Europe's social future: a local and regional debate
Working hand in hand was one of the leading themes of this discussion. CEMR's co-chair of the Social Dialogue Committee, Malin Looberger from our Swedish association (SALAR) explains it this way: In Europe, local and regional governments have over 17 million employees. So we need to work together. For the best situation for our employees and for good quality services for our citizens.
That’s also why we decided to launch a joint project earlier this year: Localising the European Semester. Funded by the Commission, this project aims to strengthen the role of social partners (local governments and trade unions) in the European Semester, which gives policy recommendations to national governments on how to boost jobs and growth.
From the trade unions’ perspective, collaboration is also key. Focus on one word: joint. It is good to remember that through our democratic structures, we are able to work together, said the Deputy General Secretary of the European Public Service Union (EPSU), Penny Clarke. She expressed her intention to address falling rates of collective bargaining, and she also stressed that competition in outsourcing should not be solely based on price, but also on quality and innovation, among other factors.
On the side of the Commission, collaboration, exchange and dialogue were yet again deemed fundamental. It is a two way street: the Commission goes to social partners, but social partners can also come to us, stated the European Commission’s representative, Jeroen Jutte. He also called on local governments to share information: We want partners and local governments’ assessment on how the European Semester has an impact on the ground.
Take away message
Social policy, education and healthcare represent 31% of GDP in the EU. 65% of overall spending. It’s huge. Interestingly, according to Mr Jutte, The European Semester will get much more attention in the next few years. Stay tuned…
For more information on each national situation, feel free to browse through the European Semester country reports.