PES EPSCO: employment and social impact must be central to the EU Recovery Plan

04/05/2020

Members of the EPSCO meeting

Members of the PES EPSCO meeting by videoconference 

The EU’s recovery strategy must fully reflect the employment and social challenges we face, this was the conclusion as PES EPSCO ministers met by videoconference this afternoon.

The EU Recovery Plan, and the European instrument for Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE) recently put forward by PES commissioners Paolo Gentiloni and Nicolas Schmit, were on the agenda as the employment and social affairs ministers convened ahead of an EU Council meeting tomorrow.

Meeting Chair and Portuguese Minister for Labour, Solidarity and Social Security, Ana Mendes Godinho, said:

“It is becoming very clear that the Coronavirus will have long lasting consequences. Tomorrow’s Council will discuss the EU’s Recovery Plan, and we need to make sure progressive voices are heard in that debate. For us it is clear: the Plan must fully reflect the social and employment challenges citizens face across Europe.

“The Recovery Plan has to put forward clear measures to mitigate the impact of coronavirus on Europeans’ lives. Alongside welcome progressive instruments like SURE, additional initiatives are needed to tackle the impact on work, on income, on family life and on the future prospects of our citizens.

“The PES has already prepared its own Recovery Plan, with a full chapter of social proposals. We are advocating for a Child Guarantee, minimum income schemes, a full European Unemployment reinsurance scheme, a European Anti-Poverty Strategy, all within the European Pillar of Social Rights and its Action Plan. Thanks to our progressive commissioners some of these are already on the table. We are pushing now to make them all a reality.” 

The COVID-19 crisis is a strong reminder of the need for increased solidarity, convergence and cohesion inside our societies, and between our Member States. The PES has called for the EU to take its lead from the spirt of collective action and solidarity that is thriving in communities across Europe.

The PES’s recovery plan - The PES Plan to Contain Covid-19 Shock and Recover, Saving Lives, Saving Jobs and Changing our Future – is the product of an intense exchange among PES networks, organisations and member parties. It sets out actions the EU must take to: support health systems, guaranteeing protection for professionals and investment after years of austerity; protect jobs and support the economy through continued SGP flexibility, an ambitious MFF and new financial instruments; combat poverty and social exclusion and, prevent European values being eroded.  

The meeting was attended by:

  • Ana Mendes Godinho, Chair Minister of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security, Portugal
  • Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, European Commission
  • Peter Hummelgaard Thomsen, Minister of Employment, Denmark
  • Rolf Schmachtenberg, State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Germany
  • Owen Bonnici, Minister of Education and Employment, Malta
  • Agnes Jongerius MEP, EMPL Coordinator, S&D group in the European Parliament, Chair of PES Social Europe Network
  • Luca Visentini, General Secretary, European Trade Union Confederation
  • Liina Carr, Confederal Secretary, European Trade Union Confederation
  • Yonnec Polet, Deputy Secretary General, PES