PES EPSCO ministers’ joint declaration: Social Action Plan must spearhead shift to a more social, more sustainable, EU

22/02/2021 - Joint declaration by PES ministers backs an ambitious EU Social Action Plan

PES EPSCO meeting

PES EPSCO meeting today by videoconference

It is time to put the Pillar of Social Rights fully into action to address the coronavirus crisis, give impetus to the European recovery and improve wellbeing for all, ministers from Portugal, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta and Sweden agreed today.

Meeting by videoconference to coordinate ahead of today’s informal EPSCO Council, PES employment and social affairs ministers adopted a joint declaration - An Ambitious Social Action Plan - setting out their common aspirations for the future of social rights.

At the meeting, ministers exchanged with European Commissioner Nicolas Schmit on the new Action Plan which will be published next month.

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

“Seeing the long-lasting effects of the pandemic on our citizens, our workers and families, it is more important than ever to ensure that recovery will be truly social, and leaving no one behind. It is fundamental to deliver on the social agenda, having the European Pillar of Social Rights as our compass. Moving from strategy to action, with clear targets we can show citizens that they can trust and count on the EU.

 “The upcoming Social Action Plan will define the implementation of the Pillar. We are determined to make sure the EU seizes this opportunity and takes a leap forward for an inclusive and social Europe. This is what we are focused on as we look ahead to the Porto Summit.

“I commend the efforts of progressive Commissioner Nicolas Schmit. He is working to realise an ambitious Action Plan. The whole PES family is behind this goal and the Porto Summit”.

The ministerial declaration calls for the Pillar to become the overarching instrument for the EU’s social policy of the next decade. Through it, the EU can guarantee fair and decent work, build a future for young people, address gender inequality, safeguard inclusion, strengthen public services and combat unemployment.

Also on the agenda for the meeting was the Directive on adequate Minimum Wages in the EU. PES ministers share the objective to ensure adequate minimum wages across the EU and setting the clear objective that every worker in the EU - women and men - must have a decent standard of living.

The meeting also discussed the Child Guarantee, an important priority for the PES political family which aims to eliminate child poverty and tackle inequality in access to housing, healthcare, nutrition, childcare and education for vulnerable children. The meeting commended the S&D Group in the European Parliament for their work on this through the ESF+.

The meeting was attended by:

  • Ana Mendes Godinho, meeting Chair and Minister of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security, Portugal
  • Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, European Commission
  • Karine Lalieux, Minister of Pensions and Social Integration, Belgium
  • Jana Maláčová, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Czech Republic
  • Peter Hummelgaard, Minister of Employment, Denmark
  • Tuula Haatainen, Minister of Employment, Finland
  • Rolf Schmachtenberg, State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Germany
  • Andrea Orlando, Minister of Labour and Social Protection, Italy
  • Romain Schneider, Minister of Social Security, Luxemburg
  • Carmelo Abela, Minister for Sustainable Development, Implementation of the Electoral Manifesto and Social Dialogue, Malta
  • Miguel Cabrita, State Secretary of Employment, Vocational Training, Portugal
  • Rasmus Cruce Naeyé, State Secretary Ministry of Labour, Sweden
  • Helene Fritzon, PES Vice President, Member of the European Parliament, Head of delegation, Vice-president of the S&D Group in the EP
  • Pedro Marques, Member of the European Parliament, Vice-president of the S&D Group in the EP, PES-S&D Coordinator on the implementation of the progressive Commission work programme
  • Agnes Jongerius, EMPL Coordinator, S&D Group in the European Parliament, Chair of PES Social Europe Network
  • Luca Visentini, General Secretary, ETUC
  • Yonnec Polet, Deputy Secretary General, PES