A real and substantial social Europe is absolutely and urgently needed.

Triangle, alongside ETUC general secretary Luca Visentini, set out the trade union view on the future of Europe ahead of May's elections.

Facing a rise in anti-EU populism and nationalism, he said the elections will be the most important ever and warned the future of the European project is at stake in the following years.

The reasons for current political trends are clear but so are the solutions, the IndustriAll Europe general secretary told EU, business and civil society leaders. He said:

"First of all, by many workers the single market is seen as an engine for growth but also mainly as an economic and financial driven project where indeed companies and businesses can relocate and decide where to produce all over Europe but in a context where social conditions and salaries are put into competition with each other. 

"So indeed the completion, the integration of the single market was not linked to an upward social convergence in Europe. A real and substantial social Europe is absolutely and urgently needed.

"Minimum salaries in a number of member states - let's take Bulgaria as an example - are still around €300 gross today and this after 12 years of EU membership. The consequence for this country is massive emigration of skilled Bulgarian employees and this is for us not a Europe that can create a future because, in that sense, Europe becomes more and more unequal. 

"So we need to work on a social upward convergence if we want to reconnect again with the millions of citizens and workers who feel that Europe is more and more as threat and not as an opportunity."

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