What UNI Europa thinks of the White Paper on the Future of Europe

Thursday 2 March 2017

The European Commission has presented a White Paper on the Future of Europe, which forms the Commission’s contribution to the Rome Summit of 25 March 2017.

The White Paper sets out five scenarios for a way forward and the results they will bring in the years up to 2025. It is supposed to be the start of a debate that should help the EU 27 decide on a course of action to be rolled out in time for the European Parliament elections in June 2019.

UNI Europa wants the strongest and fairest EU possible. But to achieve that, the EU has to go back to the base – its citizens and workers. It urgently needs to gain back their trust and enthusiasm in the EU project – which it can only do by showing them that the EU is there for them, and reaffirming the social model.

Unfortunately, the social dimension is lacking entirely in all the options the European Commission has presented in its White Paper on the Future of Europe.

We cannot find a single mention of the European Pillar of Social Rights, social partners, Social Europe, social model, trade unions or collective bargaining – a more than surprising if not unacceptable circumstance. The only mention of ‘social dimension’ is when a Commission reflection paper is proposed – we think there is a little more to be done than reflection.

From the UNI Europa perspective, this is what we need for a thriving and successful European Union:

  1. The European Pillar of Social Rights must result in a real and comprehensive EU social action programme, bringing together legislation, policymaking mechanisms and financial resources.
  2. The EU must pro-actively guarantee and promote trade union and collective bargaining rights, at EU and national levels as well as within multinational companies.
  3. The services sector, the backbone of the EU economy, must be at the centre of any Future of EU strategy, including addressing the social and labour dimension of digitalisation in order to stop the increase in precarious work, guarantee a just transition for workers and ensure that they are not being played against each other by unscrupulous employers.
  4. The EU must be a guarantor for fair and decent employment for all workers in all forms of employment and ensure European workers are not forced into ever more precarious forms of employment.