For a Strong, Fair and Ambitious Union: Confidence in Europe’s Future
In a world of constant change, Europeans want policies that inspire confidence. Confidence that Europe is leading the future with ambition. Confidence that Europe protects and provides security. Today, many people across Europe feel insecure. Technological development progresses rapidly. Workers ask themselves whether they can keep up with these developments, or whether their jobs are at risk. Global warming calls for a new directions, towards a healthier planet and fewer carbon energy sources. This in turn raises questions on our economic activities, further sparking our uncertainty. And when people from the Middle East, Africa, or other parts of the world come to the European Union as refugees –fleeing from political persecution, civil wars or abject poverty – this too triggers anxiety. Europeans call for a Union that protects.
There are important challenges ahead of us, for our security, our well-being and for the role that Europe has to play in an increasingly multipolar world. The internal and external challenges facing us are multiplying by the day – from terrorism to climate change. Parts of our neighbourhood are destabilised, resulting in the largest refugee crisis since the founding of the European Union. Our economy is recovering from the financial and economic crisis and there are more people at work than ever before, but work on the Economic and Monetary Union and the Internal Market is not yet complete. At the same time, global digitalisation requires a profound transformation of our European social market economy. Meanwhile, the return of isolationism has cast doubts over the future of international trade and multilateralism, and new global powers are emerging as old ones face new realities.
We, the European Christian-democratic Workers (EUCDW), are convinced that no single nation state can answer or close its borders to these challenges. We must stand and work together, in a strong and united Europe. We oppose those professing nationalism and the survival of the fittest with European integration and multilateralism. Where others stir up envy and sow hatred, we must inspire confidence and build on the power of solidarity – between people and between countries. Instead of excluding, we orient our policies on the inalienable dignity of each person. For us Christian democrats and Christian socials, the Christian image of humanity – the human dignity derived from the image of God – is the yardstick for all our actions. Freedom, solidarity and justice, subsidiarity and sustainability are the values and principles that guide our politics.
We are convinced that we need the European Union more than ever to protect our citizens and build a better future for all. Europe is the greatest prosperity and peace project in history. We want to secure and develop this project.
The European Social Market Economy at People’s Service
- New technologies, innovative production models and globalisation change our economic fabric and the way we work. Our aim is to ensure that all business models contribute to our social model and that all citizens have access to dignified work and adequate social rights, no matter how the world of work evolves of what employment type they are in. In the European Social Market Economy, economic competitiveness and social progress go hand in hand.
- We welcome the European Pillar of Social Rights to which all Member States and the European Commission have committed. Wherever in Europe we carry political responsibility, we will support the implementation of the Social Pillar into practice, without distinction and in full respect of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, with a strong focus on decent wages, access to social protection and a good work-life balance for all.
- We want to expand, not weaken the European minimum standards, for example on labour or occupational health and safety regulations. We want to ensure an ambitious health policy both at work and in society at large, including a thorough increase in common European efforts in the fight against cancer, the prevention of chronic diseases and ensuring easier access to cross-border healthcare.
- Social partner cooperation is key to effectively manage the important transformations in the world of work. Therefore, existing workers‘ codeterminiation regulations must be safeguarded and expanded. We clearly reject any avoidance of codetermination through seat or legal entity changes, and call to anchor this in all European company law regulations, such as the Company Law Package. We support a European framework directive to strengthen workers‘ codetermination and tackle its avoidance.
- We support the freedom of movement in the European Union as a source of prosperity and job creation, and want to ensure the full preservation and portability of social rights accumulated in different activities during one’s career, including in other Member States. At the same time, we want to prevent social dumping in the European Union. The same remuneration and working conditions must apply for the same work at the same place in every sector. This is a question of justice. Therefore we welcome the adoption of the new Posting of Workers Directive and call for its implementation in the Member States by mid-2020 It is our duty to tackle social dumping in the transport sector. Extending equal pay for equal work to the transport sector is essential for us. Drivers should be able to spend their free weekend at home or at a hotel. And controls must be tighter. This is not only crucial for fair working conditions, but also for road safety across Europe.
