Europe needs strong social rights

28/01/2020

Helene Fritzon, Nicolas Schmit, Michael Roth and Yonnec Polet

Pictured left to right: Helene Fritzon MEP, Vice President of the S&D Group, Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Michael Roth, German Minister of State for Europe, and Yonnec Polet, PES Deputy Secretary General, at the PES GAC ministerial meeting.

Europe needs strong social policies that address citizens needs and put their wellbeing first, EU ministers from the PES political family said after a meeting in Brussels today.

The Commission’s communication on building a strong social Europe for a just transition is a step in the right direction and a victory for our political family - we have been calling for social fairness since the start of the financial crisis.  

Ministers from PES member parties met to discuss the plan with European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit, and committed to supporting his work to create real social change in Europe.

The ministers also discussed proposals for a Conference for the Future of Europe, agreeing that citizens should be at the centre of the debate. The Conference will be a demonstration of our progressive values and principles. Democracy, equality and justice will lead the process. 

The chair of the PES network of the General Affairs Council, German Minister of State for Europe, Michael Roth said:

“I warmly welcome the actions taken by the European Commission and Commissioner Nicolas Schmit to put social policy and social rights high on the political agenda. It is about time that Europe ensures that decent work and decent pay are the norm and not the exception. Making decent minimum wages a European objective and protecting workers, while respecting national specificities, is a clear goal for our political family. Social rights and social wellbeing are the cornerstone of our Union and must be safeguarded.”

He added:

“The Conference on the Future of Europe is created to give citizens the platform to make their voice heard. The Conference must be a celebration of democracy and inclusivity. No one should be left behind. From the capitals to the regions and villages. We want to listen to the youth, the employed, the unemployed and the pensioner. This will be a demonstration of what Europe can do for its citizens, with its citizens.”

The meeting was attended by:

  • Michael Roth, Chair, Minister of State for Europe, Germany
  • Nicolas Schmit, Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, European Commission
  • Tytti Tuppurainen, Minister for European Affairs and Ownership Steering, Finland
  • Vincenzo Amendola, Minister for European Affairs, Italy
  • Ana Paula Zacarias, Secretary of State for European Affairs, Portugal
  • Frantisek Ruzicka, State Secretary for European Affairs, Slovakia
  • Marco Aguiriano, State Secretary for European Affairs, Spain
  • Hans Dahlgren, Minister for EU Affairs, Sweden
  • Helene Fritzon MEP, Vice President of the S&D Group, European Parliament
  • Pedro Marques MEP, S&D and PES Coordinator for the implementation of our progressive Commission Work Programme
  • Yonnec Polet, PES Deputy Secretary General