PES Ministers: Social Rights Must Prevail Over Economic Freedoms

08/12/2016 - Socialist ministers have met to discuss how to integrate strong social rights into the DNA of the European Union – and how to give them the same weight as economic freedoms.

EPSCO December 2016

The meeting of Party of European Socialist ministers responsible for employment, and social affairs took place on Thursday 8 December, ahead of the full Council of Ministers later the same day.

At the top of the agenda is progress towards a strong European Pillar of Social Rights.

Nicolas Schmit, chair of the PES group and Luxembourg minister of Labour, Employment, Social and Solidarity Economy, said:

We are determined that Europe should protect and strengthen fundamental social rights, and not simply sacrifice these rights in favour of economic freedoms.

So we want strong action at European level to guarantee collective rights, decent jobs, universal access to quality health services, to reduce inequality, and to guarantee a decent basic income for all.

These are essential aspects to be kept in mind for example in the negotiations on Greece’s adjustment programme, in particular when it comes to the respect of social partners’ autonomy and collective bargaining.”

Discussions also included an update on the Youth Guarantee and the future of the PES European Youth Plan campaign – which calls for major investment in children and young people in Europe.

Ministers also discussed the Posting of Workers directive.

Check photos of the meeting here.