SEN debate plans to save jobs, strengthen health services and revitalise EU economies

15/04/2020

Members of the Social Europe Network meeting by videoconference today

Members of the Social Europe Network meeting by videoconference today

Socialists and democrats are working to bring Europe’s health services, employment and economies back to full strength, this was the focus of today’s PES Social Europe Network (SEN) videoconference.

MEPs, representatives from PES member parties and organisations, and trade unionists convened to discuss policy proposals in two areas: containing the COVID-19 shock and promoting recovery; and, achieving affordable and quality healthcare for all.

The SEN Chair, Agnes Jongerius MEP, said:

“The effects of this crisis will be long lasting - our societies after COVID will not be the same. As socialists and democrats we are anticipating this change, and putting forward measure to shape it.

“Our priority is to address the health, social and economic dimension of this crisis and to shape a new future. This requires short- and long-term measures which benefit all of the EU. We cannot afford to leave people, regions or member states behind.

“We have always been the promoters of public services, and we are again fighting to support our health services and to keep our welfare states and economies afloat. But we need to prepare the ground for the post-emergency phase too, which will not simply be focused on economic recovery but how we can achieve systemic change, so societies’ needs are better met.

“That is why progressives have been working tirelessly to put together policy, drawing on work already undertaken by the PES Financial and Economic Network and meetings of PES leaders and Prime Ministers. Together we will make sure the European instrument for temporary support to mitigate unemployment risks in an emergency (SURE) proposed by Commissioners Paolo Gentiloni and Nicolas Schmit will be available quickly to workers, and we urge the Commission to come forward with a permanent European Unemployment Reinsurance Scheme quickly. Furthermore we continue demanding significant additional funding for recovery. We are working to revitalise the EU’s economies and health services.”

The Social Europe Network discussed a PES plan to contain the COVID-19 shock and recover. To save lives, jobs and change our future, member states must: boost protections for health workers; jointly procure medical equipment; invest in research; and, commit to a properly resourced health sector in perpetuity, for the good of society. The report welcomes the push by progressive EU Commissioners to achieve SURE, which must be followed up by a European Unemployment Reinsurance Scheme, strengthened collective bargaining, and large-scale training policies where necessary.

Network participants also had a first discussion on the PES paper: Affordable and quality healthcare for all.

PSE President Sergei Stanishev said:

“The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the fundamental role of public healthcare systems. As social democrats, and looking beyond the crisis, we are standing up for our principles: healthcare needs to be accessible, affordable and high quality. To deliver this, we must strengthen our public healthcare institutions, improve working conditions for doctors, nurses and caregivers, and ensure that health policies are taken for the wellbeing of all citizens.”

The meeting was attended by:

  • Agnes Jongerius, Chair of the PES Social Europe Network, Member of the European Parliament, PVDA, the Netherlands

  • Heléne Fritzon, Member of the European Parliament, PES Vice-President, S&D Vice-President, SAP Sweden
  • Pedro Marques, Member of the European Parliament, PS Portugal, and PES Coordinator for the implementation of our progressive Commission Work Programme
  • Brando Benifei, Member of the European Parliament, PD Italy
  • Milan Brglez, Member of the European Parliament, SD Slovenia
  • Miriam Dalli, Member of the European Parliament, LP Malta
  • Estrella Dura Ferrandis, Member of the European Parliament, PSOE Spain
  • Alicia Homs, Member of the European Parliament, President of Yes, PSOE Spain
  • Margarida Marques, Member of the European Parliament, PS Portugal
  • Pedro Silva Pereira, Member of the European Parliament, PS Portugal

  • Maria João Rodrigues, President, FEPS
  • László Andor, Secretary General, FEPS
  • Jos Bertrand, President, ESO
  • Friso Ages, Vice President, YES

  • Kostas Bargiotas, Movement for Change, Greece
  • Maj Jensen Christensen, Secretary General SD in the EP, SD Denmark
  • Christophe Clergeau, National Secretary for Europe, PS France
  • Ioannis Dalmas, Movement for Change, Greece
  • Emanuele Felice, PD Italy
  • Daragh Hamilton, LP Ireland
  • Cecilie Lerche Møller Hansen, SD Denmark
  • Jannis Jurgens, SPD Germany
  • Michaela Kauer, SPÖ Austria
  • Filippos Sachinidis, Movement for Change, Greece
  • Cedric Schmidtke, PS Belgium
  • Christophe Soil, PS Belgium
  • Maria Vasileiadou, EDEK Cyprus

  • Elke Fener, Member of the PES Women Executive Board, SPD Germany
  • Olga Fotinou, Political Adviser to PES Group in the Committee of the Regions
  • Claudia Frunzete, Adviser, International Secretariat, PSD Romania
  • Marina Monaco, Advisor, ETUC
  • Euléane Omez, Project Officer, FEPS
  • Lorenzo Repetti, Advisor, ETUC
  • Conny Reuter, Global Coordinator, Progressive Alliance

  • Yonnec Polet, Deputy Secretary General, PES
  • Constantin Kourkoulas, Head of EU Policy Unit, PES