Insights | EU Insight 5 March, 2021

08/03/2021

EU Insight 5 March, 2021

Brussels, 5 March 2021

 

EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK

The Commission wants to ensure that women and men in the EU get equal pay for equal work. A proposal published this week sets out pay transparency measures that companies will have to comply with, including pay information for job seekers, a right to know the pay levels for workers doing the same work, as well as gender pay gap reporting obligations. In addition, employers will not be allowed to ask job seekers for their pay history and will carry the burden of proof in case of contentions related to pay discrimination. The proposed Directive will now be sent to the Council and European Parliament for amendments.

 

EU PILLAR OF SOCIAL RIGHT ACTION PLAN SETS OUT AMBITIONS ON FUTURE JOBS

The European Commission adopted on Thursday its action plan on the European Pillar of Social Rights, which sets out its ambition for the EU social sphere and, in particular, on the jobs and skills ‘for the future’. As part of the plan, the Commission also presented its Recommendation on Effective Active Support to Employment following the COVID-19 crisis (EASE), which sets out three policies that EU countries should adopt to achieve “a job-rich recovery”: i) time-limited hiring incentives to help workers move from declining to expanding sectors; ii) training schemes to ensure workers’ skills match labour market demands; and iii) targeted support to the unemployed.

 

FISCAL POLICIES MUST REMAIN SUPPORTIVE, ESCAPE CLAUSE TO REMAIN UNTIL 2023

In a Communication outlining fiscal guidance to Member States, the European Commission said that supportive measures should be maintained. In the coming months, however, EU countries should move away from a “blanket approach” towards timely, targeted, and temporary measures. The Communication adds that funds under the Recovery and Resilience Facility should be utilised to maximise productive investments and build credible plans that prioritise recovery while ensuring debt sustainability. Finally, the general escape clause of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP), which allows the departure from the normal budgetary requirements, is set to remain until GDP returns to the pre-crisis levels.

 

COUNCIL APPROVES €330 BILLION COHESION LEGISLATIVE PACKAGE

Member States adopted the legal texts governing the 2021-2027 cohesion package, which amounts to some €330 billion (or nearly one third of the entire EU’s seven-year budget). The package sets out the following five policy objectives: i) a more competitive and smarter Europe, ii) a greener, low-carbon transitioning towards a net zero carbon economy and resilient Europe, iii) a more connected Europe, iv) a more social and inclusive Europe implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights, and v) a Europe closer to citizens. The European Parliament is expected to confirm the political agreement later this month, although allocations will be effective retroactively as of 1 January 2021.

 

FUTURE OF EUROPE CONCERENCE SOON TO BEGIN

Earlier this week, the European Parliament’s Conference of Presidents approved the joint declaration on the Future of Europe Conference’s foundation, calling for it to begin as soon as possible. The Conference will contribute significantly to building a Citizen’s Union, said the statement, which welcomes the joint declaration drafted and approved by the Council on Tuesday. The Conference is a citizens-focused, bottom-up exercise, aiming to give citizens their say through a multitude of events and debates that should span a period of 12-month. Under the current proposal, it should begin with a formal event on 9 May 2021 and would last until the spring of 2022.

 

COMING UP NEXT WEEK

  • 8-12 March: European Parliament Plenary session. On the agenda: Tackling economic impact of COVID-19, reforming EU policy framework to stop tax avoidance, Rule of Law mechanism.
  • 11 March: Informal video conference of justice ministers. On the agenda: Retention of electronic communication data, fundamental rights in the EU, European public prosecutor.
  • 12 March: Informal video conference of home affairs ministers. On the agenda: Resilience of critical entities, migration and asylum, EU-North Africa cooperation.

 

Karl Isaksson, Managing Partner Brussels, Kreab

____________________________________________________________________

Kreab • Tel: +32 2 737 6900 • karl.isaksson@kreab.comwww.kreab.com/brussels • Twitter: @KreabEU.

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