“High employment rates and signs of improvement for the youth”, this is how the European Commission advertises the current Quarterly Report on Employment and Social Developments in the EU. The Commission far too often paints a too rosy picture of the economic and social development in Europe. However, from the AK’s point of view, additional efforts have to be made at European level to ensure that the increased growth and employment rates also improve people’s working and living conditions. 

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Every five years, EU heads of state and government agree on the political priorities for the next legislative period in connection with the elections to the EU Parliament. The Strategic Agenda for 2024-2029 was adopted by the European Council on 27 June 2024. Key European policy concerns from a workers' perspective are given too little attention.

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The financial sustainability of public pension systems is regularly challenged in the face of ageing societies. However, the EU Commission's Ageing Report 2024 shows once again: Austria can rely on a viable and financially sustainable pension system. The report, which is published every three years in addition to the Pension Adequacy Report, contains long-term calculations of, among other things, the pension expenditure of the EU member states.

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Opposition to the Green Deal was already growing before the EU elections. But now it is essential to develop it further with a strong social dimension. This makes it all the more important for workers' interest groups and civil society to take various initiatives in favour of a social Europe and a good life for all within the planetary boundaries.

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The final decision on the AI Regulation was taken by the Council of the EU on 21 May 2024. This represents an important step for the safe use of artificial intelligence and the protection of fundamental rights. The European Parliament has made a significant contribution – one out of many reasons to vote in the EU elections on 9 June 2024!

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From 6-9 June 2024, EU citizens will elect a new EU Parliament. The last EU legislative period, from 2019 to 2024, saw some important social policy achievements. A brief retrospection.

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The Austrian Chamber of Labour has always in a number of ways advocated a trade policy in the interests of workers. Fair supply chains, high and enforceable social and environmental standards, the exemption of public services and the rejection of questionable trade agreements such as those between the EU and Mercosur or the EU and Chile - all of these are and have been important issues in recent years. Now the candidates for the EU Parliament can be asked to make an election pledge in favour of a fair EU trade policy. We invite you to take part.

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How can investments (co-)funded by the EU be linked to social criteria? What implications do political measures have on income distribution? How can these be measured? These were some of the questions discussed at an event organised by the Belgian Council Presidency. During three sessions, interesting approaches such as the Do No Significant Harm principle were presented.

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Since 2018, AK has contributed to the analysis of prosperity and well-being in Austria with its AK Well-being Report (AK-Wohlstandsbericht). Austria's social and economic progress is analysed on the basis of the modified "magic polygon" of a well-being oriented economic policy from the perspective of an institution representing the interests of employees. There are five overarching goals and six sub-goals for each of them. The five goals are: Fairly distributed material prosperity, Full employment and decent work, Quality of life, Intact environment, Economic stability.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us

Jana Schultheiß

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Nikolai Soukup

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Tamara Premrov

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Astrid Schöggl

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Florian Wukovitsch (Brussels office)

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Judith Vorbach (Brussels office)

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On 16 April 2024 a Declaration on the Future of the European Pillar of Social Rights was signed in La Hulpe, a suburb of Brussels. It was developed with broad support and is meant to serve as a reference document for the upcoming EU legislative period as well as a commitment to a social Europe. Austria, Sweden and Business Europe were the only ones not to sign.