SOSTE’s Secretary General Vertti Kiukas is a member of European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). The EESC is a consultative body that gives representatives of Europe’s socio-occupational interest groups and others a formal platform to express their points of view on EU issues. Its opinions are addressed to the Council, the European Commission and the European Parliament. It thus has a key role to play in the Union’s decision-making process (see more: EESC website).
In March 25th 2021 EESC had a debate with Valdis Dombrovskis, the Executive Vice-President of the European Commission about the “Economy that Works for People”, a key policy theme of the Commission. Vertti Kiukas had the floor in the debate. He emphasized the role of Finnish initiative of Economy of Wellbeing in bringing about the European economy that works for all people.
SOSTE’s Secretary General Vertti Kiukas:
“The initiative of the European Commission to build an Economy that Works for People is very important. We in Finland have pushed for the idea of an Economy of Wellbeing for many years and on the EU level during and since the Finnish presidency. The key messages were the following:
- People’s wellbeing and good economic performance are interdependent and mutually reinforcing
- Investment in social and health services, education and health promotion pays off as a better wellbeing and productivity outcomes.
- A horizontal approach based on cross-sectoral collaboration between different policy areas is needed to bring about the effective and comprehensive wellbeing policy in the EU.
When European Commission is moving towards concrete proposals concerning the Economy that Works for People, these three conclusions adopted by the Council, are in the very core. After the Covid-19-pandemic social investments for the future are ever more vital both in the short-term and in the long-term. The opportunities to make such social investments created by the Recovery and Resilience Facility should be grasped. Also, the Semester process should be reconstructed to meet these ideas of Wellbeing Economy and to promote European wellbeing economy and wellbeing of the people comprehensively in the future.
After the Covid-19-pandemic social investments are indispensable. Now we see boldness and initiative across the Atlantic, but timidity and caution in Europe. The opportunities of the Recovery and Resilience Facility to make social investments in health, education and well-being created should be grasped. We cannot allow Europe to watch in the sidelines when United States, Japan and China act decisively.
The vision of a wellbeing economy can be described in one sentence: ”Working together to build a good life for everyone”. I hope this vision will be the vision of the European Union for Europe.”