Fabian Demicoli

GRTU participated in a Conference on restoring socio-economic convergence


GRTU Council
Member Patrick Cutajar attended the conference representing GRTU. European
Commission President Hose Manuel Barroso opened the conference and gave an
introduction. President Barroso emphasized that the aim of the EU is to close
gaps, and keep an eye on disparities and religious differences. 
 

The EU is against unemployment and is in
favour of solidarity between all Member States and therefore the EU Project
about cohesion & solidarity should continue. There exists imbalances in
certain member states. The
current social model is at risk and this has to be addressed. This problem has
to be addressed also through the reduction of early school leavers and the
improvement of employability. These should be the EU social target. Eleven out
of 30 European states rank among the best in the world and most have built a
good social welfare state like Finland, Germany and the Netherlands. The EU
needs to modernize the current social trends, an economy based on debt is no
longer sustainable. We need to have a socio macro-economic surveillance system
to preempt major issues and reduce risks. 

24% of
the EU's population is at risk of poverty and the EU is asking the national
Governments to allocate 20% of Social Funds to be used to combat poverty and
improve and create jobs.

The EU
also needs to intensify social dialogue. President Barroso concluded by saying
that the ‘EU needs an enhanced social cohesion'

The
European Council President Van Rumpoy continued on Barroso saying that the
major objective of the EU is to create employment. Currently the EU has a slow
recovery growth but this is susceptible, growth alone is not enough, jobs are
important but not sufficient because it takes time, we need to find better ways
to reach the micro-society. The EU is pushing Member States to take measures to
improve youth employment. The EU 2020 objectives remain there and they should
be each nations' strategic targets. From October 2013 onwards, the Commission
will start using improved analytical tools to measure jobs, unemployment and
social trends to act faster. It is important to have long term objectives in
the socio-economic strategy.

Why does socio-economic convergence in the economic and monetary
union matter

During
this discussion it was mentioned that 10 years of EMU saw processes improved.
The EU is highly divided in fiscal terms and no fiscal cohesion exists. The
current unemployment situation is a long term issue and needs long term focus
and planning. People have lost trust in EU administration and this needs to be
re-established since that is why the reason the EU exists in the first place. A
scorecard is being created to analyse new indicators and trends. It was noted
that the most important thing is what actions will be taken when reading the
metrics.

There
are conflicts between austerity and social concerns. Austerity brought
unemployment, inequalities and exclusions within the social strata. When we
mention competitiveness we are accepting that it includes lower wages,
mentioning labour market friendly measures evolved into weaker labour
rights.  The proposed monitoring is
however unlikely to make a difference. The realisation of the social dimension
regime change is like opening a ‘Pandora's Box'. Concluding to this it was
noted that the problem we are discussing is not an EU issue but a world's
issue.

Detecting key employment and social imbalances and challenges in
the EMU

The
proposed scoreboard of key employment and social indicators relevant for the
EMU's well-functioning has been discussed. 
The EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion Mr
Andor noted that what we do not analyse we do not fix.  The scoreboard was explained. 

Social aspects in the macroeconomic imbalances

If
something occurs in one member state it will have an effect on the other member
states. This change is needed because in the issue that happened prior to year
2011, only the financial aspect was taken into consideration. Imbalances and
corrective actions should be presented and followed better by social actions
that will be known through the new indicators. 

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