We would like to draw your attention to a new publication by our partners from the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI). This 2017 edition of Benchmarking working Europe focuses on the question ‘overcoming cleavages across the EU?’. It analyses in four chapters and with the help of 58 visual graphs latest trends and outcomes of European policies in the areas of macro-economics, wages and collective bargaining, labour markets and, last but not least, social dialogue and workers’ participation.
The report demonstrates that the European Union is experiencing increasing social divergences and underlines the need for new policies that can generate higher living standards for all, based on fair integration and upwards convergence.
The challenges and policy recommendations presented in last year’s edition of Benchmarking working Europe therefore remain pertinent in 2017; in fact, the need for action is now more urgent than ever, particularly in this climate of crisis that is not just economic in nature but also social and political. This year will see not only the start of the UK’s ‘Brexit’ process, but also elections taking place in some of the bigger EU Member States and Donald Trump´s first year as US president leading his ‘America first’ strategy.
It is in this political climate that the European institutions are launching several initiatives on the ´future of Europe´, including the White Paper on the deepening of the EMU, the Five Presidents´ Report on the Future of Europe, and last but not least the European Pillar of Social Rights.
These documents should form the basis for establishing a vision of the future of Europe which, as declared on several occasions, has social concerns at its heart. As the analysis of Benchmarking working Europe 2017 demonstrates, this concern comes somewhat late, but is still of key importance in order for Europe to lay the foundations for a sustainable and fair society.