Jul 14, 2022 Ces

Minutes of the ETUC Executive Committee meeting of 22 and 23 June 2022
Participants for FERPA: Agostino SICILIANO, Secretary General of FERPA; Henri
LOURDELLE, Special Advisor to FERPA and who took the notes; Jessica MONTIEL,
Project Coordinator and P.A. of the SG
The President of the ETUC, Laurent BERGER, opened the meeting by welcoming the
members and saying how much he enjoyed seeing everyone in person. As no other business
was added, he proceeded with the adoption of the agenda: unanimously. Similarly, the
minutes of the last statutory meetings – the Extraordinary Executive Committee of 1 March
2022, the Executive Committee of 16 and 17 March 2022, and the Steering Committees of
16 March and 3 May 2022 – were approved unanimously. He then gave the floor to the
General Secretary of the ETUC, Luca VISENTINI, for his Communications.
The General Secretary first of all pointed out the two representatives of the Ukrainian and
Moldavian trade unions who were present in the room and who would speak later. He began
by asking the question: what more can we do for the Ukrainian people and workers? The
ETUC continued to put pressure on the European institutions to put an end to the war, but
this had not been successful. The war has even got worse. Regarding the process of Ukraine
and Moldova as candidates for membership, the Commission did not want to grant the same
status to Georgia, which the ETUC deeply regrets. The European Council of 23 and 24
June will decide on this issue. In Ukraine, the situation with regard to workers’ rights, social
dialogue, etc. was very bad before the war. The EU gave a lot of money for the war but
nothing for the displaced people, and no public money from the government for the trade
unions. The ETUC will meet this afternoon with Commissioner SCHMITT. The European
Parliament had adopted a more progressive position but the Conservatives and Greens were
not moving in the right direction. He thanked organisations for providing humanitarian aid
and money, and neighbouring trade unions for receiving refugees. The leader of the
Belarusian trade unions had been arrested. Finally, he informed the meeting that the
Ukrainian and Moldovan trade unions had applied for membership of the ETUC. The
General Secretary indicated that at the same time, the ETUC continued to act on the most
urgent issues, in particular the violation of human and trade union rights in many countries
or the fight against the Extreme Right. The sanctions against Russia, which the ETUC
supported, have a huge impact on all of us, on all workers. Are we heading for a food crisis?
A recession? Inflation has gone up again, there is a huge risk. Such a situation is not only
the result of the pandemic, but also of the war. This means that we need to rethink our
strategy, particularly at European level. But there are also local emergencies: buying food,
paying rent. We must therefore strengthen social protection, in particular by implementing
the European Social Rights Framework. Governments must invest in the social sector,
which will have consequences for budgets and deficits. But unfortunately, there is not
enough awareness of this urgency among governments and countries. What support
measures can the European Union put in place as it did during the COVID period? In
addition, the climate emergency must be addressed.
Before opening the debate, the President gave the floor to the representative of the
Ukrainian trade unions. The trade unionist first of all renewed his appeal to the European
Council, which was about to meet, to obtain for his country the status of candidate for
membership of the European Union, so that the same values, the same standards that
Ukraine shared, would be respected. Being a candidate for membership means fighting for
human rights and workers’ rights to be respected. There are 45 trade union organisations in
Ukraine that are questioning their trade union functioning during the war? All of us together
to be united against Russian aggression. Prices have risen by 20%, thousands of Ukrainians
have fled their country, and they are forced to use Russian. It is difficult to speak of dignity.
He also expressed his gratitude to the ETUC and its organisations for the aid given to
Ukrainian trade unions and refugees.
The Moldovan trade union representative followed him to the podium, saying in particular
that “the future of the Moldovan trade union lies in your hands” and specifying that his
trade union was already part of the EPSU. His union shares the same values as Ukraine and
they are facing the same war. The Ukrainian refugees use their house for treatment and rest.
He ended his brief intervention by thanking the ETUC for the help provided, including
financial support.
These speeches were greeted by a standing ovation and concluded by a “photo action”, at
the foot of the podium, of all the members of the Executive Committee surrounding the two
trade union representatives, Ukrainian and Moldavian.
The President then opened the debate.
