Today, the European Commission revealed its proposal to create a EUR 750 billion recovery fund, called Next Generation EU. On top of a revamped long-term EU budget of EUR 1.1 trillion, if approved, and adding the other instruments and programs already launched, this would bring the European recovery effort to a total of EUR 2.4 trillion.
The European Green Deal plays a central role in the Commission proposals. The European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW) welcomes the focus on the renovation of buildings in the recovery strategy.
EFBWW President, Johan Lindholm, underlines the important, positive impact of investments in the construction industry on jobs and on the economy: “the construction industry is a labour intensive industry. And investments in construction have a multiplier effect because they create an extra demand for services and goods such as building materials. Large construction programs have always been part of successful strategies to get out of a recession. The Renovation wave should start as soon as possible. We are ready.”
These ambitions demand large scale funding. That is why the EFBWW urges the Commission to be more transparent on how the “Renovation wave” and the other infrastructure projects will be financed.
Tom Deleu, EFBWW general secretary, insists that public funding should not only be spent in a green way, but also in a social way: “Public tendering and public procurement should promote the creation of good, stable and direct jobs. Companies applying for public contracts should respect collective bargaining with trade unions. This should be a formal criterion in the bidding process. The COVID-19 crisis has exposed how vulnerable posted and migrant workers really are. The EFBWW expects new actions at European level to end social dumping and finally guarantee equal treatment of all workers.
The EFBWW Executive Committee adopted proposals in that sense”.
The EFBWW welcomes the ambitions of the Commission and will continue to support a European Green Deal towards a just transition. However, to realize a just transition it is crucial that trade unions be actively involved in the whole process and that sectoral social dialogue can be the driver to guarantee that the transition will be social and sustainable.