The European Commission today published a disappointing response to the proposals of the Conference on the Future of Europe.
While the Commission displays openness to consider treaty changes and to play fully its role in the process to convene a Convention to change the Treaties, the response fails to focus on the necessary actions to ensure social progress and improvement in living and working conditions for the future of Europe – as requested by the Conference.
The Commission’s response consisted of a long list of initiatives they have already taken, a second long list of initiatives they have already committed to undertake, and a very short list of issues which it will “will consider new areas of action”
ETUC General Secretary Luca Visentini said:
“The correct response from EU institutions to the year-long work of citizens to make proposals on the future of Europe would be a list of new areas of action – not to rehash an old list of what they have already done and what they have already committed to.
“With regard to Treaty changes, the Conference conclusions include a social progress protocol, guaranteeing that social rights take precedence over economic freedoms in the event of a conflict. This proposal must be included in the Conference follow-up by the institutions, together with the introduction of a strong social dimension in the EU institutional and economic governance, particularly through the full implementation of the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights.
“We need significant changes to the EU policy and new initiatives to follow-up to the COFOE Conclusions. I strongly advise President Von der Leyen to come up with a more positive and ambitious response in her State of the Union speech in September, which must put social progress at the forefront of the programme for the future of Europe. Today’s Communication certainly does not suggest a Commission taking the Conference proposals very seriously to introduce a real change of approach in European policy. I am confident that the Commission will realise it has to do better than this.
“People and workers in Europe deserve better, and the ETUC will push to make sure they get something a lot more substantial in the autumn.”