First of all, the interventions concerned the war in Ukraine and its consequences in that
country. They reaffirmed their support for Ukrainian workers and for the ETUC’s action
in this area. Support was also added for the Russian workers in Russia who were
demonstrating against Putin. It was also pointed out that it is the workers who are paying
the highest price for this war, which is having a huge impact on European workers. To date,
14 million people have been displaced. The right of Ukraine to autonomy and self-defence
must be reaffirmed. It is necessary both to position ourselves in relation to the peace
movements and to have a dialogue on peace, and it is important that we have a debate on
peace. It will be necessary to ensure that Europe is united but strong with regard to the
reconstruction of Ukraine. They added that rearmament cannot be an answer to the
challenge of peace. The ETUC must be at the forefront in defending a Europe of peace and
European trade unions must call for a ceasefire. Others drew members’ attention to the fact
that we are moving towards a war economy and expressed concern that member states are
committing themselves to increased arms spending. It was also said that the issue of
European defence should be looked at from a trade union perspective. Several reaffirmed
their full support for Ukrainian and Moldovan trade union membership of the ETUC and
for their countries’ membership of the European Union. Returning to the European and
national challenges facing the organisations and workers, several speakers noted that the
tension on the labour market – as in the transport sector, for example – was also explosive,
particularly because of the shortage of quality jobs, as there was a lack of manpower to
make the necessary investments. This question of investment comes up again and again.
We need to invest massively, especially in the face of the multiple crisis we are
experiencing, especially the crisis of wage policies in the light of the shock of rising prices,
challenges that cannot be met solely with an increase in wages, even if we have to fight for
a strong increase in wages.
Indeed, the concerns of defending purchasing power and wages are therefore a priority.
This is why collective bargaining must be relaunched, or even renewed, particularly in the
fight against precariousness, which affects all strata of the population, including pensioners.
In this fight to improve wages, we must specifically mention women, who are often the
most affected, but also the most forgotten. They need a bigger pay rise, especially because
they are already lagging behind, but also because of the jobs they mostly do. Women are
more affected by the crisis than men. We can see that companies have never made so much
profit, while at the same time there is no fallout, no negotiations on wages. This raises the
question of redistribution and the excessive remuneration of capital in the increase of
wealth. It would be appropriate to have a discussion on taxation, even if it is difficult, and
in particular on the new incomes that do not contribute, but also for a redistribution of
public funds for public services, which have shown how much we needed them to get
through the pandemic. In order to ensure that in Europe it is not again the workers who
pay, we must move from a society of inflation to a society of redistribution. Several
speakers referred to the energy crisis. The organisations pointed out that the increase in
energy prices had had an impact on employment: many workers had lost their jobs as a
result. However, it was also pointed out that the increase in energy prices was not only the
result of the war, but also the result of negotiations with the multinationals, which were
given free rein when energy was privatised. Similarly, many pointed out that inflation was
not the sole result of the war, but was already there. Finally, the organisations support the
ETUC’s “roadmap” in its fight against the Extreme Right and its rise and “trivialisation” in
the European Union and in the world. We need to be aware of this in order to be able to
fight appropriately. Finally, the TUC, which was the 3rd largest contributor to the ETUC,
explained that it had decided to halve its contribution because the UK had left the EU. But
it would do so gradually over 4 years. The Secretary General of FERPA intervened
extensively in the debate. He first recalled FERPA’s solidarity with the Ukrainian people,
who are suffering from a war that is claiming so many victims among the civilian
population. That is why he was shocked by the images of war he saw in the media. How
can we talk about peace in this context with a Russian government that manipulates the
truth and keeps bombing? He was very happy to see fellow trade unionists from Ukraine
and Moldova in the room. The last time we saw them was online and while the Russians
were hitting Kiev. With Covid and the war, things would never be the same again. He
recalled that in this context our Manifesto had taken on greater importance and had been
sent to all members of the Executive Committee and recalled the joint letter that had been
written at the time with EPSU. Home ownership is essential for older people, it is a
fundamental issue in Europe. But there are older people in Ukraine who have had their
homes destroyed by war, will they have the time and financial resources to rebuild them?
In our manifesto, we have already denounced the energy poverty affecting the elderly. It is
worth noting that this was the case before the war; today the situation has worsened. He
took the opportunity to greet the members of the Turkish trade union DISK and informed
the ETUC Executive Committee of the joint letter sent to DISK members with the ETUC
condemning the closure of the pensioners’ union Emekli-Sen. He concluded by stressing
that the action plan on the European pillar of social rights decided in Lisbon must be
implemented and that all the economic means of the EU must be mobilised to this end. He
concluded by saying that FERPA puts all its experience at the disposal of the ETUC.
