Europe’s industrial workforce are calling on EU decision-makers to put the Just Transition framework needed in place in practice and not just in politicians’ rhetoric.

As Europe’s leaders prepare to negotiate on the EU recovery plan proposed in May by the Commission at this week’s EU Council meeting (17-19 July), industriAll European Trade Union has a simple message: it’s time to seal the deal for an ambitious recovery plan that guarantees support for workers affected by the crisis. Yesterday, industriAll Europe’s General Secretary Luc Triangle wrote to the Presidents of the European Council, European Commission and European Parliament.

Luc Triangle said, “industriAll Europe’s members are already in the eye of the perfect storm of Covid19, decarbonisation and wider structural changes. Now is the time for politicians to make the right political decisions to ensure a sustainable recovery. Europe’s industrial workforce are calling on EU decision-makers to put the Just Transition framework needed in place in practice and not just in politicians’ rhetoric”.

With European and global forecasts of economic recession and large-scale job losses looming large, reaching an agreement on an EU Recovery Plan this week is of the utmost importance. There is a window of opportunity to avoid the deepest of recessions and national leaders must step up to this historical moment. 

In May, industriAll Europe supported the proposal made by the European Commission because it was based on solidarity among member states and it set out a plan to trigger massive investment flows to restart the economy. However, last week the European Council President Charles Michel set out his ‘negotiating box’ on the deal, and we were disappointed to see the ambition reduced. 

The ETUC has highlighted on the main shortcomings of the proposition made last week:

  • A reduction in the EU’s multiannual financial framework (MFF) compared to the Commission’s proposal, with the risk of cuts to cohesion policy, particularly the ESF+
  • Distribution of 30% of the package postponed to 2023
  • National Recovery Plans to be approved by Council by qualified majority, with a very high risk that macroeconomic and budgetary conditionality will be imposed on Member States

We therefore support the ETUC demand that the European Council return as close as possible to the European Commission initial proposal.

Moreover, among the changes proposed in the Council ‘negotiating box’, we have also seen a proposed reduction in the resources for workers affected by restructuring (both the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund and the Just Transition Fund). We are already witnessing and managing large-scale restructuring cases in Europe – notably in the automotive, aerospace and foundation industries. To reduce the resources available to manage these cases is incomprehensible for Europe’s industrial workers. Rather than reducing ambition, we need to see Europe step up its policy and financial framework to avoid unnecessary suffering for individuals and their communities. IndustriAll Europe’s letter to the 3 Presidents calls for: 

  1. the full enforcement of existing EU legislation regarding information and consultation rights; 
  2. adequate funding to cope with restructuring (Michel’s proposal cut in half the proposed budget for the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund) 
  3. Provide a Just Transition framework for all manufacturing sectors in crisis

Letter to Ursula Von der Leyen, President of the European Commission

Contact: Andrea Husen-Bradley, press and communication