German chancellor Angela Merkel’s party promises long-overdue investments in its election manifesto, but a plan for attracting high-skilled migrants is unconvincing.
The Christian Democrats, who are projected to win the most votes in September’s election, pledge to sustain recent increases in spending on digitalization and infrastructure and raise spending on research and development from 3 to 3.5 percent of the economy.
German public investment has languished for years as the Christian Democrats prioritized deficit reduction. The Dutch and Swedes invest twice as much in everything from electricity grids to roads. Read more
The Dutch election campaign is overshadowed by the rise of nationalist party leader Geert Wilders and his controversial views on the European Union and Islam.
But don’t overlook what could be one of the stickiest point in coalition talks after the election in March: the liberalization of the labor market.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s liberals, on the right, and the liberal Democrats, in the center, are both likely to be part of the next government. Both want to free up the labor market, but polls suggest that many of their voters agree with the left that liberalization has already gone too far. Read more
Asscher Unites Dutch Left Against Further Labor Reforms
France announced on Wednesday it would tap into its strategic oil reserves to make up for shortages caused by strikes at oil depots and refineries.
Some train and metro workers have joined the action to protest proposed changes in the labor code.
Earlier this month, President François Hollande’s Socialist Party government introduced reforms that would make it easier for firm to lay off workers and give small companies more flexibility to negotiate wages and conditions directly with their employees.
Most unions, many of which are affiliated with the Socialist Party, have endorsed the reforms, which were watered down in order to win their support.
But the General Confederation of Labor (CGT) and Workers’ Force (FO), the country’s first and third largest federations, are divided. Read more
Parliaments Force Rethink of Workers Directive Reform
Ten Central and Eastern European countries plus Denmark have forced the European Commission to reconsider reforms that would raise wages for workers from those nations if they are employed abroad.
The three Baltic states, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia all object to changes in the so-called Posted Workers Directive that would make their workers less competitive.
With the support of Denmark, they meet the eleven-country threshold needed to trigger a “yellow card” procedure. This was introduced in the 2009 Lisbon Treaty to give national parliaments the power to delay European legislation.
The commission is under no obligation to withdraw its proposal, however, which enjoy broad support.
Valentin Kreilinger, a research fellow at the Jacques Delors Institut in Berlin, tells EurActiv that a “yellow card” has only been invoked twice before. Once the commission withdrew its proposal; the other time it stayed the course. Read more