European Trade Union Institute, ETUI.

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29 April 2015

The Europe 2020 Strategy has run out of steam

‘The European 2020 Strategy has not delivered any true impetus for change. It has remained a technocratic project that failed to harness the resources necessary to its success’, said Philippe Pochet in an interview on the website of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE – Conseil économique, social et environnemental).

The ETUI General Director was speaking recently at a hearing called by this consultative assembly, composed of social partner representatives (employers, trade unions and associations), that had the task of drawing up an opinion for the French government on the mid-term review of the European 2020 Strategy.

Philippe Pochet stated that in the field of employment, one of the major planks of the 2020 Strategy, the figures are disappointing: ‘we are a long way from the target of a 75% employment rate and, whereas the goal was to raise 20 million people out of poverty, we currently have an additional 10 million in the throes of poverty’.

Apart from social and labour market difficulties, the European Union needs to find ways of dealing with other forms of turbulence: with population change; with the meteoric rise in Chinese production of high value added products; and, as we are all aware, with the environmental challenges.

The trade union movement has an important role to play in all these areas of concern, but when it speaks out it does not necessarily have to say what the Commission would like to hear. ‘The role of the trade union movement is not that of minions required to reproduce the latest Commission discourse. The solutions put forward by trade unionists, who have their own specific expertise in the socio-economic field, must be regarded as feasible options’. Such was the essence of Philippe Pochet’s message.

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