Michael Roth: Long-awaited social agenda is essential for Europe


Michael Roth

The General Affairs Council is meeting today in Brussels to prepare the agenda of the December European Council.

Before the start of the Council, German Minister of State for Europe and chair of the PES GAC Ministers network, Michael Roth, said:

"After months of political pressure, we finally see social issues being discussed at the highest level. This is a very important step towards strengthening the social dimension in Europe. Our priority is to ensure decent social and working rights in Europe.

"Education is also very high on our political agenda. It is important to ensure lifelong learning and skill development for all.

"It is also essential that the social dimension is included in the deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union. The Commission's proposal on the issue is a welcome step to continue the discussion. The package offers a good platform for developing our own political positions. For us, the EMU is foremost a vehicle to promote social and economic convergence, and to enable Europe to tackle economic and financial shocks. It is essential that we find the right balance between economic freedoms and social rights, and that we strengthen democratic accountability."