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Exploring the nexus between legality, decent work and recovery.

A trade union perspective.

12 April 2022 @ 15:00 16:00


Tuesday, 12 April, 3pm – 4pm

Hybrid Event – Rome, Via Colombo 456 – Zoom link (to be provided soon)

Interpretation available in EN, FR, DE, IT, ES, ROM

Registration Link


Introductory remarks:

Chair: Liina Carr, ETUC Confederal Secretary


Member of the European Parliament

Giulio Romani, CISL Confederal Secretary

Slavka Eley, Head of Governance and Cooperation Unit, European Labour Authority

Catherine De Bolle, Executive Director of Europol (TBC)

Giustina Orientale Caputo, University Federico II, Naples

Intervention from ETUC Trade Union member organisations

Plamen Dimitrov, CITUB President

Dumitru Costantinu, BNS President

Conclusions: Liina Carr


Outside of legality, the law of the strongest dominates, whereas democratic resilience is an essential condition for social progress. While the EU is performing unprecedent efforts to finance the economic recovery, pursue a strategic autonomy and enhance its social protection systems, wide-spread illegality raises the alarm on its capacity to deliver.

The problem is well-known. Country-based analysis in the framework of the EU Semester have repeatedly warned against the impact of corruption and backwardness of judicial systems on economic growth and sustainability of our social protection systems. The result is that workers, pensioners and the most vulnerable in our societies pay the highest price for the illegality.

The financial turnover of criminal organisations across the EU is estimated to compete with public budgets; this has forced the European Commission to defend its interests when member states are not able to ensure appropriate remedy against abuses in use of the Recovery and Resilience Facility. Even more worrying is the evidence that most violations of fundamental rights concern workers and workplaces.

In spite of the documented multifaceted consequences of illegality, the link between sustainability and legality is not fully explored yet. Some patterns of work come from EU mainstream policy frameworks. The UN2030 Agenda fosters democracy, rule-of-law and legality (Goal 16) as intertwined particularly with decent work (Goal 8). People’s and workers’ rights ensured by the Action Plan for the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights must not be downsized when not denied by criminal behaviours or unlawful appropriation of public resources, diverted from common good and social protection.

As both internal and external threats to security materialise, both reforms and investment priorities in the Recovery effort have to be adapted to restore legality and factually protect workers.

The ETUC urges building a trade union agenda and designing an effective strategy for legality and social progress that grounds on the European Pillar of Social Rights, the UN 2030 Agenda. The new economic governance itself should be more responsive to challenges coming from wide-spread illegality in Europe.

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