Eurocadres messages to the new European Parliament and the new Comission of the European Union
Eurocadres is politically independent and is representing almost 6 million of unionized Professional and Managerial Staff (P&MS). The share of highly educated professional people on the European labour market has been constantly increasing. Eurocadres is the representative of those people and wants to send a concrete message to the new Members of the European Parliament and to the new Commission. Eurocadres aims at strengthening European economic and social structures and promoting Europe of knowledge. Europe has to become the most competitive area in the world, based on knowledge and on high quality of working life. Eurocadres wants to have more, but better Europe.
Our concrete proposals are the following:
Stronger knowledge-based Europe
In the context of the mid-term review of the EU budget, the share of education and research resources must be raised considerably to support job creation, innovation and high-level life-long learning. High quality of and equal access to education are of capital importance. The share of Educational and Research Programmes should be at least one fifth of EUs budget (for the moment around one tenth).
Eurocadres is in favour of EU actions which facilitate Professional and Managerial Staff's access to knowledge, such as u-multirank for the comparison of universities and EU database on regulated professions. The further evaluation of regulated professions is useful: the great variation between the EU Member States with regard to regulations of professions may be an obstacle for free movement, but certain sensitive professions must be regulated. More European co-operation in this field is needed.
European Professional Card may be appropriate for certain professions and a useful tool to facilitate the free movement of Professionals for selected professional groups. However, it is not allowed that the Card itself will be an obstacle and it should not create a division between the holders of the Card and the non-holders on the labour market. Eurocadres is of the opinion that the further development of the Directive on the Recognition of Qualifications deserves more attention than the Card.
European transparency tools, such as credit systems and qualification levels, have to be more coherent and they need to be revised. Eurocadres supports the proposal on European Area of Skills and Qualifications.
Strengthen economy and employment
High–tech industries and services, digital internal market, promotion of entrepreneurship and start–ups, in particular, among Professional and Managerial Staff are key measures in view of developing the EUs Internal Market and job opportunities.
Eurocadres gives full backing to Europe 2020 Strategy, while it enhances many knowledge-intensive sectors. However, this Strategy and the European Semester, the process of EUs Economic Policy, are now overlapping. Streamlining and simplification of these processes is necessary.
More and better jobs also for P & MS may be created through open trade which is based on rules and sustainability. It is always better than unregulated and non-sustainable trade policy. Of particular interest for Eurocadres is the free movement of professionals as part of trade pacts. Eurocadres finds it useful to facilitate the free movement of professionals, providing that working conditions and high-level of qualifications are respected. However, it is necessary that all relevant organisations are consulted in the course of the trade negotiations, for instance, between the EU and the USA.
Closing down tax heavens and putting an end to the distorted tax competition will contribute to sound budgets and diminishing tax pressure on Professional and Managerial Staff, who often pay high income taxes.
Unemployment among the Professional and Managerial Staff has been rising due to the recent economic crisis. This concerns, in particular, young graduated people. Europe has to rethink its policy to find a better solution to fight the crisis. The extreme austerity measures have been proven inefficient, but modernisation of the economy and of the welfare state is inevitable.
The Youth Guarantee has been widely debated at the European level. Eurocadres supports active measures in view of combatting youth unemployment, but also young graduated people must have access to guarantee systems.
"The Commission has launched a proposed Directive on capital requirements, which contains an Article on protection of whistleblowers. Eurocadres welcomes this initiative, but protection of whistleblowers is highly relevant in many other sectors. It is necessary to reveal fraud and corruption and to protect the general interest. It should become an integrated part of CSR in multinational companies, global framework agreement and collective agreements. Even the EU-system itself needs protection of whistleblowers. Eurocadres expects the new European Parliament and Commission to support action to develop a framework for an adequate protection of whistleblowers in Europe."
Promote high level of working life quality
The revision of the Working Time Directive has to guarantee full protection for every employee and, in particular, for Professional and Managerial Staff (article 17 in the Directive). Excessive working loads do not raise productivity or employees’ capacity to be innovative and creative.
Eurocadres is worried about the proposal on protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets) against their unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure. It may create an impediment for both professional and geographical movement of workers. Legislation or agreements which create this kind of excessive obstacles for the carriers of P & MS should be forbidden. The Commission has to use its right of initiative to remove these obstacles.
Especially in the context of the common digital market, European legislation should not harm the rights of Professional and Managerial Staff to intellectual property rights. P & MS must keep the right to decide their own intellectual work and always receive the full financial compensation in each case.
Eurocadres endorses the idea of "European say on pay", the proposal to oblige companies to put its remuneration policy to a binding shareholder vote; including a maximum level for executive pay and explaining the ratio between average employees and executive pay. Hopefully, the new Parliament and the Council of Ministers will adopt this proposal as soon as possible.
The gender balance still needs to be strengthened and promoted in many areas of professional life, for instance in the boards of companies.
The child care is a key issue for a great number of Professionals, trying to find a balance between the requirements of carrier and family. Therefore, Eurocadres advocates for sufficient parental leave for both parents and further development of European legislation in this field.
The Commission has just issued the new occupational health and safety strategy, but it does not contain new concrete legislative actions. Therefore, it must be regarded only as the preliminary basis for further EU actions in this field and legislative initiatives should be issued by the Commission (e.g. Ergonomics Directive). Eurocadres is convinced that EU targets regarding working environment must focus on challenges of modern working life in the knowledge based labour markets; especially putting the emphasis in particular on mental health, such as work-related stress.
Do not restrict free movement of workers
Eurocadres does not accept the ideas to restrict free movement of workers or citizens in the area of the EU. On the contrary, free movement and brain-exchange of all workers and students must be further promoted, because this is one of the greatest achievements of the EU. Eurocadres supports the ongoing work to remove obstacles linked to taxation and claims stronger financing for the exchange programmes regarding students, teachers and researchers.
On the other hand, the directives on work related immigration from third countries have not resulted in a constructive added value. Examples are Researcher’s Directive or Directive on Intra-Company Transfers. EUs policy in this field should be thoroughly evaluated.
Dialogue, responsibility and progressive policies
Eurocadres once again underlines the importance of social dialogue in the context of building up a stronger Europe. Also the Social Partners have to be consulted regarding economic policy, Internal Market issues and work related immigration policy.
Eurocadres welcomes the adoption of the Directive on Companies’ Obligation to disclose information on policies as regards environmental matters, social and employee-related aspects and respect for human rights. However, it is already evident that this directive must be developed further: it needs standardisation enabling comparisons and reporting requirements should be more precise. In addition, the directive should contain an obligation for companies to report on their incomes and profits at the country level. P&MS should play a specific, influential role in EWC’s and in the implementation of Corporate Social Responsibility. Their specific competences can contribute to better social rules and practises in European legislation to the benefit of all employees.
In general, Eurocadres strongly supports progressive approaches in different policy areas, such as discrimination, climate policy or working life. Europe must take steps forward, not backwards.