ETUC on EU Economic Policy 'Winter Package'

Commenting on the European Commission’s ’winter package’ on EU economic policy, ETUC Deputy General Secretary Katja Lehto-Komulainen said

“There is a missing ingredient in EU economic policy – growth that benefits everyone. For recovery to reach all workers we need a pay rise for workers across Europe, and more public investment. The European Commission now needs to make specific recommendations on increasing wages, collective bargaining and public spending.”

“A pay rise and more investment would create more and better jobs throughout Europe. In addition to boosting the Juncker Plan, this also means revising the Stability and Growth Pact, introducing the flexibility to create the quality jobs that Europe needs to complete recovery. Last November the Commission called for a fiscal expansion of 0.5% across the Euro area. But this is in contradiction with the fiscal rules of the SGP."

“Europe needs growth and to boost internal demand. The Commission should give a strong signal to enhance collective bargaining and to strengthen coverage of collective bargaining in Member States as this is the best way to achieve pay rises and kick start growth. I welcome the belated recognition from the Commission of the value of active labour market policies in driving inclusive growth - trade unions in Europe stand ready to be an active partner in delivering these.”  

Commissioner Thyssen did say in the Winter Package press conference that wages should increase, including minimum wages.  It remains to be seen what the European Commission will actually recommend to achieve pay rises and reduce income inequalities.

The ETUC remains sceptical about the rosy picture painted by Commissioner Thyssen on declining poverty.