#FiscalMatters - Joint open letter to EU leaders calling for addressing the underlying structural problems of our economic system


Dear EU leaders,

The soaring cost of food and energy is plunging families across Europe into a cost-of-living crisis triggered by Covid-19-induced supply chain disruptions and worsened by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The European Commission has proposed solutions, such as caps on profits from energy production. These short-term solutions are needed but must be complemented with a longer-term approach.

As civil society organisations, think tanks and trade unions, supported by academics from across the European Union, we believe this approach must address the underlying structural problems of our economic system. The economy is not delivering for most people in Europe, for younger generations and for our planet. Long-term solutions include rapid progress on the EU tax agenda, including a genuine reform of environmental taxes, as well as a deep reform of the EU’s fiscal framework - to support redistributive policies and a just green transition.

To ensure equity and justice, the wealthiest should carry the heaviest burden. We are urging you to tax polluting activities. The tax system must be strengthened, with socially balanced and progressive taxes. The richest should contribute the most and an ambitious and strict minimum corporate tax rate should be established across the EU to ensure the economy works for all. Without an ambitious progressive and gender-just taxation agenda, inequalities will continue to deepen, and the economy will continue to disproportionately benefit the wealthiest.

The Stability and Growth Pact - the rules that regulate national budgets - must be amended through a democratic and open process. Reform of such importance must not happen behind closed doors and instead should follow a democratic and transparent process that includes a formal role for the European Parliament (ordinary legislative procedure).

With the European Commission soon to launch its proposals to reform the EU’s economic governance, especially regarding fiscal rules, there is a unique opportunity to start a fresh chapter in European economic policy-making. This new chapter must ensure the EU’s fiscal rules are consistent with agreed EU macro-economic, social, and environmental goals, and establish a new approach to member state fiscal policies.

Therefore, we are calling upon you to ensure the following principles are at the core of the reform:

  • Build a future-proof economy with jobs for all - Allow fiscal flexibility to target a fully employed economy with decent and well-paid clean jobs available to all.
  • Fill the green funding gap and make Europe energy independent from fossil fuels - Targeted and scaled-up green public investment is needed to remain below the 1.5 Celsius goal of the Paris Climate Agreement. A reformed fiscal framework should ensure the alignment of Member States’ public spending with the Paris Climate
  • Agreement, as well as other environmental objectives including reducing resource use and zero pollution.
  • Reinvest in public services and social protection - Social expenditure must guarantee universal access to quality basic public services, as well as a social safety net, so no one falls through the cracks and the care economy is central.
  • Target human, economic and environmental well-being - Make durable well-being the primary objective of EU economic policy by establishing adequate indicators within the EU’s fiscal policy framework and making sure the rules do not translate again into austerity. Economic growth as a primary objective does not work and governments should rather aim to achieve improved human, economic and environmental outcomes.

Given environmental breakdown is a prolonged and structural crisis, rather than a temporary one, preemptive spending and investment today is a must. It will also mean guaranteeing a good quality of life for all, better public services, and a more sustainable ecosystem for future generations.

The new European economic governance framework and ambitious common taxation rules need to be fit for the decades to come. If designed in the right way, they could reduce social inequalities, reinvigorate trust in the EU and democratic institutions, and help build bridges between the people of Europe.

With this review, we have an opportunity to design a fairer system built around a future-proof economy with jobs for all, solidarity and sustainability. we urge you to seize that opportunity without further delays.

Yours sincerely,

180 signatories: trade unions, civil society organisations, think tanks and academics


Trade Unions

Arbeiterkammer, Austria

Confederation of Christian Trade Unions (ACV-CSC), Belgium

European Trade Union Confederation

European Trade Union Federation representing retired, pensioners and elderly people (Ferpa), European organisation

Finnish Confederation of Professionals (STTK), Finland

General Union of Workers (UGT), Spain

IndustriAll Europe, International organisation

Italian General Confederation of Labour (CGIL), Italy

Italian Labour Union (UIL), Italy

La Confédération française démocratique du travail (CFDT), France

The Austrian Trade Union Federation (ÖGB), Austria

The General Confederation of Liberal Trade Unions of Belgium (ACLVB-CGSLB), Belgium