In his response, the ETUC General Secretary said that he had identified three main themes
in the debate. First of all, solidarity with the Ukrainians and the maintenance of ongoing
actions. But what can be done to make peace a reality? Peace goes hand in hand with
democracy. We must continue to protect European workers from the effects of war. A
working group (to be discussed later in the meeting) will be set up. As had been said,
inflation existed before the war and rising energy and food prices could not be fought with
wage increases alone. We need to restructure the economy to make it more sustainable and
review taxation systems to make them fairer to support social protection. We must ensure
that each state has the resources to invest in social protection. It was said that we must
mobilise at European level. The ETUC Summer School on 30 June would be the ideal
opportunity to reflect on this: to think about our demands but also about the methods of
action. Concerning the membership of Ukrainian and Moldovan trade unions in the ETUC,
there was a general consensus. However, the ETUC is concerned about the Commission’s
exclusion of Georgia from candidate status for EU membership. The ETUC will meet them.
Concerning the new ETUC building, it was discussed at length in the Steering Committee
which preceded the Executive Committee in the morning. Concerning the TUC, if the
statutes were not applied to the letter, this would create major disruption in the finances of
the ETUC.
The next item discussed was finances, specifically the request from CESO and TCO to
change their membership declarations. This is because teachers who were previously
members of CESO have moved to TCO. The Committee accepted this change.
The preparation of the 15th ETUC Statutory Congress, which will take place from 23 May
to 26 May 2023 in Berlin, was then discussed.
First of all, it was necessary to adopt :
a) the Rules of Procedure of the Congress
b) the Good Governance Campaign Protocol – President’s proposal
c) Call for nominations for the Constitutional Committee
d) Call for nominations for the Finance Committee
All of these items were adopted, with the following clarifications made in the debate.
In particular, it was agreed that all voting would be done electronically and that there would
no longer be any show of hands. With regard to the constitutional changes, and in particular
the modification of the representation of young people in the delegations of the
organisations at the Congress, which had been practically approved at the ETUC’s midterm General Assembly, it was specified that it could only be effective for the Congress
following the Berlin Congress, i.e. once the modification of the statutes had been adopted.
But this does not prevent it from being a strong “recommendation” for the time being. It
should be noted that only those amendments are presented to the Congress which have
received at least 50% of the votes or more at the Midterm GA. Those that receive less are
rejected. This is the case for FERPA’s voting rights, which received only 45.75% of positive
votes. Finally, the ETUC Finance Committee was re-established. As for the participation
in the different Committees, all member organisations can be part of it.
The President then gave the floor to Ludovic VOET, Confederal Secretary, to introduce the
next debate, which concerned a draft resolution on the European Commission’s proposal
for a directive on the improvement of working conditions via a work platform and the way
forward under the ordinary legislative procedure. Behind this rather long title lies a major
issue: tracking down bogus self-employed workers on platforms and granting them the
status of employees. A first report was presented to the European Parliament on 19 May
which takes up several of the ETUC’s proposals, notably on improving working conditions
in the context of platforms and above all on the general presumption of employment: the
criteria are no longer presented as a prerequisite to trigger the presumption of employment.
However, several members of the EPP, Renew Europe and the RCE have drawn up a
number of coordinated proposals aimed at hindering the progress proposed in the report by
MEP Ms Gualmini (Socialists and Democrats) on labour rights, or even making the
European Commission’s proposal worse. The ETUC will continue to develop initiatives
aimed at isolating and denouncing platform lobbying. It will try, together with its members,
to convince Renew Europe and EPP MEPs of the coherence and legal feasibility of its
proposals to ensure the sustainable development of work platforms in a workers’ rightsbased approach.
After debate, this draft Resolution was adopted, minus one abstention and one vote against
The floor was then given to Esther LYNCH, Deputy Secretary General to introduce the
Report on the Adequate Minimum Wages Directive and follow-up initiatives in the light of
the final provisions on collective bargaining and minimum wages.
On 7 June 2022, a provisional agreement was reached on the directive on adequate
minimum wages in the EU. This draft directive will now have to be adopted by the
European Parliament and finally by the Council. This is an important step for social Europe
and the first major test for the European Social Rights Framework. It creates an obligation
in European law to respect the right to collective bargaining, to provide protection for
workers who wish to bargain collectively and to prevent trade union busting practices.
Although no Member State is obliged to set a mandatory ‘legal’ minimum wage, this draft
directive advances several key ETUC demands such as
– to ensure that legal minimum wages are sufficient for the worker and his or her family
and, in particular, to guarantee a decency threshold of 60% of the median wage and 50%
of the average wage.
