Public Services Employers Sign Joint Declaration on the Role of Public Services

Date

20 Feb 2012

Sections

Social Europe & Jobs

Press release of the Public Services Employers’ Forum (PSEF)

Public Services Employers Sign Joint Declaration on the Role of Public Services

Members of the Public Services Employers’ Forum (PSEF) signed a joint declaration on 17 February 2012 highlighting some of the most important challenges for public services at a time of tightening budgets, and setting out how public services employers can work together to tackle these common issues.

The joint declaration highlights the critical contribution of public services providers to the economy. Public services provide the core infrastructure for the functioning of the economy and society. They contribute more than 26% of the EU GDP and employ around 64 million people, corresponding to around 30% of the EU workforce.

As a consequence, partners of the PSEF call upon governments and the European Commission to recognise the adverse long-term effects of the reductions in investments and the lack of recognition of public services obligations. They also called for a greater involvement of social partners in the decision-making process and in the planning of upcoming reforms, so as to avoid detrimental effects of austerity measures on service quality.

The joint declaration was presented in view of the upcoming Tripartite Social Summit on 1 March 2012.

Signatories to this declaration include: CEEP – European Centre of Employers and Enterprises providing Public Services, EURELECTRIC – Union of the Electricity Industry, HOSPEEM – European Hospital and Healthcare Employers’ Association, EFEE – European Federation of Education Employers, CER – The Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies, CEMR – Council of European Municipalities and Regions.

For more information please contact:

Valeria Ronzitti, CEEP Tel : +32 (0) 2 219 27 98

Emilie Melvin, CEMR Tel: +32 (0) 2 500 05 34

Julia Eichhorst, Eurelectric Tel: +32 (0) 2 515 10 35

Eva Boeckle, CER Tel: +32 (0) 2 213 08 90

Elisa Benedetti, HOSPEEM Tel: + 32 (0) 2 229 21 57

Bianka Stege, EFEE Tel: + 31 (0) 611 387 787

Annex:

Joint declaration

Public Services provide the core infrastructure for the functioning of the economy and society. They contribute more than 26% to the EU GDP and employ around 64 million persons corresponding to around 30% of the workforce.

It is widely acknowledged that Public Services do provide essential services and are important for Europe’s economic, social and territorial cohesion. Regardless of their ownership, structure or whether they are provided under public service obligations or universal service obligations, Public Services are key to our economy and in particular to the development of a sustainable future.

Public services should be governed with a sound financial framework and by the awareness that forward-looking and long-term investments in the provision will result in improving our societies. That is why signatories to this declaration would like to express their worries about the current and future budgetary constraints and limitations.

Partners of the Public Services Employers’ Forum call upon governments and the European Commission to recognise the adverse, long-term effects of reductions in investments and the lack of recognition of public service obligations. We also call upon social partners to be more involved in the decision-making process and the planning of upcoming reforms in order to avoid detrimental effects of austerity measures on service quality. It is our view that expertise is needed throughout the policy process.

The signatories to the declaration aim to highlight some of the most important challenges facing public services at a time of tightening budgets, and set out how Public Services

Employers can work together to tackle these common issues.

We, the signatories to this Declaration,

Highlight the critical contribution of public services providers to the future of European economies which would not be able to function properly without these services;

Are convinced that the solution to the crisis would need to be found by working in partnership at national and European level encompassing a sustainable and longer-term view;

Underline that Social Dialogue is a key element of the European Social Model and to the resolution of the crisis and its ongoing effects; and call on the European Commission and national governments to support this dialogue;

Operate to deliver sound and effective services taking into account value for money, which would enable citizens of the EU 27 to have high-quality public services with good choice for citizens using our services;

Stress that public services operate in very capital-intensive and labour-intensive industries: and that they need to have access to capital markets and secure sustainable sources of financing in order to fulfil their obligations and ensure the well-being of the citizens in the European Union;

Point out that the best use of available resources remains an important principle in operating public services but insist that without investments and respect of the public services obligations, the missions of public services cannot be fulfilled;

Are fully aware of the complex challenges brought by demographic changes arising in the coming decades due both to an older workforce in our sectors and a changing user base;

Underline the importance of life-long training, good skills and education to enable public services to provide services with high standards. This will help to attract new highly skilled workers to a.o. replace the large number of workers who will retire in the next decades;

Are aware that we provide services both within the European Single market and for the market.

Commit to:

- Engaging in political discussion especially ahead of the Tripartite Social Summit;

- Cooperating further via specific political meetings on topics of joint common interests.