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Investments in skills and infrastructures are the key way to recovery


19 Mar 2009


Social Europe & Jobs

“Europe has all the necessary means to overcome the present crisis, provided it keeps a coordinated, coherent and forward looking approach towards recovery” said Carl Cederschiöld, President of CEEP, at the Tripartite Social Summit for Growth and Employment on 19 March.

The President of CEEP emphasized two key assets to respond to the dreadful economic situation: first is the “capacity” of Europe “to go beyond analysis and reports and to take action in time. However, only those Member States recognizing in their National Recovery Plans the multidimensionality of the crisis and close interaction between social and economic matters can succeed. This should be acknowledged in the Council conclusions of tomorrow”. The other is the existence and functioning of the European Social Model that is the real European “competitive edge” and should enable Europe to take a leading role at the G20 on 2 April.

While everybody else is claiming that it is not possible to do “business as usual” providers of Services of General Interest, represented by CEEP, must do so by “ensuring, if not increasing, the accessibility, high quality and continuity of their services”. It would be disastrous if the disproportionate pressure on public budgets of today due to sector oriented emergency rescue measures translate tomorrow in cuts in public services because “effective public services provide the infrastructure for private businesses’ prosperity”

Public services are also expected to “keep their employees in the jobs”. Mr Cederschiöld stated that “the core of the public employers’ response to the crisis will be built around the concept of employability, the anticipation of the new skill needs and the skills upgrading.” CEEP “calls on the forthcoming increase in EU social Fund advance payment to be mainly devoted to this kind of operation more than to a one-off rescue measure”.

Finally, Mr Cederschiold stressed the importance of keeping the long term focus as the key way to recovery. This implies strong investments in infrastructures. He took the example of the energy sector and warned that “the present infrastructures and energy sources will not be up to a sudden increase in production and distribution when economic growth will come back”. To ensure those investments in physical and social infrastructures are made, we cannot only rely on the will of some Member States to include them in their National Recovery Plans.
Europe must play a role and this is why CEEP calls for the revival of a European infrastructures fund!