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Corruption, poverty, and dictatorships are commonly accepted as causes of migration and flight. However, such a perspective blurs the vision of global contexts: climate crisis and global inequality are rarely identified to be the cause. Hence, the Austrian Chamber of Labour, in cooperation with trade unions and NGOs, has launched the “The right to stay” Initiative, which will start with a wide-ranged event series to be held from 7 to 11 June 2021.

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By now, the majority of Member States have submitted their national plans, disclosing their intentions as to how they want to invest the monies from the EU’s Recovery Fund. Itt is not only Austria having a lot of catching up to do when it comes to the recovery’s social dimension. Hence, AK EUROPA, together with 20 other organisations is calling upon EU Finance Ministers to adopt a socially just and environmentally sustainable course out of the crisis. Everybody will be able to sign the petition until 14 June 2021.

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The Social Summit in Porto took place on 7th May 2021.

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On May 3rd, 2021, ahead of the EU Social Summit, AK EUROPA, the ÖGB Europabüro and the European Trade Union Confederation jointly hosted the online event “Fair wages in the EU - What does the EU Social Summit promise?”. Taking part in the debate were AK President Renate Anderl, ÖGB President Wolfgang Katzian as well as Esther Lynch (ETUC) and MEP Dennis Radtke.

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On 5th May 2021, the Commission presented its updated Industrial Strategy. The strategy not only affirms the current priorities, which were stipulated the year before, but also specifies new proposals to support SMEs. Together with the Industrial Strategy, the Commission has presented a proposal for a regulation on subsidies for third-countries, which distort the Internal Market.

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After Member States so far have only submitted proposals of their national recovery and resilience plans to Brussels, Portugal was the first country to officially submit its plan on 22 April 2021. The current EU Presidency not only leads the way in terms of speed, but also with regard to content and the will to engage in discussions.

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The Commission has presented a regulatory proposal, which, above all, shall enable travel within the EU. The idea behind it is to take a step towards “normality” before the summer.

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In December 2020, the EU institutions agreed on a 750 billion euros stimulus package to finance the recovery after the Covid-19 crisis. Now the question has arisen, which projects are to be funded with this money. Together with 15 other organisations, AK EUROPA is now urging the EU Finance Ministers: Europe must seize this chance to build a bridge to a new economy that is sustainable, resilient, and guarantees better living standards for everyone!

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In autumn 2015, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were presented as a transformative vision of unprecedented scope and significance. However, so far, the interim balance has been rather sobering. If the envisaged goals are to be reached by 2030, the way out of the Coronavirus crisis has to be totally focused on the sustainable development of wealth and wellbeing.

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The last weeks of 2020 saw agreements on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), the recovery plan “Next Generation EU” as well as a post-Brexit deal. The new year brings a change of Presidency; it is now up to Portugal to set out in new directions. In particular the stronger social focus of her Presidency programme is to be welcomed.