Fortnightly editorial of the Secretary General

This week, Jean-Claude Juncker, outgoing President of the European Commission, held his last State of the Union address at the European Parliament plenary in Strasbourg this week. Once a year, the State of the Union speeches display the Commission President’s views on where the EU is heading and where it needs improvement. Not an easy task in times where the EU is being bashed around at all fronts for multiple organ failure (sometimes rightly, sometimes unjustifiably).

His speech focused very much on topics which promise to be popular with the citizens – first of all, as we know from the news, the abolition of winter-summer-time-switching. It’s a safe topic. Other safe choices: new measures to prevent terrorism, more development cooperation with Africa to mitigate migration push-factors, fresh efforts to make Europe more of a political global player. However, new projects for increased economic and social equality were missing.

While Juncker spoke, CESI’s reflection group met to spell out proposals to sharpen CESI’s identity, improve the representation of CESI’s members and push forward the EU’s social agenda.

Yes. ‘All workers count’. CESI does more than represent its many member organisations and their 5 million affiliates. CESI defends the interests of the society as whole. And a pledge for more social fairness will become key ahead of the upcoming European elections in May 2019. A new visual identity for CESI with sharp slogans will help do that: ‘Yes, we care. We deliver – For a more social EU’.

While CESI Youth analyses best practices of how to recruit new young members, CESI, together with national and international partners, focuses on the interests of workers in the future world of work. To ensure their representation and their access to labour law and social protection. All workers count.

The principles of the much-noted European Pillar of Social Rights must and will be seized at all levels. And coherent approaches at EU level will be increasingly decisive to bring forward social standards and cohesion.

By the way: ‘Yes. We care.’ – This also means we will vote at the EU elections. For social fairness and pluralism at all levels.

This will be one of our main messages in the months to come.

Picture: Klaus Heeger © CESI 2018