Arias Cañete (Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy), CEEP General Secretary Valeria Ronzitti said:
”We welcome this Summer Package; the proposals brought forward are the first concrete steps towards the implementation of this much-needed Energy Union, a key for both European energy and climate policy and for economic growth and job creation.
The proposal for a review of the ETS is of particular importance for public services’ providers, as an important part of the EU climate policy. Carbon leakage measures are needed, but it must be ensured that carbon pricing better supports the overall goal of de-carbonisation and the objectives set up on climate in view of COP21.
The consultation on electricity market design is also a very important step for the internal energy market and a key dimension for the implementation of the Energy Union. However, guaranteeing that a value is attached to the contribution of firm capacity remains critical to ensure security of supply, both for citizens and for businesses.
Finally, the Commission’s ambition of improving public acceptance of the Energy Union is important for the realization of the highly needed infrastructure projects.”
More on CEEP position on the Energy Union: CEEP opinion on “A framework strategy for a resilient Energy Union with a forward-looking climate change policy” (published on 20 May 2015)
The EU social partners’ fifth autonomous work programme, a “Partnership for Inclusive Growth and Employment”, sets the course for EU social partners’ joint actions for 2015-2017. EU social partners also agreed on a joint in-depth employment analysis of the functioning of European labour markets.
Eight years after their first joint labour market analysis, EU social partners provide key recommendations to address challenges stemming from the crisis and structural issues. Those recommendations include the potential of social dialogue to deliver growth and employment, the need to address Europe’s weakness in terms of job creation, the need to foster productivity and the importance of fighting inequalities and poverty.
Presenting together a common analysis and an autonomous work programme reflects the responsibility of EU social partners to overcome the challenges brought forward by the crisis, by creating more and better jobs, increasing EU competitiveness and restoring investments and growth.
EU social partners therefore agreed to:
- negotiate an autonomous framework agreement on active ageing and an inter-generational approach;
- step up efforts to improve the implementation of their autonomous framework agreements, with a specific focus on the 8-10 Member States where the implementation has been identified as insufficient;
- highlight the importance of more public and private investments, in order to reach an optimal growth, to boost job creation and to revive EU industrial base;
- prepare joint conclusions promoting better reconciliation of work, private and family life and gender equality to reduce the gender pay gap;
- improve skills development to meet needs of digital economies, as well as effective active labour market policies to address skills mismatches, facilitate transitions from unemployment to employment and to more and better jobs;
- contribute to the efforts of the EU institutions to develop a mobility package, to address loopholes and enforcement issues on worker mobility and to promote mobility of apprenticeships.