Speech at Tripartite Social Summit by Martin Jefflén, President of Eurocadres representing CEC-Eurocadres Liaison Committee

A competitive Europe is built on a social Europe, where a well-educated workforce has a strong sense of security to take and make their own opportunities, using their skills, innovativeness and entrepreneurship. Where green jobs drive change to reach essential climate goals while making us leader in technology that needs to be in place for us to sustain life on this planet. Where just transition goes hand in hand with structural change.

Strong and sound state finances are key. The path to this must however be built on growth in employment and economy; austerity has proven itself wrong. Europe needs investments. Eurocadres supports the ETUC initiative on a New Path for Europe.

We need more and better jobs. Europe needs more and better jobs. From a managers’ perspective we know that even well-educated and high qualified managers are getting unemployed. Europe also needs future managers for a better working life.

We risk a lost generation due to youth unemployment. In our membership ranks there are many well educated persons that in order to get a job need to take jobs below their skill level, thus preventing lower skilled people access to the labour market, or even make use of their mobility and work in such jobs outside of their home countries. This brain drain risks causing long term damage to the economies of these countries.

Mobility of persons is one of the greatest achievements and success stories of the European Union. But it must be a free choice, coupled with strong trade unions and legislation that protects against discrimination, as stated in the treaty.

Tax havens need to be closed down, fierce tax competition has to be put to an end and tax fraud has to be combatted.

A shift from taxation of labour to taxation of capital and environmental strains should be considered.

Educational funding for the individual and systems for taxation need to be balanced promoting incentives for higher education or at least not unwanted effects of risking taxing formal education.

More attention has to be put to social responsibilities of European undertakings. In this process managers play a lead role. A more ethical behaviour and cooperation in this field of the business world is absolutely necessary.

An integrated European system of recognition of diplomas and professional qualifications needs to be installed and Europe has to become a higher education area with excellent working conditions, for both staff and students.

Actions to attract high-tech industries, to implement digital agendas, to develop world class systems for life-long learning and to promote entrepreneurship are urgently needed.

European professionals and managers call for change.

Now, on a very personal note. I am saddened at the circumstances this summit takes place under. Now the spotlight shines clear on the core values of the EU as an organisation that has promoting peace and prosperity. During my youth years I went on a student exchange year to Southern Russia, close to Ukraine. My thoughts today go to both my host family’s relatives on the Ukrainian side as well as to my host brother in the Russian military. The narrative of the EU as an organisation promoting peace and stability is put under stress. I wish you fruitful discussions on the topic, and hope that you will be able to keep two thoughts at the same time also addressing our issues raised today.