Avoiding austerity, spending public money for public good, creating green and decent jobs in Europe | Plenary 2

The green transition is an opportunity for our societies to improve current jobs and working conditions. Investing in sectors for sustainability has the potential to create millions of jobs. What are these jobs going to look like? We want good working conditions for everyone, to respect work-life balance, to be up to health and safety standards, to respect the workers and the planet. Wages should be high and should allow for a decent standard of living. Jobs should be accessible for all in our societies and leave no one behind. Investing in training for workers is key for the transition, to create safer work places, happier workers.

But what is the role of the state in such a transition, and what the role of private capital?

We have big ambitions for how to transform our societies and our economics to put people and planet at the centre. Governments spend billions on supporting corporations while covering their risks, but underinvest in what is needed to protect the people and the environment. Let us put money to work in a positive manner and invest in the things that are important to us all: good jobs, green jobs, climate protection, and basic services like healthcare, childcare, education, pensions - everything we need to live a life of dignity. Let’s bind corporations to these principles and ensure that every euro from the public purse does not make the rich richer but serves the workers and the planet. And let's figure out how to put finance at the service of real economy, and make the EU's self-defeating model of austerity a bad model of the past.

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Bas Eickhout
Member of the European Parliament, Greens/EFA Group, The Netherlands

Daniela Gabor
Professor of Economics and Macro-Finance at the University of the West of England, Bristol

Sven Giegold
State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for Economy and Climate Protection, Germany

Esther Lynch
General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation

Nacho Álvarez Peralta
Secretary of State for Social Rights (Ministry of Social Rights and Agenda 2030), Spain

Olivier De Schutter
UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights

Mélanie Vogel
Co-chair of the European Green Party