The Annual Growth Survey 2015: Investment in Education is a European priority albeit the pursuit of fiscal consolidation


The Annual Growth Survey 2015, published on 28 November, outlines the main priorities of the new European Commission's jobs and growth agenda. The Annual Growth Survey is a communication from the European Commission to the member states which kicks off the annual cycle of economic governance, the European Semester, and sets priorities for education and training. The European Commission acknowledges that the recovery of the European economy still lags behind, and the small progresses foreseen soon vanished in the second half of 2014. As a way out of the crisis, the 2015 Annual Growth Survey of the European Commission proposes to follow an integrated approach to economic and social policy for 2015 built on three main pillars: boost investments, accelerate structural reforms and pursue fiscal stability.

'The new Junker Commission had the chance to trigger a fresh start for Europe, and to reverse the downward trend of cuts and low investments in education across Europe. The Commission 315€ Investment plan for Europe launched two days ago could be a good step in this direction. However, these resources are still insufficient and the 2015 Annual Growth Survey's call for a boost to investment in education and research under the constraint of fiscal consolidation is simply out of reality', commented Martin Rømer, ETUCE European Director.

Despite the call to pursue growth-enhancing investment in education, the Annual Growth Survey 2015 specifies that investments should be mobilised while securing long term control over public deficit and debt levels, in other words, without creating new debt. It is hard to believe that Member States could find the financial public resources to publicly fund education in the frame of the continuous pressure for fiscal stability and consolidation. ETUCE has long called the European Commission and the European Council to exclude investment in education from the constraints of the Stability Pact as the only way to increase potential economic growth in Europe and to reduce social inequalities.

Early this week, the representatives of the 131 teacher trade unions member of ETUCE who gathered in Vienna to discuss about 'The future of the teaching profession' sent a message to the European Commission out loud: 'The neoliberal policies implemented by some governments in Europe with a view to dealing with the economic crisis have had a serious impact on public services and education. Due to these policies and the European Fiscal Pact pursued by the EU, the Troika and some EU member states, austerity measures and budget cuts continue to be imposed on the people of Europe, leading to ever more drastic effects on working conditions and on granting quality public education for all. A change of policy is needed. Europe has to move ahead from austerity policy which is putting increasing pressure on investment and social inequality. Effective social dialogue for structural reforms in education is essential'.

Know more on the ETUCE activities on the impact of the Economic Governance on Education

Know more on the ETUC priorities for the 2015 Annual Growth Survey

Download the European Commission Annual Growth Survey 2015