Civil Society

Bond Beter Leefmillieu, Belgium

Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz e.v., Germany

CATAPA, Belgium

CEEweb for Biodiversity, Hungary

Clean Air Action Group, Hungary

Climate Action Network Europe, European organisation

CNCD-11.11.11, Belgum

Czw Climaxi, Belgium

Degrowth Collective Toronto, Canada

Deutscher Naturschutzring, Germany

Electra Energy Cooperative, Greece

Eurodiaconia, European organisation

European Anti-Poverty Network, European organisation

European Environmental Bureau, European organisation

European Youth Forum, European organisation

Federation of Environmental Organisations in Cyprus (FEOC NGOs), Cyprus

Finance Watch, European organisation

FiscalFuture, Germany

France Nature Environment, France

Fridays for Future, Sweden

Friends of the Earth Europe, European organisation

Green Liberty, Latvia

Greenpeace, European organisation

Greentervention, European organisation

Lifelong Learning Platform, European organisation

Mange Ram Adhana, India

Mensa Civica, Spain

Naturefriends Greece, Greece

Naturfreunde Internationale, International organisation

Nyt Europa, Denmark

OBESSU - Organising Bureau of European School Student Union, Denmark

Oikos - Cooperação e Desenvolvimento, International organisation

OXYFIN, Belgium

Polish Zero Waste Association, Poland

Positive Money, United Kingdom

PowerSchift e.V., Germany

Public Association Republican Center "Gutta-Club", Czech Republic

Rural Area Development Programme (RADP), Nepal

SDG Watch Europe, European organisation

Social Platform, European organisation

Solidar, European organisation

SumOfUs, International organisation

TDM 2000 International, Italy

Umanotera, Czech Republic

Umweltdachverband, Austria

Urgenda Foundation, Netherlands

VšĮ "Žiedinė ekonomika", Lithuania

WEED - World Economy, Ecology and Development, Germany

Womens Empowerment Against Poverty of Nepal (WEAPoN), Nepal

WWF Latvia, Latvia

Young European Federalists (JEF Europe), European organisation

Youth Express Network, France

ZERO - Association for Sustainability of the Earth System, Portugal


Think Tanks

Association for Promotion Sustainable Development, India

Eco-union, Spain

European Economists for an Alternative Economic Policy in Europe, European organisation

Feasta, Ireland

Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS), European organisation

Modern Money Network, United States

Nevin Economic Research Institute, Ireland

New Economics Foundation, United Kingdom

Nicos Poulantzas Institute, International organisation

Our New Economy, International organisation

Policy Research in Macroeconomics (PIME), United Kingdom

Sustainable Finance Lab and Erasmus University Rotterdam, International organisation

Transnational Institute, Netherlands

Trinità dei Monti, Italy

Veblen Institute for Economic Reforms, France

Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, Austria



Abderrahim Taamouti, Liverpool University, United Kingdom

Alessio Moneta, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Italy

Alexander Guschanski, University of Greenwich, United Kingdom

Andrew Jackson, University of Surrey, United Kingdom

Angela Pérez , Friedrich Alexander Universität , Germany

Apostolos Vetsikas, University of Thessaly, Greece

Bastiaan van Apeldoorn, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands

Bert de Vries, Utrecht University, Netherlands

Christina Teipen, HWR Berlin, Germany

Constantin Gurdgiev, Monfort College of Business, University of Northern Colorado, USA

Daniele Tori, The Open University Business School, United Kingdom

David Bokhorst, European University Institute, Netherlands

David Cayla, University of Angers, France

Deepa Driver, University of Reading, United Kingdom

Dirk Ehnts, none, Germany

Eladio Febrero, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Spain

Elke Weik, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark

Emanuele Citera, St. Lawrence University, USA

Ettore Gallo, The New School for Social Research, USA/Italy

Felix FitzRoy, University of St. Andrews, United Kingdom

Gary Dymski, University of Leeds, UK

Giorgos Kallis, ICTA-UAB, Spain

Giovanni Dosi, Sant'anna School of Advanced studies, Italy

Gracjan Bachurewicz, Gdansk University of Technology, Poland

Hans Schenk, Utrecht University, Netherlands

Isabelle Ferreras, FNRS/UCLouvain/Royal Academy of Belgium, Belgium

Jan Schulz-Gebhard, Plurale Ökonomik Bamberg, Germany

Jason Hickel, ICTA-UAB, Spain

Jayati Ghosh, University of Massachusetts Amherst, United States

Jens van 't Klooster, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

Jeremy Leaman, Loughborough University, Emeritus Research Fellow, United Kingdom

Jim Jin, University of St Andrews, United Kingdom

Jo Michell, University of the West of England, US

Johannes Schmidt, Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences, Germany

