Macro-economic dialogue technical level: social partners meet Commission, ECB and Council

Issues on the agenda of the dialogue were: - Current economic conditions, economic outlook and appropriate policy responses - Labour market developments in Europe Presentations were given by the European Commission and European Central Bank representatives. Due to the rules applying to the discussions we can not publish what is said by participants at this meeting. The macro-economic dialogue considers the [economic forecasts->http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/eu/forecasts/2013_spring_forecast_en.htm] of the Commission, of the ECB as well as those of the social partners. The group also considers the economic policies such as how the EU improves its competitiveness, creates jobs and how to stimulate investment. Structural labour market reform and fiscal consolidation continue to be on the Commission’s agenda, albeit at an adjusted pace. The ETUC encourages [the launch of a European recovery plan->http://www.etuc.org/a/11671] and challenges the continued emphasis on labour market reform, and is instead promoting public investment as a means to accelerate growth. Employer organisations including [BusinessEurope->http://www.businesseurope.eu/DocShareNoFrame/docs/5/BAEDAFMAMHBADFHHJLDMKFMOPDW69DWYB19LTE4Q/UNICE/docs/DLS/2013-01105-E.pdf] continue to promote structural reform of the labour market. This does not address the downward pressure on wages, the increase in precarious work and working poor, with detrimental effects on social cohesion including growing poverty and social inequalities, according to reports of DG Employment. [CEEP->http://www.ceep.eu/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=109&Itemid-70], the public service employers group stresses the macro-economic policy needs to be balanced. Both employer and labour organisations agree that a strengthening of the [European Union’s investment plan to stimulate growth and employment creation->http://ceep.eu/images/stories/pdf/publications/letterinvestvanrompuy.pdf] is called for in order to stimulate growth and create employment. The most pressing issues for the European labour market are youth unemployment, and rising long-term unemployment, which in turn leads to discouraged workers leaving the workforce. These developments pose the risk of transforming cyclical unemployment into structural unemployment. Along with an increase of [precarious employment->art9824] and working poor this puts tremendous strain on European societies, derailing social cohesion and increasing the risk of social unrest as is also noted in DG Employment notes presented in the context of the Annual Growth Survey. As small and medium size enterprises have not sent workers home during times of recession, learning from previous experience how difficult it is to get skilled labour back, modest growth will not have a strong influence on employment. Growth needs to accelerate with a longer period of sustained growth contributing to more jobs. Investment will be key. The [European Commission approach->http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=822&langId=en] is to promote better anticipation of future skills needs, development of better matching between skills and labour market needs, and bridging the gap between the worlds of education and work. However, the [OECD adult skill test->http://skills.oecd.org/documents/OECD_Skills_Outlook_2013.pdf] indicates that over-qualification is a great issue, resonating with the [ETUC call->http://www.etuc.org/a/11300] for more and better jobs. The 29th Meeting of the Macro-economic Dialogue at Technical Level on 23 October 2013 brought together representatives of DG ECFIN, DG EMCO, and the ECB, met with representatives of the social partners. On part of employer organisations were present BUSINESSEUROPE, UEAPME and CEEP On trade union side they were joined by a delegation of the ETUC including representatives of the ETUI, DGB, FGTB and EPSU. Richard Pond and Jan Willem Goudriaan participated for EPSU in the ETUC delegation. A previous report is available at: http://www.epsu.org/a/9066