PES delegation meets Juncker to press for Social Action Plan
Representatives of the Party of European Socialists today met Jean-Claude Juncker and Commissioner Marianne Thyssen to present their vision for the future of Europe – and demand that the European Commission complements its well-intentioned declarations on a European pillar of social rights with a concrete Social Action Plan.
The European Socialists expressed their vision, that such an Action Plan should be prepared in 2018, as far as the European elections in 2019 can cost even more delay for such an important topic for the European citizens as the social pillar.
Led by President Sergei Stanishev, the PES delegation also included:
- Nicolas Schmit, minister of labour and employment for Luxembourg
- Maria João Rodrigues MEP, vice-president of the S&D Group in the European Parliament
- Pervenche Berès MEP, chair of the PES Social Europe Network
At the top of the agenda was the debate over the future of the European Union, and the vital role that a strong social pillar must play in securing this future.
In advance of the meeting, Mr Stanishev said:
"We know that Europe faces major challenges both from within and without. Jean-Claude Juncker said that this would be the Commission of the last chance -- and I agree. But this precisely why we are pressing for the EU to deliver fast, and to deliver boldly. In order to succeed, our Europe must be a social Europe, which works for its citizens – or it will cease to be altogether."
Nicolas Schmit said:
"Mr Juncker's Commission has created high expectations with its intention to create a 'social triple-A' for Europe. We welcome these declarations, just as we welcomed the initial proposal from the Commission this spring.
"But now it's time to deliver on these promises. We want to see specific measures, with timescales as part of a full social action plan. And we want progress on the European pillar of social rights' proclamation by the Gothenburg summit in November, to mark clear and concrete progress in the rebalancing of economic freedoms and social rights."
Maria João Rodrigues said:
"In a report that had cross-party support from five political groups, the European Parliament already laid out a number of specific measures: improving young people's prospects with a strengthened and properly funded Youth Guarantee; concrete steps towards a Child Guarantee that ensures high quality education, healthcare and nutrition for all Europe's children; a directive on decent working conditions for all forms of employment; and social security for everyone, including through a European social security card.
"We need to make sure that social Europe becomes the core element of the future of Europe. None of the Commission's five proposed scenarios for Europe's future is fully satisfactory in this regard. That's why we have proposed a sixth scenario which puts social progress at its heart."
Pervenche Berès said:
"Europe’s social pillar must be a vital part of mainstream policy-making, not an optional extra. And if there are areas of policy where social protections and economic freedoms clash, the social agenda must take priority.
"All workers should enjoy protection, including those working in the modern digital economy, irrespective of their status. And the social agenda must also be taken into account when planning the future governance of the eurozone, with a eurozone budget to allow investment in our social priorities."