Jonas Van der Slycken, Ghent University, Belgium

Jonathan Perraton, Sheffield University, United Kingdom

Jorge Uxó, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain

Joscha Wullweber, Witten/Herdecke University, Germany

José Antonio Pérez Montiel, University of the Balearic Islands, Spain

Josh Ryan-Collins, UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose, UK

Klaas van Egmond, Utrecht University, Netherlands

Ladislau Dowbor, PUC-SP, Brazil

Laurence Scialom, université Paris Nanterre, France

Lea Steininger, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria

Lisa Herzog, University of Groningen, Netherlands

Louison Cahen-Fourot, Roskilde University, Denmark

Luisa Giuriato, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy

Malcolm Sawyer, University of Leeds, United Kingdom

Marc Lavoie, University Sorbonne Paris Nord, France

Marco Di Pietro, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy

Marcus Miller, University of Warwick, UK

Maria del Pilar Domec Espinoza, São Paulo State University (UNESP), Brazil

Maria Nikolaidi, University of Greenwich, United Kingdom

Marie-Annick BARTHE, Université de Paris Cité, France

Marija Bartl, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

Mark Blyth Brown, University, USA

Mark Sanders, Maastricht University, Netherlands

Martina Metzger, Professor of Monetary Economics, Berlin School of Economics and Law / Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Recht Berlin, Germany

Matthias Kranke, University of Kassel, Germany

Mattia Pettena, University of Genoa, Italy

Michael Edwards, University College London, UK

Michael Landzelius , University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Muhammad Ali Nasir, University of Leeds, United Kingdom

Neil Lancastle, De Montfort University, United Kingdom

Nick Fitzpatrick, NOVA Lisbon, Portugal

Nik de Boer, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

Olga Mikheeva, University College London, United Kingdom

Ozlem Onaran, University of Greenwich, Institute of Political Economy, Governance, Finance and Accountability, United Kingdom

Pasqualina Porretta, Sapienza, Italy

Peter Adamovsky, University of Economics in Bratislava, Slovakia

Philippe De Vreyer, Paris Sciences et Lettres - Université Paris-Dauphine, France

Rebecca Rutt, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Rens van Tilburg, Sustainable Finance Lab Utrecht University, Netherlands

Richard J. White, Sheffield Hallam University, United Kingdom

Richard Murphy, Sheffield University Management School, United Kingdom

Rick van der Ploeg, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Robert Calvert Jump, University of Greenwich UK

Roberto Grandinetti, University of Padova, Italy

Rogier Claessen, Utrecht University, Netherlands

Rosa Garcia-Hernández, UAB (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona), Barcelona

Rosaria Rita Canale, University of Naples "Parthenope", Italy

Sergio Rossi, University of Fribourg, Switzerland

Simon Mohun, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom

Simon Schairer, University of Witten/Herdecke, Germany

Stefania Zanda, Sapienza, Italy

Stephanie Manea, SOAS University of London, United Kingdom

Stephen Keen, UCL, Netherlands

Steve Keen, University College London, United Kingdom

Sue Konzelmann, Birkbeck, University of London, United Kingdom

Susan Himmelweit, Open University, United Kingdom

Sylvain Zeghni, Université Gustave Eiffel, France

Thibault Laurentjoye, Aalborg University Business School, Denmark

Thomas E. Lambert, University of Louisville USA

Thomas Lagoarde-Segot, KEDGE BS and SDSN France, France

Tim Jackson University of Surrey, UK

Ulrich Demmer, LMU Munich University, Institute of Social Anthropology, Germany

Vincenzo Denicolò, University of Bologna, Italy

Vivien A. Schmidt, Boston University and Luiss Guido Carli University, USA and Italy

Yannis Dafermos, SOAS University of London, United Kingdom