– Or that all categories of workers, in the private and public sectors, must be protected
– Or, to ensure adequate wages by promoting collectively bargained wages: Member States
should put in place systems and laws that support trade unions, the right to collective
bargaining and the right to organise.
– Or a non-regression clause that the directive “shall not be interpreted as preventing
Member States from increasing statutory minimum wages. Similarly, the control
mechanisms have been modified to prevent the directive from being misused for negative
economic governance purposes.
The ETUC believes that organisations should seek to make immediate and accelerated
progress during the two-year transposition process.
In the debate that followed this presentation, among other interventions, the Danish trade
unions expressed their agreement with their government, which said no to this directive in
order to preserve their social model.
They remained concerned despite everything. But they added that they had learned to
disagree. Ireland points out that this Directive is not being implemented in Northern Ireland
and asks what needs to be done to ensure that this Directive achieves all our objectives.
The union also stressed that despite our disagreements we have managed to work together.
The DGB said that in Germany we had overcome our fears of a downward revision, because
we had to protect all workers. The Women’s Committee also intervened, saying that the
best is the enemy of the good and that they were satisfied with the proposed action plan.
Esther concluded that
– on the one hand, minimum wages should not become the norm but remain a safety net
– on the other hand, that this directive is a good compromise, very respectful of the strong
bargaining systems that exist.
The next item discussed was also presented by Esther LYNCH, Deputy General Secretary,
and concerned the ETUC’s draft mandate for the social dialogue negotiations on a binding
agreement on telework and the right to disconnect and the composition of the delegation.
The social dialogue work programme 2022-2024 commits the European social partners to
review and update the 2002 autonomous agreement on telework and to propose it as a
legally binding agreement to be implemented via a directive. The COVID 19 pandemic has
accelerated the adoption of telework in many workplaces. Existing telework laws, in many
cases based on the 2002 European agreement, are now being updated to take account of
new technologies and working practices. It should be noted that for the first time in the
history of the social dialogue, the social partners have agreed to revise an autonomous
agreement and propose it for adoption as a directive. The agreement will aim to address a
number of areas, including
– maintaining that the choice of telework is in the hands of the worker, including that
mobile/flexible work is explicitly not intended to replace the workplace
– guaranteeing equal pay and treatment for teleworkers
– ensuring the obligation of employers to provide equipment, necessary technical assistance
and payment of expenses/costs
– protection of privacy and prevention of invasive surveillance
– work-life balance, including the right to disconnect and the protection of working time
rules. Telework will be fully subject to the provisions of the Working Time Directive
– address the gender dimension of telework…
Timetable :
– 22 June Executive Committee meeting: presentation of the draft mandate and composition
of the delegation, 40 members (27 from the national confederations, including a maximum
of 1 per country; 4 from the national federations, after agreement between them; 1 from the
Women’s Committee; 1 from the Youth Committee; 2 from the EUROCADRES/CEC
Liaison Committee; 5 from the Secretariat).
In the short debate that followed, there was general agreement on the proposal as a whole.
The Women’s Committee stressed, however, that the pandemic had highlighted all the
negative aspects of telework for women, in particular violence, work-life balance, but also
what career opportunities there were for women.
The draft mandate and the composition of the delegation were adopted unanimously.
Esther LYNCH, Deputy General Secretary, also presented the next item, which concerned
a draft resolution on ETUC policy on the fight against the extreme right in the European
On 3 and 4 June 2021, the ETUC Executive Committee adopted the “ETUC Roadmap –
Developing the trade union response to the rise of the far right”. In particular, one action in
the roadmap focuses on “fighting the far right in the European Parliament” and includes a
commitment to “formulate the current practice on limiting contacts with the far right in the
European Parliament into a policy” for the ETUC, which its national and sectoral affiliates
are invited to implement. The presence of far-right parties and movements in the European
Parliament has increased considerably over time. Today, more than one in five MEPs
belong to far-right parties/movements and/or political groups comprising far-right
parties/movements. The Identity and Democracy (ID) group currently has 65 MEPs. The
European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR) currently has 64 MEPs. They are
the fifth and sixth largest political groups in the European Parliament. In addition, several
MEPs among the non-attached members come from extreme right-wing parties and
movements. This is why the ETUC, in accordance with its founding principles and values
– reaffirms its commitment to counter the far right at European level and in the European
– commits itself to challenge far-right messages and to avoid any action that could promote
MEPs, far-right parties and movements.