- A European Labour Authority should ensure that the European rules on working conditions, social protection and equal pay for mobile workers are effectively enforced, by setting up cross-border inspections, building capacity in national authorities and improving information exchange.
- Europe needs a dynamic workforce, including young and old, women and men, to be competitive in the global and digital economy and to foster job creation. Our aim is to promote entrepreneurship, digital training and a highly-skilled workforce, and at the same time to ensure that people can make full use of the possibilities offered by new production models to improve their work-life balance and life-long learning. The European Union of Christian Democratic Workers is convinced that the competitiveness of the European economy is crucial for securing Europe’s future.
- The transformation of our economy and society – whether through digitalisation or decarbonisation – has a massive impact on the world of work. Some jobs disappear, new ones are emerging. Even where employees remain in stable jobs, the skills required are evolving rapidly. Therefore, skills qualification is the key to mastering the transformation. Therefore we call on the European Commission and the Member States to promote lifelong learning. Public responsibility to ensure lifelong learning is equally important as the responsibility to promote vocational training and academic education. We therefore call for a more broadly funded European Social Fund – also to support the necessary qualification of employees.
- We want to continue on the achievements of the Youth Guarantee in providing more than 3.5 million young people each year since 2014 with an offer of employment, continued education, a traineeship or an apprenticeship, and double the resources for tackling youth unemployment. For a significant share of youth people it has become self-evident to spend time in other European countries, for example through Erasmus+ exchanges for students and trainees. We call on the European Commission to triple the number of young people participating in Erasmus+, and support the proposals for cross-border university cooperation in Europe. Exchanges in continued vocational training must be made more attractive as well.
- In some Member States, the costs of buying or renting a home are rising faster than incomes. In other Member States, the tax burden for middle-class families has increased significantly due to the economic crises of the past decade. We affirm our commitment to allow all citizens the opportunity to achieve a higher standard of living and to ensure that housing and living is affordable for all citizens, in particular the middle-class.
- Social dialogue is crucial in order to balance competitiveness with fairness. Our aim is to further stimulate the social dialogue and develop a new future-proof social contract together with the social partners, in order to prepare the future of the European Social Market Economy.
The European Single Market at People’s Service
- We are committed to the Euro. We need a stable euro to prevent another economic crisis and to create trust in the safety of people’s savings and investments. In order to safeguard investments in times of crisis, stabilise Member States’ economies in difficult times and soften the social costs of necessary reforms, we fully support the creation of a eurozone budget, a European Deposit Insurance Scheme and a European Monetary Fund.
- In the area of technological developments as well, we need a strong and united Europe – especially in the face of competition from Asia and America. We need more ‘European champions ‘, companies which can compete with global players in the digital, engineering, 5G, space, … sectors and set European standards as global standards. We want to double funding for start-ups and SME’s, who are the backbone of the European economy, substantially increase the budget for research and innovation to build a future-proof economy, and complete the Single Market in order to create larger markets and provide more support for promising start-ups and enterprises. Today, too many growing start-ups are moving to the United States to exploit their potential. This has a concrete impact on employment opportunities in Europe and our power to set the standards on the global market.
- We support the implementation of a common consolidated corporate tax base (CCCTB) to ensure that taxes are paid where profits are made. We also call for tax harmonisation within the European Union, in particular with regard to corporate taxation. Steps in the direction of corporate taxation harmonisation are steps preventing the race to the bottom at the expense of public investment and the welfare state. Despite setbacks, we reiterate our call for a European Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) and we call for a fairer taxation of multinationals and digital platforms.
- For us it is clear that technology must serve people. The opportunities of ‚Big Data‘ for growth and prosperity must be reconciled with data protection, including employees‘ privacy, and serve the proper functioning of our society. The European General Data Protection Regulation must be respected, while at the same time taking into account the specific situation of volunteer, midfield and civil society organisations.
