A European Union that is capable of action and fit for the future - both internally and externally - is of central importance for economic development and social progress in Europe. In order to secure jobs and prosperity, Europe's competitiveness and innovative strength must be strengthened in the long term. Strong in competition, socially balanced - that is Europe's unique selling point in the world.
European integration, with the single market at its heart, is an unparalleled success story. High standards and intense competition are the foundation of growth, jobs and prosperity in Europe. In times of continuing global economic uncertainties and comprehensive structural challenges due to demographics, digitalisation and climate change, it is essential to strengthen the central forces for economic success also as a prerequisite for further social progress. With over 70 social policy directives and regulations, the EU has established a comprehensive basis of legally binding minimum social standards. Instead of constantly adding to this, it must concentrate on its core competences and focus on strengthening competitiveness and innovation as well as on reducing bureaucracy. To ensure that the successes in employment and prosperity of recent years are not lost in Europe, the reactivation of economic activity must play a central role in overcoming the current Covid 19 crisis.
Preserving subsidiarity and strengthening competitiveness
The EU Commission has launched a series of social policy initiatives that weaken economic power and are explicitly beyond the EU's competence. This cannot lead to a strengthening of social welfare - on the contrary. The planned European legal framework on minimum wages, the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights (
) and a European unemployment reinsurance scheme, to name but a few, not only call the subsidiarity principle into question, they are also not an appropriate contribution to a sustainable social policy. On the contrary, they threaten to undermine the competitiveness of the European economy in the long term. Increasing bureaucratic obligations and disincentives to the implementation of urgently needed structural and labour market reforms are a burden on Europe's attractiveness as a business location and thus also jeopardise jobs and prosperity.
Setting the course for the future and driving forward reforms
With the "Green Deal", the EU Commission has presented a new growth strategy which is intended to smooth the transition to a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy. At the same time, the establishment of the "Next Generation EU" reconstruction fund is intended to provide comprehensive financial resources to overcome the Covid 19 crisis. The concrete design and implementation of the two initiatives is now crucial for the EU's crisis-proof future viability and the preservation of jobs and prosperity. It is clear that successful climate protection and social progress can only be achieved in close cooperation with a competitive and innovative economy. It is therefore important to make efficient use of synergies and to use the money from the reconstruction fund responsibly and consistently for future-oriented projects with European added value. It is now up to the Member States to draw up effective national reform plans and to implement reform commitments ambitiously.