First of all, for this first newsletter of 2020, let me wish you a happy new year and even a happy new decade. With this new beginning comes a series of new challenges, that CEEP, together with our members, will be addressing in the coming weeks, months and years.
The urgent need to address climate change, as well as the management of the impacts of digitalization on our society as a whole, will require actions at the European level. And CEEP, as the cross-sectoral social partner for employers of public services and services of general interest, intends to be a central player for addressing those topics. Our role will be to make sure that European initiatives are taken in response to the real needs of the players from the ground, such as our members providing essential services around the clock all over Europe.
The first opportunity for us to highlight our contribution is stemming from the Commission Work Programme 2020. On Wednesday, the European Commission has published its Work Programme for 2020, which was discussed the following day by members of the European Parliament and European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič. Two months after the start of the mandate, this Commission Work Programme is giving clear guidelines and timelines into the proposals to be brought forward by the European Commission. Organised around the 6 “headline ambitions” set forward by President von der Leyen, it sets in motion the new EU institutional cycle, a few days after the first publications related to the EU Green Deal.
This Work Programme also confirms the new approach of the European Commission, further breaking down the “silo mentality” which prevailed in the past. With its focus on the “headline ambitions”, the European Commission will develop a more concerted and holistic approach to its policy priorities. We will be monitoring closely that this ambition is put into real practice.
The first key priorities CEEP will address can now already be identified very precisely. Beyond the EU Green Deal (which was presented on 11th December 2019), the proposals presented in the communication “A Strong Social Europe for Just Transitions” paves the way for the upcoming initiatives in the social sphere and will be closely monitored by our Social Affairs Board. Between the action plan to implement the Pillar of Social Rights, the consultations of the social partners on a “fair minimum wage” and the new Skills Agenda, several initiatives will be presented in the coming months.
Of course, the EU Green Deal will keep most of the attention, both on its climate ambitions and on the financing for the transition. CEEP will also keep close attention to the Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change, which should address the need to prepare our infrastructures, including public services and services of general interest, to the consequences of climate change.
Finally, the upcoming Industrial Strategy will also hold a central position, integrating the Digital Services Act, the first outline of the EU strategy on Artificial Intelligence, instruments to set a level-playing field in investments and proposals to better link industrial development and the climate ambitions. On this package, CEEP will closely follow the proposals for the SME Strategy, as well as the expected REFIT evaluation of the SME Definition, which has been a core message of our association and our members since 2016 and is now featured in the Commission Work Programme.
CEEP is ready to cooperate with the European Commission to ensure that this Work Programme and its implementation will be genuinely “Fit for Future”.