Competitiveness, job creation on focus

The Tripartite Social Summit bets on digital revolution's labour market potential

Photo: EPA EC President Jean-Claude Juncker and Council President Donald Tusk at the Tripartite Social Summit.

The bi-annual Tripartite Social Summit, held last Tuesday, with the participation of EC President Jean-Claude Juncker, Council President Donald Tusk, Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, President of BusinessEurope Pierre Gattaz and General-Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation Luca Visentini focused on promoting competitiveness and making job creation across Europe ever more sustainable, the EU press service reported.

 

 

Under the main topic “Reinforcing competitiveness, sustainable job creation and social fairness in the European Union”, the summit held discussions structured around three sub-themes: The digital revolution and its potential for labour markets and the economy; Implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights: stock-taking and way forward; and The Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 including InvestEU, ESF+ and the deepening of the EMU.

“12 million new jobs have been created since 2014, investment is picking up and the economy is growing. One year after the proclamation of the European Pillar of Social Rights at the Gothenburg Summit, this is the time to conclude the legislative work on important priorities such as work-life balance, predictable and transparent working conditions, access to social protection, the coordination of social security systems and the new European Labour Authority. I trust that the Austrian presidency will play its role as a bridge builder and help us to strengthen the social dimension of Europe - a Europe which protects, empowers and defends,” Juncker said after the summit.

According to Austria's chancellor, digitalisation is the foremost development that “will change our lives decisively in the years and decades to come”. He pointed out that Europe cannot allow itself to fall behind the other highly competitive regions as the world goes ever more digital. In order to succeed, the EU has to prepare for these changes, strengthen Europe's capacity to innovate and seize the opportunities offered by digitalisation. Thus is to shape Europe's future competitiveness as a place to do business, and will also secure jobs and prosperity for the citizens, he added.

Working people are contributing plenty to increased competitiveness, but social fairness is rapidly declining, Luca Visentini stressed. In his words wage increases in the EU over the last 16 years would have been four times higher if they had reflected productivity increases. He also pointed out that jobs need to be economically, socially and environmentally sustainable and offer a decent life. But for this to happen, a socially sustainable EU economic governance with increased public and private investment is needed.

The employers representative, Pierre Gattaz, emphasized on the fact that the EU economic recovery continues but at a lower rate than a year ago. He said that downside risks, linked to political uncertainty and rising protectionism, remain, and it is more important than ever to ensure that the EU and all its Member States, together with social partners, pursue reforms that improve competitiveness, growth and employment across Europe.

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