– undertakes not to have relations/contacts with MEPs, far-right parties and movements and
not to invite them to participate in trade union initiatives
– undertakes to counter the far-right’s narrative and its attempt to divide workers, in
particular by publicising their actions against the interests of workers and trade unions
– the ETUC engages with civil society organisations and European human rights
organisations, for example the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) or
the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)…
The proposed action plan is to implement these different commitments and a Manifesto is
planned for the ETUC Congress in 2023.
During the ensuing debate, all the organisations said that they were fully in agreement with
the document, insisting that the door should not be left open to those who wanted to
suppress the trade union movement. Some would like to see stricter rules introduced into
the statutes. Only Solidarnosc felt that the approach taken in the document was not the right
one. However, the document was adopted, minus Solidarnosc’s vote against.
The Executive Committee was then invited to discuss the ETUC’s draft position on the
conclusions of the Conference on the Future of Europe and its follow-up, including a
Convention. This item was introduced by Luca VISENTINI, General Secretary of the
The General Secretary began by thanking the ETUC delegates to the Conference. Thanks
to this work, the ETUC had succeeded in getting its demands into the conclusions, which
had either been accepted or reflected. Not everything was passed, but the most important
ones were, such as, for example, the demand for a social progress protocol or the full role
of the European Social Rights Base in future Treaty changes or qualified majority voting.
There were very strong attacks from the far right on the points that dealt with immigration
and social rights.
Despite this, the ETUC’s overall assessment of the Conference was positive. Now it
remains to be seen what the three institutions will do with it. The Commission, for its part,
wishes to bury the conclusions. The Parliament, for its part, is in favour of a Convention to
revise the Treaties, but makes no reference to social progress. As for the Council, “the
engine has imploded” following the French elections. The ETUC’s assessment of the
Commission and the Council is very negative. Will this be another missed opportunity?
We must therefore be very vigilant.
In the debate that is about to begin, the interventions are in line with the analysis of the
ETUC General Secretary and his generally positive assessment. But of course, everything
will depend on the implementation of the conclusions. The first step is therefore to maintain
the pressure on the Member States and the Institutions. There were a few reservations, first
of all from the Nordic trade unions, who felt that it was too early to talk about changes to
the European treaties. But also Solidarnosc expressed its disagreement to open the Treaties
so widely, to enlarge them to other subjects such as taxation. For his part, the Secretary
General of FERPA also intervened in the debate. He thanked the whole team that had
worked to achieve this result. He recalled that FERPA, in the person of its President, had
participated in the ETUC Working Group to achieve this Europe that we are calling for.
The difficulty now is to know how to move forward, because no one expected such results,
which have highlighted what we have been hoping for for a long time: a vision of a more
united, more social Europe. All countries are different, but we want a Europe that brings
people together. So we must not let these results be forgotten.
In his response, the ETUC General Secretary recalls that a balance must be found between
social and economic rights. Why a Convention? Because, the General Secretary explained,
in the framework of the current Treaties, if we want to change things, there is only the
Intergovernmental Conference, but that will only apply “cosmetic changes”. But if there is
a Convention, we will have to fight to ensure that the social partners have a place in it. Yes,
in its demands, the ETUC calls, among other things, for the introduction of a minimum tax
on companies to combat social dumping. It also calls for a strengthened role for the
European Social Rights Framework, linking the realisation of its principles to the Treaty’s
objective of a “social market economy” aiming at full employment and social progress “in
order to rebalance the instruments of economic governance. What is being proposed, says
Luca, is not an agreement by the ETUC on the Conference, but that if there are to be any
changes, it should be in the framework of a Convention with the participation of the social
partners on our demands. We must fight to ensure that our demands are heard.
In the end, the text was adopted, minus 7 abstentions (mainly the Nordic countries) and one
vote against, Solidarnosc.
The next discussion point was introduced by Isabelle SCHÖMANN, Confederal Secretary,
and was a draft position paper entitled: Positioning the ETUC for open strategic autonomy
from the EU with a strong social agenda.
This text is in line with the ETUC resolutions adopted by the Executive Committee. What
we are seeing today are increasing attacks on workers’ rights and trade union rights. What
is the European Union’s open strategic autonomy? It is the combination of different
approaches: (re)industrialisation and relocation of strategic activities, better control of key
supplies, diversification of supply sources, storage, circular economy, energy and resource
efficiency, increased independence in the development and control of strategic
technologies as well as the strengthening of know-how and innovation capacities. The
ETUC therefore calls for this open strategic autonomy of the Union to be articulated around
several social priorities, such as aiming to create sustainable and quality jobs in the EU or
including a strong focus on education, training, re-skilling and upgrading of the European
workforce or the creation of sustainable supply chains and building on regulations against
social dumping or providing for an important role for public services and ensuring the
quality of public infrastructure…
In the following short debate, the Polish trade union OPZZ calls for a more realistic
transition to renewable energy. And, as far as coal is concerned, decarbonisation cannot be
done so quickly.
