The new European Semester will take place during a time of high uncertainty. Taking into account the new global dynamics, the energy shock or the diverse internal factors, we need a tight-knitted cross-border cooperation among workers. With the EU response to the pandemic crisis we have witnessed a shift in the narrative of austerity, but unfortunately, the possible return of SGP rules, will reduce the contribution to the achievement of EU objectives for sustainability and social resilience instead of building paths for societal well-being and the upward convergence of living and working conditions.
In this way, a stronger advocacy for more public investment and a revision of economic and fiscal governance rules are crucial. We must build a new sustainable growth model for Europe, not only based on GDP – see the Ireland example as the best performer, not according to social indexes like quality of employment lagging behind, but on well-being and sustainability indicators supported by CSRs and strategic national plans. The European Semester has to coordinate such measures and frame them into a wider strategic development model that includes resilient economies and societies, with the Green Deal and the Digital Agenda at its core, so to boost an open strategic autonomy, along with a Social Agenda that implements the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR).
We should combine short-term emergency measures like the SURE mechanism, which helped to prevent a huge drop in the employment rate during the pandemic, with long-term goals, notably to face the digital and green transitions. The consequences of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine have obliged the EU to quickly target energy processes and supply (phasing-out fossil fuels dependency), aiming at the strategic autonomy. On the other hand, the EU is experiencing high levels of inflation, endangering the purchasing power of workers and family across EU Member States. In this context, the role of social policies become crucial, not only as response to different crisis but also as compass to face the current and future challenges in EU. The solidarity approach that favoured the creation of Next Generation EU should be replicated for a permanent fiscal capacity.
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