Today [23 June 2020], Rainer Plassmann, CEEP President, and Valeria Ronzitti, General Secretary, represented CEEP at the Tripartite Social Summit organised via videoconference by the Croatian Presidency of the EU. In presence of Andrej Plenković, Croatian Prime Minister, Charles Michel, President of the European Council, and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, Mr Plassmann and Mrs Ronzitti addressed the consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak on the activities of employers of public services and of services of general interest.
During the opening roundtable, President Rainer Plassmann said:
“While lockdown measures largely paralysed our single market, public services and services of general interest remained operational. The provision of water, energy, waste management, telecommunications, education, housing, transport and administration services has never been structurally questioned. However, years of underinvestment have led healthcare services in many Member States to struggle to cope with the crisis.”
“CEEP is convinced that the EU institutions should now shepherd us out of the crisis. We fully support the Next Generation EU and the revised MFF as the right tools. The EU answer must rely on both strategic investment to promote upward convergence and foster a resilient social market economy, as well as additional resources channeled towards healthcare, just transition and digital infrastructures, targeting all social and physical infrastructures. The provision of funding must be combined with ambitious targets to make an economically strong, green and digitally best-equipped EU.”
Taking the floor during the opening discussion, General Secretary Valeria Ronzitti said:
“Today is the UN Public Service Day, and it is a wise moment to take in the first lessons from the COVID-19 crisis. First, we must consider EU recommendations on minimum standards in times of crisis in vital sectors, such as SGIs, the healthcare sector or essential services and products. Also, we believe that EU procedures must be put in place in case internal borders have to be closed again, and avoid endangering the achievements of our Internal Market.”