Im November 2018, the European Commission presented its Annual Growth Survey 2019. The Survey is a key component of the European Semester’s Autumn Package, based on which the European Union wants to coordinate the respective economic policies of its Member States. However, from the point of view of the Chamber of Labour, the Annual Growth Survey continues to place too little emphasis on a wealth-oriented economic policy, which benefits all people in the EU.
Even if the Annual Growth Survey 2019 comprises some positive approaches, it is nevertheless not possible to recognise a fundamental change of course towards a wealth-oriented European economic policy. Hence, the declining rate of unemployment as well as the rising employment rate within the EU, which is emphasised by the Survey, depicts - from the point of view of the Chamber of Labour - an incomplete picture of the of the economic reality. A-typical forms of employment in the EU, which put millions of people at risk of poverty, are still on a vast scale. Apart from that, at present, the imbalance of income is bigger than before the financial and economic crisis.
In order to achieve a sustainable upward trend, which is self-supporting and reaches all people, it is vital to strengthen the EU’s social dimension: this requires in particular greater wage growth in Europe with a solidary wage policy and Europe-wide coordinated minimum wage policy. This also includes strengthening the collective bargaining systems, which were undermined in many crisis states over the past years. Apart from that, following the proclamation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, it is now necessary to further develop legally binding legal acts to guarantee binding social minimum standards in Europe and to combat the vast number of precarious jobs.
In order to promote investments by the public sector, it is necessary to immediately increase the budgetary scopes. That is why Europe needs a Golden Investment Rule to prevent necessary investments in (social) infrastructure from falling victim to the mandatory spending caps, which were forced onto the countries. It is also urgently required to make the tax policy in Europa fairer. Here, the implementation of a Financial Transaction Tax is of vital importance to ensuring that the financial sector also makes his contribution to combat the financial crisis.
The European Commission’s Annual Growth Survey is a component of the European Semester and forms the basis for the individual country reports as well as the country-specific recommendations. The Commission has scheduled the publication of the country reports for 27th February; the presentation of the country-specific recommendations has been planned for the end of May. Last year, the Commission recommended to Austria i.e. to increase the legal retirement age. This measure was severely criticised by the Chamber of Labour. The idea proposed by the Commission to make the utilisation of certain funds within the scope of the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021 dependent on the implementation of country-specific recommendations must also be clearly rejected.