Isabelle replied that we have to deal with two crises that add up and require changes but
which, of course, we must be able to deal with.
Finally, the text was adopted minus 7 abstentions (the Nordic unions, OPZZ and
Ludovic VOET, Confederal Secretary, introduced the draft resolution, entitled: ETUC
proposals in the light of the energy price crisis.
The current energy price crisis, exacerbated by the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine, is
having a major impact on consumers and workers. Soaring energy prices have increased
energy poverty. The EU must rapidly and radically reduce its dependence on Russian fossil
fuel imports, while striving to meet the EU Green Deal target. This means diversifying the
EU’s energy supplies in the long term. At the same time, policy makers need to accelerate
and intensify policy measures to support the most affected consumers, workers and
businesses. Finally, the current crisis should also act as a wake-up call for policy makers to
question and revise the current functioning of the EU energy market. But care must be taken
not to move from energy dependence with one country to another with autocratic countries
like Qatar. All the principles are on the table for the Commission with, among others, its
Communication of 8 March entitled REPowerEUn, but the social dimension is absent. Our
response must be up to the task of saving the jobs of thousands of people and the purchasing
power of workers. We must denounce the enormous profits made by energy companies,
cap prices and review the European energy market.
In the debate that followed, many insisted that we must rely on the decarbonised energies
available to us. We need to ensure a more coherent tax system and therefore review it and
consider energy as a basic necessity. We also need incentives to save energy. Others
questioned whether coal could remain a transitional fuel. Others add that a more managed
energy market is needed to limit company profits. Is public ownership of energy not the
sustainable solution? The Secretary General of FERPA intervened to say that policies must
be developed to combat poverty in Europe. Older women on low incomes suffer the most.
He said that the problems linked to energy poverty are well documented.
Ludo replies that coal is not the solution. Just because gas is a dirty energy does not mean
that coal is a clean energy. We need to invest in renewable energy.
The text was adopted, minus three votes against and abstentions from the Nordic countries
and the OPZZ.
The last debate on the agenda was introduced by Liina CARR, Confederal Secretary, and
concerned a draft Resolution: Action plan for the European Social Rights Base, the future
of social protection.
The Resolution summarises and confirms the main messages of the ETUC delivered during
the specific hearings of the social partners on welfare and social protection policy,
organised by the European Commission. The topics ranged from the future of the welfare
state in the EU to the initiatives to be undertaken in the provision of essential services. The
ETUC believes that a comprehensive approach to social assistance reforms requires further
efforts to achieve the objectives of the European Socle of Social Rights, in particular the
Council Recommendation on access to social protection and the main objectives of its
Action Plan, notably the one on poverty, through substantial political and financial
coordination, including intermediate and national targets. All the rights contained in the
principles of the European Foundation must be pursued in an integrated and coherent way,
as they are mutually reinforcing. Rights and needs based assessment needs to be further
developed through better indicators, capable of reflecting the composite realities of social
protection demands. These indicators must also be able to develop the effectiveness of any
measures undertaken and the response of policy drivers to the EDS. Public authorities must
play a greater role in responding to the needs of people in vulnerable situations and in
providing high quality services to communities. Social partners need to be involved at all
stages to facilitate multi-faceted and better targeted solutions. Finally, the social and
economic dimensions must be given equal attention. Therefore, achieving the objectives of
the SEDS and the Action Plan requires a coherent financial commitment at all levels,
starting with the EU.
In the debate that followed this presentation, the interventions emphasised that health
cannot be made a business. Health is an essential right, with quality care, and therefore it
is not a commodity. This implies that staff are qualified with fair wages and that there is
more political commitment to ensure that these services are protected and defended. It is
essential, it was also added, to continue on the SEDS. It is important to ensure that
commitments do not remain ‘dead letters’.
In her reply, Liina said that the Commission would organise a hearing of the social partners
to prepare a report on this subject.
The text was adopted, minus one abstention (FH).
The ETUC President closed the Executive Committee on this point and invited its member
organisations to participate in the ETUI GA.

Written by Henri Lourdelle