PES Ministers express concerns at slow rate of social progress
The European Commission’s annual analysis of the socio-economic situation in the EU, the ‘Annual Growth Survey’ published on 26 of November has highlighted that although the overall situation in Europe is slowly improving, this moderate recovery is not yet felt in all countries. Meeting on the 6th of December, PES Ministers for Employment and Social Affairs exchanged views on this key aspect of the European Semester.
The socialist family has for long demanded that the European Semester focuses more on growth friendly objectives such as relaunching investment, job creation, social investment and fair taxation so that it can correctly identify problems and improve the lives of Europeans.
Minister Nicolas Schmit, chairing the meeting, stated:
« We see a gradual shift in the AGS, with a stronger focus on employment and social issues that now better reflects the difficult realities young people and long-term unemployed face. Yet much remains to be done, and the right kind of measures must be taken for an upwards convergence in the interest of European citizens. »
Minister Nicolas Schmit, added:
“It is about time to open the debate on the type of reforms we want to see implemented, to move away for those that compete on the price of labour and dismantle the social acquis to progressive reforms that put Europe back on track of convergence and a long-term, sustainable, fair growth that benefits all.”
The PES is working to implement an alternative, a progressive vision of reforms, as crystalized in the report of the PES Working Group on Progressive Reforms [which was supported by a PES Presidency declaration]. Under the chairmanship of MEP Maria Joao Rodrigues, the working group has outlined a progressive programme of reforms that focuses on boosting Europe’s growth capacity and quality job creation; improving the economic, environmental and social sustainability of Europe's development; and reducing social inequalities, fighting poverty and increasing solidarity.
Nicolas Schmit, Minister for Labour, Employment, Social and Solidarity Economy, Chairperson, Luxembourg
Rudolf Hundstorfer, Minister Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection, Austria
Mirando Mrsić Minister of Labour and Pension System, Croatia
José António Vieira da Silva, Minister of Labour, Solidarity, and Social Security, Portugal
Anja Kopač Mrak, Minister of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Slovenia
Ylva Johansson, Minister for Employment, Sweden
Åsa Regnér, Minister for Children, the Elderly and Gender Equality, Sweden
Maria Joao Rodrigues, S&D Vice-President
Jutta Steinruck, S&D EMPL Coordinator