On 20th March 2020, the Commission proposed to affect the general escape clause within the scope of the Stability and Growth Pact; three days later the Council of Finance Ministers confirmed the proposal. This means that, for the time being, the EU Member States are no longer bound to the strict EU budget criteria when dealing with the looming economic crisis.
For all people in Europe, the current crisis has a tremendous impact on all areas of live. Not least for passengers. Whilst airlines and tour operators are lobbying for watering down current EU law, the Chamber of Labour and consumer protectors are fighting for those who are affected.
Europe is entirely in the firm grip of the Corona crisis and urgent measures for the protection of workers are required. Together with the Austrian Trade Union Federation (ÖGB), the AK is successfully fighting for preserving as many jobs as possible. During the night of March 17th, an agreement was reached with the Chamber of Commerce regarding a short-time work regulation, which secures income and provides protection against dismissal – to the benefit of all.
The European Union has been under a state for emergency for some days now. Meanwhile, the Covid-19 pandemic has reached the entire EU. Even if it is not yet possible to fully evaluate the extent of this crisis, one thing is clear: the European Union is facing an unprecedented challenge.
On Wednesday, March 4th, 2020, the EU Commission presented the eagerly anticipated climate law. This proposal, which had been announced by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen for the first 100 days of her term in office, is regarded as the centrepiece of the European Green Deal. However, it received a mixed reaction.
Following its official withdrawal from the European Union, the future relationship with the United Kingdom is to be negotiated by the end of the year. The Chamber of Labour welcomes the commitment to transparent negotiations and advocates a close future partnership. However, the AK warns against a destructive race to the bottom and demands fair competition on a level playing field, including an effective mechanism to enforce the corresponding provisions.
Led by AK Lower Austria (NÖ) President Markus Wieser and WK Lower Austria President Sonja Zwazl, Lower Austria’s social partners came to Brussels on 19th and 20th February 2020 to jointly highlight central issues and problem areas before high level representatives of the most important EU institutions and to illustrate the need for action at European level.
How do European companies report on the social and environmental impact of their business activities? To answer this question, the Alliance for Corporate Transparency presented a large-scale review in Brussels this week. For the first time, an extensive data set has been available, which analyses the sustainability reports of 1,000 European companies.
On 5th February 2020, the European Commission launched a debate on the EU Stability and Growth Pact. A key issue is how public investments could be promoted. From the AK’s point of view the time has come for a Golden Investment Rule.
On 28th January 2020, AK President Renate Anderl and ÖGB-President Wolfgang Katzian invited to the traditional New Year’s Reception hosted by AK EUROPA and the ÖGB Europabüro. Also this year, many guests accepted the invitation. Both Presidents addressed the public with a strong appeal for a social Europe: a policy, which prioritizes people, must once again move to the centre of attention.