Press

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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”.

Reacting to the final “State of the European Union” speech by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, CEEP General Secretary Valeria Ronzitti commented:

”The President of the European Commission remained loyal to his style, restating and confirming his ambition to have a political role and to achieve tangible results. We agree that the priority should now be to complete the on-going legislative processes, such as the Energy Union and the climate policy, the Banking and the Capital Markets Union or the development of the Digital Single Market.”

“We call upon the European Commission to push for, at the very least, an agreement in principle between the EU institutions on the next Multiannual Financial Framework, ahead of the European elections in 2019. Employers and providers of public services and SGIs needs a clear and predictable financial framework to plan necessary future investments, both in physical infrastructures and human capital.”

“We also stand ready to support the Commission in promoting its communication on free and fair European elections. As providers of key essential services, our members are well-trusted by citizens, and we are ready to go beyond our “ordinary” mandate to strengthen democracy and reinforce the EU added-value.”

Joint Social Partners’ Final Report “Promoting social partnership in employee training”– PDF

Key summary

  • Rapid labour market changes such as the industry 4.0 revolution, digitalisation, social, demographic and environmental transitions and global challenges require joint actions on improving employee training. A skilled workforce is one of the main assets of the European social and economic model and this should be further developed to cope with the challenges posed by the future of work. Education, training and lifelong learning was reaffirmed as a priority by European heads of state and government while proclaiming the European Pillar of Social Rights in November 2017. Support for training to adults provides benefits for workers, employers and the whole of society.
  • There are many different national laws, rules and approaches to the organisation and provision of employee training. Some countries have wide-ranging and strong vocational training policies set in legislation, while in others training provisions are set by collective agreements, at various levels, or agreed directly between employers and employees in the workplace. Opportunities to access training can also be dependent on the size of the company/workplace. Access to effective employee training should be facilitated while respecting the diversity and flexibility of systems, which vary according to diverse industrial relations practices.
  • Financing levels and mechanisms of employee training vary significantly across Europe. This reflects the different levels of economic development in the Member States, but also different choices and responsibilities of the actors. Whatever the financing model, an important success factor is the involvement of social partners and the cooperative attitude between them when it comes to the management of funding, time and human resources. Improvements to national education and training systems could be further fostered through targeted financial support to Member States as part of the European semester process.
  • Employee training can contribute towards creating a good working environment, which ensures employees’ well-being in their work, motivates them, and enables them to progress in their career and earnings. In turn, employers benefit from the enhanced motivation and productivity of their workforce and overall businesses performance. This means that there is a shared interest and a shared responsibility of employers and employees to contribute to upskilling and reskilling, leading to successful enterprises and an appropriately skilled
    workforce.
  • Because they take an active role and have direct knowledge and experience of both labour and training markets, social partners are well placed to foster a diversified offer of training options in the search for the best possible fit with employers’ and workers’ needs on the labour market.
  • Social dialogue and collective agreements, in particular at the sectoral level, play an important role in the governance of training systems and in creating training opportunities and improving the relevance and provision of employee training. This includes social partners working together to foster transition and career paths between sectors. The establishment of training funds has occurred in several Member States and can play an important role.
  • Paid time off for work-relevant training and a right to training are established practices in some Member States. In such cases, social partners play a role in facilitating employees’ effective access to training. This could provide inspiration for other countries, depending on the national context. Employee training should be of high quality, effective and equally relevant for the worker and the employer. It should respond to the need for improving professional, soft and transversal skills and contribute to workplace and industry-related career development. Employee training offers should also respond to new and emerging developments in labour markets and enterprises. These offers should be tailor-made, innovative in terms of new training methods, take into account work organisation and be delivered online, where appropriate, and in a work-based environment. In addition, it should be accessible and benefit from pooling/mutualised resources within and between sectors.
  • Training provisions must be designed in a way that fosters and supports mobility between and within sectors. Securing these transitions benefits workers’ employability and employers’ capacity to attract new recruits.
  • The changes and transitions in the labour market require effective upskilling and reskilling, according to identified needs, and defined by labour market intelligence tools and social partner involvement at all appropriate levels, so as to respond to the existing and future skills demand identified by employers and trade unions across sectors and occupations. A good match between the training offer and enterprises’ need for an increasingly skilled workforce is a key condition for employers to offer training and for workers to access training and remain in quality employment while continued digitalisation, automation, and artificial intelligence changes their everyday work.
  • Employee training should be seen as an overall approach within which there may be a need for a targeted approach to specific groups. In such cases, and as part of the wider approach to active labour market policies, Member States should provide effective and systematic support including financial resources for training that supports the integration of the low-skilled, unemployed and socio-economically disadvantaged groups in the labour market, in particular migrants and refugees, via employee training and adult apprenticeships. The training needs of older workers and of NEETs in particular should also be taken into account. As part of this, Member States should ensure the implementation of the upskilling pathways Council recommendation with the effective involvement of social partners, as applicable.
  • Training schemes, developed with the involvement of the social partners, should aim to decrease the gender gap in certain professions, support women’s career development, and to ensure that they can also reach high-level and managerial positions where they are disproportionally under-represented. It is also important to encourage more women to study STEM subjects.

