Policy papers

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CEEP Opinion on the Next Generation EU recovery instrument – PDF

Executive Summary:

  • Next Generation EU aims to mobilise €500bln in grants and €250bln in loans to Member States without involving the mutualisation of pre-existing debts. CEEP very much supports this proposal including its innovative character and its close interlink with the MFF 2021-2027.
  • The crisis has drastically exposed the result of years of underinvestment in social and physical infrastructures in some Member States. CEEP consequently calls for a precise and consistent emphasis on public services and services of general interest, as the current proposals fail to sufficiently emphasize the role of SGIs, which are the pillar underpinning the economic and social infrastructure of the EU.
  • The lack of an appropriate framework supporting those essential services will seriously jeopardise our economy’s overall capacity to recover as well as to overcome our long-term challenges: Next Generation EU gives EU and national institutions the chance to demonstrate that investment in physical and social infrastructures cannot be considered as a cost, but rather as the indispensable precondition to ensure long term competitiveness, employment and growth.
  • EU social partners represent a unique bridge capable of connecting stakeholders and allowing the consolidation of efficient and coordinated actions that bring together the EU, national, sectorial and company levels. Joint actions to foster social partners at national level must be a priority for a socially inclusive recovery: their active participation, also at regional and local levels, will be especially crucial when it comes to the design of national recovery plans.
  • EU leaders must remain aware of the evolving nature of the recovery instrument and be ready for eventual adaptations to the original proposal, embodied in the Next Generation EU. This can be achieved by Member States continuously showing flexibility and commitment to the core principles of unity and solidarity.
  • Special attention must be given to enhancing top-down and bottom-up articulations between levels of governance and across key stakeholders. The scale and scope of the recovery should not jeopardise the active participation of local and regional authorities, which are crucial for an efficient policy design and implementation.
  • It is crucial to mobilise the necessary funds to foster strategic investment and industrial ecosystems to better respond to future shocks. Other challenges, such as revising the current European framework of taxation and generating additional EU own resources, will follow with Member States still very far from an agreement. Against this challenging background, the idea of relying on uncertain income sources as proposed by the European Commission does not seems to be a pragmatic solution in the short term.

CEEP Position Papers
I. Contribution to sharpening Emergency Measures
II. The Design of an Efficient and Unified Economic Response
III. The Path to Recovery: a Strong MFF and an Unprecedented Investment Plan
IV. CEEP Opinion on the Next Generation EU recovery instrument

CEEP Messages and Press Releases
21 July 2020 – Press Release – MFF & Next Generation EU: Good for the Short-Term, Work to be done on the long-term
17 July 2020 – Press Release –  CEEP at the Informal EPSCO organised by the German Presidency of the Council of the EU
23 June 2020: Press Release – CEEP President Plassmann and General Secretary Ronzitti addressed the Tripartite Social Summit
27 May 2020: Press Release – CEEP comments on the EU recovery plan proposed by the European Commission
11 May 2020: Public Services and Services of General Interest on the Frontline Against COVID-19 – CEEP contribution to the magazine “Our World – Struck by the Pandemic”
5 May 2020: Press Release – CEEP Addresses the Impacts of COVID-19 on Demographic Change and Labour Markets at the Informal EPSCO
15 April 2020: Press Release – “Coordination between Member States is central when lifting containment measures”, says CEEP
27 March 2020: Press Release – Launch of the EU Platform “Services of General Interest facing COVID-19”
26 March 2020: CEEP Letter to the European Council on the COVID-19 emergency
26 March 2020: Press Release – EU welfare systems and the social market economy must be preserved, Whatever It Takes
13 March 2020: Press Release – CEEP Reacts to the European Commission’s Response to Counter the Economic impact of COVID-19

