An EU budget for working people?

The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) today called on EU leaders to support a budget for working people and not only increases in defence, security and external border control spending.     

EU Heads of State & Government meet on Friday to discuss political priorities for the EU’s multiannual financial framework (MFF) after 2020.

The ETUC urges EU Presidents, Prime Ministers and Chancellors to look beyond the “narrow set” of European Commission “options” presented in their Communication on a “New and Modern” MFF last week.

The EU needs to discuss all options, not the narrow set of options presented by the European Commission” said Thiébaut Weber, ETUC Confederal Secretary. “We call for a budget for working people, not a budget for a Fortress Europe”.

The only options presented for defence, security and external border control are to increase spending, the only options for cohesion policy are to cut spending.

The options for digitalisation don’t even mention the need to manage change to avoid job losses, and the only option presented for implementing social policy is to increase Erasmus+. There are no options presented for climate action – let alone ensuring that no worker or industrial region is left behind on the road to a low-carbon economy – and no options for implementing the recently proclaimed European Pillar of Social Rights.

The starting point for the EU budget should be the European Pillar of Social Rights – including the right to fair wages and work/life balance – the UN Sustainable Development Goals – including decent work and quality education – and the Paris Climate Agreement.”

Specifically, the ETUC supports an increase in  

  • the EU budget to 1.3 % of the GNI,
  • EU own resources to at least 50% of the EU budget,
  • an investment programme of 2% of GIP per year for the next 10 years,
  • cohesion funds with a minimum share of at least 30% for the European Social Fund to finance implementation of the European pillar of social rights.

The ETUC also calls for a European transition fund to tackle the effects of structural changes of the economy (digitalisation, automation, decarbonisation, globalization) and support workers facing these transitions.