The year in short: an urgent call for overcoming black and white thinking

2017 has been an important year on multiple fronts. With the ongoing Brexit negotiations, several major elections and a new wave of authoritarianism in the world, Europe debated and still debates on how to get ready for future challenges in new circumstances. CEC European Managers has therefore published “Managers in Europe: vision, roles & values” as a contribution towards a more sustainable and inclusive future to which managers actively committed to. The foundational document was presented during a meeting with EESC President George Dassis in April.

More concretely, CEC has participated to several consultations: on access to social protection, the written statement directiveEU company lawwhistleblower protection and the European Pillar of Social Rights.  In its response to the reflection paper on the social dimension of Europe, issued by the European Commission, CEC calls for strengthening social dialogue and highlights the need for smart, adapted and inclusive social security and education for all citizens, while respecting national differences.

To achieve social progress, social protection alone is not enough. Changing life and work patterns, modern values and a diverse workforce also require adapting how we conceive leadership: connected leaders put humans and their ideas in the centre of attention, while creating an encouraging working environment through adapted and reflective workplace practices. CEC has published its “leadership of the future” dossier containing practical advice, a theoretical discussion of the topic, the detailed results of the leadership survey among 1400 managers (in the framework of the European Managers’ Panel) and a case study on leadership and the cultural sector.

If Europe is to become world leader in innovation, social progress and sustainable growth, we need to overcome black and white thinking and be able to make compromises. On the one hand, we will not be able to achieve social progress without economically stable framework conditions and entrepreneurial liberty. On the other hand, without a healthy and socially protected workforce, we risk to create long-lasting social problems endangering future economic growth and the sustainability of welfare systems. CEC highlighted this reasoning during the Tripartite Social Summit in October, pointing out that the European Pillar of Social rights could become the right tool to improve social conditions.

The recipe of Europe’s success is the social market economy with a strong middle class and quality education. Getting ready for the future means to use the new tools we have to modernise our economic and political system to the benefit of citizens. The digital revolution bears enormous opportunities, if we manage to align its technologies to economic, social and environmental objectives. All actors, including social partners, national governments, EU institutions and civil society organisations will need to work together to find comprehensive and inclusive solutions for the future we deserve.