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Intergenerational Justice in Austerity Times


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Over the last decade, the gap between the old and the young in Europe has been growing due to worsening social and economic conditions. The presentation lays down a set of proposal both at the EU and at the national level to reverse the trend.

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Intergenerational Justice in Austerity Times

  1. 1. Intergenerational Justice Solution Paths in Austerity Times Panagiotis Vlachos | 26.11.2016
  2. 2. Facts A dimension of social justice. Others include poverty prevention, equitable education, access to labor market, social cohesion and lack of discrimination, access to health services. ● Seven years after the global economic crisis in the vast majority of EU states - with a few exceptions like Czech Republic, Germany, Luxembourg, the UK, and Poland –social cohesion is in a worse state. ● ALERT: the gap between the generations has widened considerably since the crisis began. In most countries pensions and benefits for older people did not shrink as much as incomes for the younger population during the crisis, if at all. ● Policy Path: abandon austerity - boost investment - inclusive growth - social cohesion
  3. 3. Solution Paths/EU level ➔ from blanket austerity to Six Pack Austerity to ECB expansionary policy. ➔ change of mind: stronger domestic demand based on faster wage increases in high-surplus countries and greater investment throughout the Union ➔ public debt consolidation, lower interest rate payments, partial write-off ➔ more flexibility in the Stability Pact ➔ extensive and inclusive investment plan - but for all ➔ public investment plans (digital, 4th industrial revolution, networks, transportation, environment)
  4. 4. ● Youth employment initiative, Youth guarantee and better implementation mechanisms at the national level to address the available skills - existing Address Jobs mismatch (cross-border function) ● Basic universal income and minimum wage to be combined with national social safety nets ● Reducing bureaucracy regarding the mutual recognition of qualifications and creating easier ways to transfer social security entitlements to another country to... ● Increase labor mobility ● More spending on RnD from the EU budget ● Active role of the European Ombudsman ● Certain clause in the next European Constitution
  5. 5. Solution paths/national level Institutional interventions Critics: We should leave it to policy makers, not to legislators. No generation has the right to bind the future of the next ones through constitutional clauses ● constitutional clause for future generations (general clauses that acknowledge responsibility for future generations, environmental clauses, fiscal clauses - golden rule, eg. Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania) ● parliamentary ombudsman that oversees whether legislation or policies favour ● special ombudsman for intergenerational equity/intergenerational solidarity ● good governance framework, evidence-based legislation & preliminary control of all legislation by the Ministries, the Parliament and the Ombudsman ● voting rights - lower age limit (e.g. Greece) ● participation quota in public office and party ballots
  6. 6. b. Policy interventions - Investment in high-quality early-childhood education to ensure equal opportunities - provision of daycare and preschool facilities as well as generous parental-leave schemes (Sweden) - separation of spouses’ income and individual taxation - sustainability of pension systems - incentives to stay longer in working life in order to alleviate the burden from the younger ones (Finland and Denmark, 3-pilllar system) - increase/boost investment in RnD (Finland, Sweden, and Denmark->3% of GDP) - promote environmental sustainability with higher share of renewable energy sources, lower greenhouse gas emissions - subsidies in social security contributions for the young - investment incentives for businesses that employ young and jobless
  7. 7. C. Political Challenge: ‘WE, THE PRECARIAT” ➔ Address the precariat as a ‘class-in-itself’ and unaware of its shared characteristics. It is in no way tied to the political left but vulnerable to the extreme right. Unify the aspirations and the claims of the precariat under a new-class umbrella, that will question the existing institutional and economic norms without being surrendered to the sirens of the populist or extreme right. ➔ Open institutions and open parties. Incorporate digital world with grass roots and collective actions on single issues. Promote dialogue and continuous debate with all societal and economic actors. Lead by example in the realm of transparency. Youth Quota. Reform party financing rules and abolish many of the privileges of the MPs.