Shifts in climate policy and digital transformation are triggering a number of opportunities for a positive future in Europe. However, the changes we are facing can sometimes be disruptive, and can even reinforce existing inequalities. This threatens societal peace and social cohesion, and impairs economic development. This is where the state needs to intervene to enable people and economic actors to manage and shape change. The European Union plays a key role for its Member States in this regard, but also globally. It sets standards that apply to the European Single Market but that also have an impact far beyond its borders (known as the Brussels effect).
Our work at the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation's EU office aims at striking a social, environmental and economic balance in the EU. This requires fair rules regarding competition, workers and consumer protection, digitalisation and tax policy. There is also need for adequate fiscal freedom and investment, as well as strong public services and effective social dialogue. The Economic and Monetary Union should continue to develop as a progressive, sovereign, sustainable, social market economy that protects and empowers people, places the focus squarely on good work, and actively involves citizens in policy-making.