Tackling inequalities in order to boost inclusive and sustainable economic growth in the EU
Question for oral answer O-000047/2016
to the Commission
Thomas Händel, on behalf of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs
There is a growing consensus within international organisations such as the OECD on the need to address the ongoing increase in income and wealth inequality, which is damaging inclusive and sustainable economic growth. Inequality in many OECD countries is at its highest-ever level, raising not only social and political concerns, but also economic ones (such as the negative impact on GDP growth, which measures the general level of economic activity).
Inequality has increased at differing rates in the Member States. Inequalities and their social consequences are complex and should be addressed by means of a holistic approach encompassing social and macroeconomic policies. This disequilibrium can hamper growth. In addition, the effects of the asymmetrical shocks resulting from the crisis may be felt at different stages, eventually affecting all countries. ‘The challenge, therefore, is to find appropriate policy packages that are both growth-friendly and that reduce inequality’, as stated in the OECD report ‘In it Together: Why Less Inequality Benefits All’.
Does the Commission believe that its Work Programme 2016, which identifies inequality as a major challenge, sufficiently addresses the decline in growth resulting from the growing inequalities among European citizens, as well as the need to enhance upward social convergence? If so, could you specify the policies and headings under which these are included in the programme?
What measures and specific policies will the Commission propose in its next Work Programme to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth by reducing inequality and enhancing upward social convergence?