State of the European Union Debate 2020

The State of the European Union’s speech was firstly introduced 10 years ago, after the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. Since then, the President of the European Commission traditionally reflects on the current challenges and the strategies and priorities for the year ahead.

Today´s Ursula von der Leyen´s speech highlighted the current challenges and the strategies and priorities for the year ahead. COVID-19, green and digital transformations, migration and the rule of law are the topics to dominate in the next months in the European policy-making. The State of the European Union Debate reflects on the progresses made and the challenges and priorities ahead for the following year.

In her speech she proposed actions and strategies for the year to come, notably:

  • establishing more competence for the EU on the health dimension and the need to make EU4Health future-proof as well as strengthening crisis preparedness;
  • tackling dumping wages and bringing forward a legal proposal for a European minimum wage framework, where collective bargaining should be prioritized;

  • guaranteeing stability within the single market, with a fully functioning Schengen Area;
  • cutting down greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030, with strong investment in green policies, a price on carbon and the proposal Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism;
  • promoting a digital Europe by investing 20% of the Next Generation EU funding programme in Digital EU and introducing an effective digital tax;
  • setting up a new ‘Bauhaus’ – a creative space for artists, architects, students, engineers and  designers can work together;
  • insisting on the respect of the rule of law and human rights and collaborating with those who are Europe´s  ‘like-minded’ partners;
  • to heal the scars of the migration crisis between member states the European Commission will propose a new pact on migration;
  • effectively tackling hate crime and speech and strengthen equality between all citizens and familial relationships across all member states.

CESI Secretary-General, Klaus Heeger: “Ms von der Leyen’s words are bold, but so were those of last year, and those of her predecessors. Yes, I share her view that in the crisis, Europe has revealed its hidden force, but now we expect nothing less but these words to be met with corresponding actions. That means legislation, for instance hard and effective EU legislation for a framework on minimum wages; money, that is to say to tie EU funds and public procurement effectively to strong social and environmental criteria; and not least politics, that is to say a real commitment by all actors to cross-border solidarity and inclusion. An inclusion which, by the way, should also apply to the European social dialogues”

Romain Wolff, CESI President, added underlining the urgency of a socially fair and sustainable recovery with performing and resilient public services at its core: “The COVID-19 health crisis showed us the need to have performing and resilient public services. CESI has always upheld that investing in public services means investing in our societies and in the future. And of course, we need a level playing field in terms of taxation in this sense, we are urging for efficient and fair taxation of the digital economy and the financial sector.”

CESI Resolution: Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027

CESI Presidium Position Paper on Future of work – A trade union perspective: Social protection, decent employment & interest representation

CESI Presidium Position Paper COVID-19 Pandemic – Priorities for more resilience