- To provide our young generations with opportunities for their future without shifting the burden to future generations, we need a Union that encourages investments and stimulates reforms that keep Europe competitive. The Single Market cannot only rely on national investments. We were at the forefront to set up the Juncker Investment Plan, and are committed to build on this success story to develop an even more ambitious InvestEU plan with a strong social investment pillar.
- We are committed to ambitious climate protection, both in the interest of our children and grandchildren, and as part of global justice. We stand by the Paris Agreement and the European and national CO2 reduction targets. We must achieve these objectives, every tonne of CO2 emitted contributes to the same level of global warming – no matter where it is emitted in this world. That is why a prudent climate policy must be designed to effectively reduce global carbon emissions, without merely shifting production and emissision. We support new European own revenues, in particular a national contribution based on the quantity of non-recycled plastic packaging, to accelerate the energy transition and the fight against climate change at European level. We are committed to shape a climate policy, in particular with regard to the reduction of carbon dioxide, that is equally beneficial for the climate and for jobs. This applies to CO2 reduction targets as well as to specific targets in, for example, the automotive sector. In light of the energy transition, incentives are needed for European industry, for example to stimulate battery and hydrogen cell production.
A Global Player at People’s Service
- The inalienable human dignity is also the yardstick of our migration and asylum policy. It is unacceptable that migrants continue to drown in the Mediterranean, and that we refuse help to those in need. That is precisely why we support a common European migration and aslyum policy. We reject unilateral, uncoordinated measures that are detrimental to others. We want a common approach to tackle the root causes of migration. We want to combine an ambitious investment programme and a reinforced development budget into a Marshall Fund for Africa in cooperation with the countries of origin, to give people in the respective countries new opportunities. Responsibility and support for those refugees seeking asylum in the EU must be shouldered together.
- We stand firm for free and fair trade. Protectionism leads to poverty – ultimately, import tariffs and tariff wars are paid in jobs and higher prices. Europe’s trade agreements with more than 70 countries around the world contribute to prosperity and employment and help us to export our high standards of food safety, labour law, environmental protection and consumer rights all over the world. That is why we believe that protectionism is the wrong answer to guarantee employment security and call for trade agreements between the European Union and other countries and regions, and therefore welcome the efforts of the European Commission to come to an agreement with the United States. New tariffs must be avoided and existing tariffs, such as in the steel and aluminium sectors, must be dismantled, while ensuring that trade agreements effectively guarantee and export our high labour, environmental and consumer standards.
- At the same time, stronger trade defense measures must maintain the EU’s commitment to open markets while defending our high standards. We reject trade dumping, whether in the steel sector or other areas, and call for effective European countermeasures. Foreign investments, especially from China and Russia, must be examined more thoroughly, particularly in strategic sectors such as strategic infrastructure, technology, the media and personal data. The EU and the Member States must, where necessary, block foreign state-controlled investments and boost European investments instead.
The European Union was founded on principles that aim to safeguard peace, prosperity, the rule of law and democracy. These values are inextricably connected. Support for democracy and the rule of law, both within the EU and globally, must therefore remain a cornerstone of our policy. The diminishing space for social partners and civil society poses risks to our collective prosperity, peace and our personal freedom. We call for the development of closer ties with civil society in order to support democracy. Member States that do not respect the fundamental European values shall be subject to financial consequences in the next European Multi-annual Budget.
Our roots trace back to the Encyclical Rerum Novarum and the Rhineland model, which guided Europe’s Founding Fathers. The EUCDW is committed to keep these roots alive by strengthening the Social Market Economy at the heart of the European Union, successfully combining sustainable economic competitiveness with social justice. By orienting our policies on the Christian dignity of each person and by opening our minds rather than folding back onto ourselves, we as Christian democrats will lead this continent into the future.
Where others stir up envy and sow hatred, we as Christian democrats must inspire confidence. We must be the central force for a Europe that protects and a Europe that leads the future with ambition.