Following the presentation of the European Commission’s Data Package 2018 [on 25 April], CEEP General Secretary Valeria Ronzitti commented on the proposal for a Review of the Directive on the Reuse of Public Sector Information (PSI):

CEEP supports the European Commission’s overall objective to set a European regulatory framework that fosters the development of the European data economy. We however have reservations on the proposal for a revision of the PSI Directive as it leads to legal uncertainty regarding ongoing innovation and investments by public services’ enterprises.

 The Commission’s proposals to differentiate between, on the one hand, data hold by public undertakings and, on the other hand, government data or content owned by cultural institutes, go in the right direction. Indeed, they are not the same as public undertakings’ dynamic services requiring constant reinvestment and adaptation to a competitive market.

 Nevertheless, the proposed revision widens the scope of the original PSI Directive to public undertakings in new sectors such as water, energy, transport and postal services. This creates an important distortion of competition between public undertakings and private companies which are not included in its scope but operate on the same markets.

 As the companies which mostly benefit from open datasets are large platforms that want to compete with European local, regional and national public services’ enterprises, it is essential to create a level-playing field also in this regard to protect the rights and the existing high-quality of the services provided by public undertakings.

 Public services’ enterprises must deliver their services in a cost-efficient way. As such, they should in no way be forced to give out value for free or at marginal costs to other enterprises. We fear that the EC proposal about future delegated acts could force public undertakings to make high-value datasets available for free. This would hinder ongoing innovation in public services’ enterprises by creating legal uncertainty and making investments in own data sets and existing cooperation with start-ups unstable and risky.”

At the Macro-Economic Dialogue today (6th November, full speech here), CEEP General Secretary Valeria Ronzitti called for a further deepening and reform of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). “The EMU represents a major step in strengthening the European project, and will lead to real convergence, meaning sustainable growth and employment“ explained Ms Ronzitti.

Ms Ronzitti highlighted a three-step approach to reach this goal:

  1. Completing the Banking Union: it remains the flagship of the EMU and would show that governments and EU institutions learnt the lessons of the financial crisis. The European Commission has already done everything possible to unlock the current deadlock around the European Deposit Insurance Scheme. “The ball is now in the camp of Member States and we hope that President Tusk will create momentum at the upcoming December EuroSummit to reach an agreement at intergovernmental level in June”, said Ms Ronzitti.
  2. Creating a macroeconomic Stabilisation function: CEEP strongly favours the development of a European Investment Protection Scheme. In times of crisis, public investments are the first to be cut from national budgets, and this has extremely negative consequences on future growth, employment and productivity. Such a scheme would protect well identified investments and show that EU and national institutions learnt the lessons.
  3. Reinforcing the European Semester: there should be a constant effort to reinforce the European Semester, which is the best tool to allow a real balance between economic and social dimensions in the EMU with a focus on upward convergence. Integrating a governance structure on social issues into the EMU governance would support and guide Eurozone members based on commonly agreed standards, while leaving Member States’ room for decisions on their specific social policies. Structural reforms will still be needed, but can only succeed if they meet two requirements:
    • To systematically involve social partners, as a guarantee for legitimacy, fairness and democratic accountability, and support for social partners’ capacity-building activities;
    • To be geared up towards productivity growth, partly supported by EU funds to boost long term investment; to reach this goal, it is crucial for the EU to be empowered with a strong Multi-Annual Financial Framework, able to support national reforms efficiently, while allowing for a better link with the EU Semester’s priorities.
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