During the meeting of the Sustainability Board on 8 May 2019, CEEP members have adopted a statement “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.
On 8 May, ahead of the Sibiu Summit, CEEP presented its contribution to the EU Strategic Agenda 2019-2024, to be adopted during the June Council meeting. Our input, prepared on the basis of the CEEP Key Priorities 2019-2024, relies on 4 pillars:
- A Europe of values and freedoms,
- A fair digital transformation,
- A sustainable and inclusive climate strategy,
- A Europe which leads by example.
You can find our contribution here.
On 8 May 2019, the EU Social Partners (CEEP, ETUC, BusinessEurope and SMEunited) have presented a joint statement on the Rule of Law. You can find it below and here (in PDF).
On 3 April 2019, the European Commission launched its Communication on “Further strengthening the Rule of Law within the Union. State of Play and possible next steps” (COM (2019) 163 final). It thereby invited the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council and the public at large to reflect on how strengthening the enforcement of the rule of law can make an essential contribution to the future of the European Union.
The European Social Partners fully agree that our democracies must be safeguarded and call on EU leaders to include the upholding of the rule of law in the Strategic Agenda 2019-2024. They also stress their full commitment to supporting the rule of law as one of the foundations on which the European project and the democratic values it stands for are built.
The Rule of Law is essential for the proper functioning of the European Union, its institutions, its Single Market, labour market and society. It is an important guarantee for European citizens, employers and workers. The attractiveness of Europe as one of the best places to live, work and do business is highly dependent on a coherent and reliable application and enforcement of our common set of rules and values.
Member States joined the Union sharing the same commitment to the principles of liberty, democracy and respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and for the rule of law. These values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail. A sustainable Europe must improve the means of all public powers for reporting, monitoring and being accountable. This is necessary to win people’s support.
The rule of law also requires effective, independent and impartial institutions (e.g. courts, inspection services and bodies) and mechanisms of redress so that these rights are justiciable and their legal protection can be ensured. The longstanding role of social partners in setting, applying and enforcing these rights, particularly through social dialogue and collective bargaining, should be fully recognised.
The European Social Partners therefore fully agree that the rule of law must be respected, better explained, promoted and applied across Europe. We remain fully committed to defending our common European rules and values and to speaking up for their protection across the continent through an enhanced dialogue with social partners and civil society at large.
We are willing to participate in appropriate social partners’ consultations regarding the Communication and to support the European institutions in their efforts to strengthen the rule of law across Europe.
On the 10 and 11 of April 2019, in Bucharest, CEEP and the EU cross-industry social partners exchanged views with EU Ministers of Employment and Social Affairs during the informal EPSCO meeting. The ministers’ meeting was focused on the instruments and solutions found by Member States to ensure gender equality in the European Union.
Highlighting the challenges and priorities for providers of public services and services of general interest, CEEP General Secretary Valeria Ronzitti said:
“There is a strong economic case for supporting women’s careers in the labour market. Today, the skills and competences that women acquire through education are not sufficiently used and risk becoming a waste of resources for the EU as a whole.”
“CEEP is particularly concerned by sectoral segregation of the labour market. We know this situation particularly vividly in several public services sectors, in healthcare and education where women are overrepresented and transport where we face the opposite trend. Actions should be taken to address stereotype gender norms in education and career choices.”
“We need to provide concrete instruments for allowing work-life balance. Member States need to invest into social infrastructures and formal care services. The examples from Ireland or Portugal go into the right direction. In parallel, Social Partners must use the full potential of collective bargaining to design innovative flexible working arrangements. Indeed, leave arrangements are not the panacea for better labour market participation of women.”
“Finally, the use of non-legislative measures such as Gender Budgeting can be increased. Fiscal policies and administrative procedures can be structured to address gender inequalities. This will promote accountability and transparency in fiscal planning, increase gender responsive participation in budget process and advance gender equality.”
At the high-level conference ‘The Future of Work: Today. Tomorrow. For All.’ today [9 April 2019], Milena Angelova, CEEP Vice-President, and Valeria Ronzitti, CEEP General Secretary, highlighted the key challenges faced and solutions found by employers and providers of public services and services of general interest. A special focus was put by CEEP speakers on the need to anticipate change to bring answers, for workers and citizens.
Milena Angelova, CEEP Vice-President, said:
“Labour shortage and skills mismatches are the most serious problem that the EU employers and public services providers face nowadays, causing a loss of 2% of EU GDP and impeding the creation of sustainable jobs. This, combined with demographic ageing and brain drain, produces worrying divergences between Member States.”
“We need a reform of education systems, driven by a genuine paradigm shift in the goals and functioning of the education sector. (…) Reliable anticipation of the supply and demand of skills and of the future structure of the EU labour market are key, together with making vocational education and training 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.”
In the concluding plenary panel, Valeria Ronzitti, CEEP General Secretary, said:
“The question of coping with demographic ageing, digitalisation and decarbonisation and their consequences in enterprises all over Europe will be our top priorities. Today confirmed that they concern everyone equally. For CEEP members, something that resonates particularly vividly is the necessity to create a labour market that is able to anticipate change.”
“A key message of CEEP today is that Europe needs to build multi-stakeholder approaches linking together enterprises, education and training providers, social services, local and regional government and social partner organisations. With mutual trust, respect and joint actions we will successfully cope with the transformations, leaving no one behind.”
Today [5 April 2019], in Bucharest, CEEP and the EU cross-industry social partners exchanged views with EU Ministers of Economic and Financial Affairs during the informal ECOFIN meeting.
Highlighting the challenges and priorities for providers of public services and services of general interest, CEEP General Secretary Valeria Ronzitti said:
“CEEP would like to thank Minister Teodorovici and the Romanian presidency for having answered to a long-standing call by the Social Partners to be invited to informal ECOFIN meetings. As social partners, we are at the center of shaping economic and social policies and facilitating reforms; that is why we believe we can bring real added value, and call on the future Presidencies to follow this example.”
“CEEP welcomes the agreement reached at technical level on the future Capital Markets Union, which bears great potential in granting better access to public markets for SMEs. We believe that more should be done to help Member States achieve more competitiveness and convergence through the coverage of the costs of some relevant structural reforms and investments.”
“We are strongly concerned by the existing divergences between Member States, which are particularly noticeable following the enlargements of 2004, 2007 and 2013. CEEP remains a strong supporter of well-designed stimulus programmes and quality-targeted investments.
We believe they are a key ingredient in ensuring social and territorial cohesion in Europe. More should now be done to ensure that structural funds become more flexible and effective to counter the worrying trend of widening regional disparities.”
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.
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
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.”