Joint Statement of the EU Social Partners (CEEP, ETUC, BusinessEurope, SMEUnited)
23 April 2020: Joint letter of the EU Social Partners (ETUC, BusinessEurope, CEEP, SMEUnited) to President von der Leyen, ahead of the European Council
23 April 2020: Joint input of the EU Social Partners (ETUC, BusinessEurope, CEEP, SMEUnited) to the European Council
24 March 2020: Statement of the European Social Partners (ETUC, BusinessEurope, CEEP, SMEUnited) to the European Council on the COVID-19 emergency
16 March 2020: Statement of the European Social Partners (ETUC, BusinessEurope, CEEP, SMEUnited) to the ECOFIN on the COVID-19 emergency

CEEP Opinion on the EU Green Deal – Working Together on a Fair and Sustainable Path – PDF

Executive Summary

  • CEEP welcomed the announcement of a European Green Deal and fully supports its goal of making Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. CEEP members are committed to developing a balanced and sustainable strategy relying on the economic, social and environmental development. Indeed, it will be essential to take these three dimensions into account for the Green Deal to reach its objectives for 2050.
  • CEEP welcomes the efforts of the European Commission to propose the first-ever EU Climate Law, to ensure all EU policies contribute to the European Green Deal objectives for a net-zero emission target.However, we do not share the Commission’s statement that an impact assessment is not required because a full analysis on the implications of the 2050 climate-neutrality objective has already been provided in support of the “Clean Planet for All” communication. We therefore call upon the European Commission to deliver a proper Impact Assessment.
  • CEEP positively receives the Commission’s recognition to promote more and direct investments for sustainable technology, research and innovations and welcomes the new Sustainable Europe Investment Plan (SEIP) including its social transition finance plans published in the Just Transition Mechanism and Just Transition Fund. Here, public services and SGIs can pave the way towards cultural cohesion, and economic and environmental sustainability thanks to their proximity in society.
  • CEEP welcomes the Commission’s new European Climate Pact and underlines the importance of social inclusion, since there cannot be a transition without acceptance of society. At the same time, the Green Deal must be inclusive and avoid social divides, therefore CEEP supports the continued effort on re-skilling and up-skilling our society to make this climate transition a success.
  • CEEP congratulates the European Commission for recognising digitalisation as an important driver in this climate transition and considers the digital sector as part of the solution to achieve the sustainability goals in the Green Deal. In parallel we emphasise the need to also include not only new technological advantages but also behavioural or regulatory innovations in order to improve energy efficiency, water usage, transport and waste management.
  • CEEP welcomes the extension of the Emission Trading System (ETS) also to the transport and building sectors. However, CEEP calls for an alignment of the ETS Directive as well as a development of an adequate carbon pricing.
  • CEEP recognises that despite the efforts made, the first environmental damages are being witnessed and there is a need for an adaptation strategy that goes beyond the reduction of CO2 emissions. We have therefore welcomed with great enthusiasm the intensions to introduce a new Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and a Zero-Pollution Action Plan.

During the meeting of the General Assembly on 27 June 2019, CEEP members have adopted an opinion “A Sustainable Climate Strategy for Europe: Acting Now! – Statement on Climate “For Sibiu and Beyond”“.

Our key messages are the following:

  • Global warming is a major risk and climate policies must be developed as part of a sustainable approach.
  • A prerequisite for success is the social acceptability of these policies, which requires greater equity and democracy, particularly at the local level.
  • CEEP members manage essential infrastructure and provide SGIs that contribute to well-being and competitiveness; their proximity to economic actors makes them key players in climate policies.
  • The EU Strategic Agenda 2019-2024 needs to recognise that role and put “enablers” of sustainable climate policies at its centre.

