“Social solidarity is key to tackling the jobs crisis”

EESC president Mario Sepi addresses the new European Commission

As president of the European Economic and Social Committee, I would like to express our intention to contribute to the programme of the new European Commission, which was confirmed today in Strasbourg. The new Treaty of Lisbon adds fresh responsibilities to the EESC’s role as bridge with civil society.

It is vital for the new European executive to put all its efforts into immediate action to tackle the social and economic emergencies currently facing Europe. It is especially urgent to launch a single strategy coordinating all key EU policy strategies in the areas of growth and employment, economic recovery, sustainable development, energy and climate change.

In the current situation, it is vital to develop synergies and the ability to draw benefit from innovation and investment that makes the most of social capital. To achieve this, the new Commission should explore the possibility of setting up a social solidarity fund, drawing on the reserves of the European Social Fund. These funds would be allocated according to simplified criteria founded on inter-state solidarity, which Member States should undertake to respect.

The new common strategy should spur the Member States to effective action through more inspiring objectives, particularly by developing a new coordinated fiscal policy. This is what a responsible Europe is all about.

To this end, the EESC has decided to draw up a roadmap for the new Commission’s five-year term of office. It will be based on concrete action and precise stages and will concern all European stakeholders, including citizens.

The Committee will adopt this roadmap in March. At a major event preceding the Spring European Summit, the EESC intends to present the other EU institutions with clear recommendations in three crucial areas: support for employment, financial responsibility and the development of a new common EU strategy.

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