4th Oct 2022


Summer Days 2022: Towards a greener, digital, social Europe

  • Klaus Heeger: 'To be able to protect citizens and workers during the green transition, we need a strong social dimension in the EU Green Deal, based on the European Pillar of Social Rights and the Porto Declaration'
Listen to article

We are living through the first moments of a 'new normal' for the entire world and a new era for Europe.

The war in Ukraine — a war in Europe — marked the end of globalisation as we knew it, and signalled the beginning of a period of instability with unforeseeable consequences.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

In an already fragile environment for countries and citizens with repeated crises and unprecedented challenges, Europe is called upon to invest in resilient policies that will ensure its economic prosperity, energy autonomy, and the well-being of its people.

The ambitious plans of the European Commission towards greener and more digital policies have the potential to become a catalyst for the creation of a sustainable Europe that will be able to guarantee safety, financial stability, and high living standards.

Yet their success depends on whether these policies will be socially just. Because such deep reforms can only succeed if they are based on a broad consensus among all the members and groups of our society: they need to be supported by the whole community.

Through different keynote addresses, video messages, interactive workshops and follow-up plenary debates, this year's Summer Days with EUobserver as media partner helped us organise our thoughts and ideas to understand what is at stake and to assess the importance of keeping the social agenda at the core of the transition processes.

The debates made clear:

• Social fairness means multi-level, multi-sectoral, multinational cooperation, involvement and ownership. Turning environmental policies and digitalisation into a real enabler for sustainability requires cooperation between countries, markets, and sectors.

• Social fairness means the green/digital transitions must be worker-centred. The consequences of the transitions for social affairs, labour markets, and employment will be enormous and will span to almost all sectors of our economies. For this, we need strong mechanisms to ensure social dialogue and the involvement of communities throughout the whole transition process.

• The Next Generation EU, and, in particular the Recovery and Resilience Facility and the national recovery and resilience plans can create a strong added value and support social policies during the transitions. To ensure that, we must carefully assess the implementation of the plans, and the credibility and sustainability of the reforms.

• Sustainability requires proper skills and performing public services. Our education systems should be adapted to meet the requirements of current trends and prepare students and workers for the challenges of our times, while public services need to be financially supported to be able to guarantee citizens' fundamental rights, their well-being and the cohesion of our societies. To be able to protect citizens and workers during the green transition, we need a strong social dimension in the EU Green Deal, based on the European Pillar of Social Rights and the Porto Declaration.

Before designing and implementing ambitious plans, we must always map their possible benefits and risks for the society, for citizens, for workers.

To ensure this, workers and their representatives need to be given a central voice. The green-digital transformation must be a just transition. It must be done 'with' the workers and not 'to' them. Otherwise, it will not be sustainable.

For more information and details, see CESI's recent position.

Author bio

Klaus Heeger is secretary general of the European Confederation of Independent Trade Unions (CESI).

CESI is a confederation of 37 national trade union organisations and four European trade union organisations, with a total of more than five million individual members.


This article is sponsored by a third party. All opinions in this article reflect the views of the author and not of EUobserver.

Brussels unveils rules for Uber, Deliveroo, and other gig workers

The European Commission has unveiled a proposal aimed at improving employment conditions for gig workers, such as Uber drivers or Deliveroo riders. But industry players claim new rules would lead to the loss of thousands of jobs in the EU.


Gig economy workers need EU to end digital modern-day slavery

On Wednesday, the European Parliament is to adopt a report calling on the EU Commission to propose laws to better protect platform workers. The S&D want to ensure platform workers can be considered employees, with full social and worker's rights.


This 'Black Friday' is a turning point in corporate accountability

Much supply-chain abuse remains hidden from plain sight – not only to consumers but to the companies themselves, who have built increasingly longer, more complicated, and more opaque supply chains, which have become harder to monitor, control and account for.

EU, wake up! Don't leave West Balkans to Russia or China

Russia's attack on Ukraine and European values must remind us how important the enlargement process is, if properly conducted, as a motor for democracy, freedom, peace, the rule of law and prosperity, write six S&D MEPs.

Dialogue and action – Nordic cooperation and view on COP26

Nordic countries launched several initiatives at the COP26 climate conference which will have a real impact on the ground. Nordic and UK pension funds are to invest billions in clean energy and climate initiatives. Greenland has joined the Paris Agreement.

News in Brief

  1. Czechs warn joint-nationality citizens in Russia on mobilisation
  2. Greece to unveil proposal for capping EU gas prices
  3. Four dead, 29 missing, after dinghy found off Canary Islands
  4. Orbán: German €200bn shield is start of 'cannibalism in EU'
  5. Lithuania expels top Russian diplomat
  6. Poland insists on German WW2 reparations
  7. Russia halts gas supplies to Italy
  8. Bulgaria risks hung parliament after inconclusive vote

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. The European Association for Storage of EnergyRegister for the Energy Storage Global Conference, held in Brussels on 11-13 Oct.
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  3. European Committee of the RegionsThe 20th edition of EURegionsWeek is ready to take off. Save your spot in Brussels.
  4. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries

Latest News

  1. Last-minute legal changes to Bosnian election law stir controversy
  2. EU wants probe into alleged Nagorno-Karabakh war crimes
  3. EU officials were warned of risk over issuing financial warning
  4. EU debates national energy plans amid calls for more coordination
  5. What Modi and Putin’s ‘unbreakable friendship’ means for the EU
  6. EU leaders have until Friday for refugee resettlement pledges
  7. Cities and regions stand with citizens and SMEs ahead of difficult winter
  8. Editor's weekly digest: A week of leaks

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us