This Wednesday 16 September 2020, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen presented her first State of the European Union (SOTEU) address to the European Parliament plenary. On this occasion, Mrs von der Leyen presented her vision and ambitions for the EU moving forward, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recovery instruments.

Following this speech, Valeria Ronzitti, CEEP General Secretary, commented:

On the pillars of the post-COVID-19 recovery: “With a primary focus on thanking healthcare providers and frontline workers and reinforcing the need for the post-COVID-19 to rely on a strong social market economy, CEEP wholeheartedly supports the main lines presented today by President von der Leyen. However, they should be accompanied by real implementation and that is where our members will come into the picture”

On the implementation of the recovery package: “Whilst fully acknowledging the importance of the green and digital transitions for creating new growth and employment models, CEEP wants to see the details beyond the rhetoric. With our members, we can support EU, national, regional and local institutions to ensure that investments are made in the right infrastructures, either physical or social.”

On the need for an inclusive economic recovery: “As providers of services of general interest, our members need access to financing and support. The focus that the European Commission puts on traditional SMEs only calls for EU institutions to reflect on the current definition of ‘Small and medium-sized enterprise’. All SMEs will be engines of the recovery, whether public or private.”

On the EU economic architecture: “Completing the Capitals Market Union and the Banking Union is more than necessary, and we strongly support the renewed commitment to reach those goals. The progress on those two major tools needs to be completed and go hand in hand with an in-depth review and modernisation of the Stability and Growth Pact.”

 On migration: “We support the underlying rationale behind the upcoming proposals on migration. As an employers and SGI providers’ organisation, CEEP plays a key role in the integration of migrants and refugees into labour market. The renewal of the Partnership for Integration is further proof of that commitment. However, social partners and service providers cannot make it alone. The successful integration requires a genuine EU migration policy, calling on all 27 Member States to also step up their efforts.”

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