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, [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:

CEEP Opinion – Brexit, Trade and SGIs “Reflection on brexit and trade: possible options” – PDF

Executive summary

  • CEEP intends to contribute to the Brexit debate by identifying reflection tracks towards ensuring level-playing field in a post-Brexit EU-UK relationship, in which providers of public services and of SGIs can operate for the benefits of citizens and companies.
  • Brexit will have fundamental political, economic and legal consequences for both sides. These consequences will be shaped by the features of the agreement that is currently being negotiated. The two parties will have to reach an agreement in the following three main areas: First, the United Kingdom and the EU will need to agree on the regime for the trade of goods and services. Second, new rules are needed for migration. Third, the United Kingdom needs to be disentangled legally from the European Union (European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018).
  • In this statement, CEEP argues that solutions like the free trade agreement with Canada (CETA) do not justice to the close European ties between the UK and the EU. A comprehensive, but flexible free trade agreement with much EU acquis and deep and comprehensive content, such as the DCFTA currently in force between the EU and Ukraine, seems most likely able to meet interconnection requirements between both countries and to foster cooperation and common policy-making in the future. Therefore, it is highly desirable for the economic prosperity of the EU and the UK.
  • The future trade negotiations for free trade agreements like the DCFTA should respect environmental, social and security standards. Especially, the possibility to amend the agreement in view of political or economic developments is crucial given the geographic, historical, political and economic relations between the European Union member states and the United Kingdom. A DCFTA oriented agreement can assure a high degree of access to the EU single market, at least for trade in goods, but not necessarily for movement of people and services.

CEEP Position Paper on a Future European Labour Authority – PDF

Executive Summary

  • The creation of the European Labour Authority should strengthen cooperation between labour market authorities at all levels and lead to the better management of cross-border situations, as well as to further initiatives in support of fair mobility, and proper coordination of European Social Security schemes.
  • CEEP wishes for three principles to be respected by the future ELA:
    • The Principle of subsidiarity and member states’ own authorities must be respected.
    • ELA must leave space for the different labour market models and priorities Member States may have. It is crucial that a European labour authority does not touch on the autonomy of the social partners and the key role that they play.
    • The ELA should not have any supra-national competences. It should concern itself with improving the enforcement of existing rules, facilitating intra-EU mobility and promote mutual learning between National authorities.

CEEP Opinion on the Proposal on Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions in the European Union Repealing Directive 91/553/EEC – PDF

Executive Summary

  • CEEP opposes changing the purpose of the Written Statement Directive from an information instrument to a rights-based framework Directive. The proposed minimum requirements relating to working conditions are new rights seen in a European perspective, as they have always been core elements of national laws and collective agreements and contracts.
  • The Proposal conflicts with the principle of subsidiarity, i.e. the principle that EU decisions should be taken as close to citizens as possible. There are great differences between EU Member States regarding both what constitutes balanced working conditions and how the labour market is regulated. The EU Proposal would constitute excessive interference with the labour market model of several Member States, especially those regulating working conditions by collective agreements.
  • In Europe, we have a vast variety of social- and labour market models and different traditions. Many of CEEP’s members have a strong and long-standing tradition for wage and working conditions to be regulated by social partners through collective agreements. It ensures flexibility and adaptability in relation to labour market developments, the differences in the different sectors and a balance of both parties’ interests.
  • CEEP emphasizes the necessity to respect the social partners’ autonomy and their right to negotiate and conclude collective agreements at the appropriate level as stated in Principle 8 of the European Social Pillars Rights.
  • CEEP finds it unfortunate that the European Commission introduces within its proposal the definitions for employees and employers in order to define the employment relationship within the scope of article 2. This approach takes a different path from the long tradition of the application of EU Social Law, which is by definition in the hands of the Member States.
  • CEEP agrees with the principle that workers should have the right to be informed about their rights and obligations resulting from the employment relationship in a timely and comprehensible manner. At the same time, the obligations imposed on the employer should be realistic and feasible. CEEP suggests several adaptations to allow of a sound application of the Directive without creating a disproportionate administrative burden for both the employer and the worker.
  • CEEP acknowledges the need for protection of workers that are not covered by a collective agreement and the need for minimum rights for those. Nonetheless it is very important that this Directive ensures the right for national social partners to enter into collective agreements that are not governed by the minimum provisions. An agreement made by national social partners must be regarded as a guarantee of secure and fair working conditions and the European Court of Justice should honor the content of such collective agreements. Conditions in collective agreements cannot be seen in isolation, but must be seen as a whole, giving regard to all conditions in collective agreements that apply to a worker.
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