PES EPSCO: there can be no delay on delivering social summit commitments

11/06/2021

PES EPSCO meeting by videoconference

PES EPSCO meeting by videoconference

The EU must accelerate its move towards a social Europe guided by the Porto Social Summit declaration, employment and social affairs ministers from the PES stated today as they met to coordinate ahead of the EPSCO Council meeting next week.

The first decisive step to this fairer Europe following the Porto Summit will be backed by PES ministers on Monday when the EPSCO Council is expected to endorse the European Child Guarantee – a key progressive policy to combat child poverty and social exclusion, action that the PES has been calling for since 2015.

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

“The Porto Summit was not a conclusion, but the beginning of the next phase of the reinforcement of social rights for citizens, putting the European Pillar of Social Rights and its Action Plan at the centre of the European recovery.

“The first clear commitment will be the adoption of the European Child Guarantee on Monday. As socialists, we will not accept that 1 out of 4 children lives at risks of poverty or social exclusion. That’s why we put forward the idea of the Child Guarantee some years ago and will back it again next week.

“The ongoing coronavirus crisis has shown that we must act to address an even greater range of social issues. We must create tangible and visible change for citizens by delivering concrete policies that can improve lives across the continent.

“In the Porto Social Summit, we made history. The signature of the Porto Social Commitment, the first tripartite EU agreement and the Porto Declaration marked the EU’s commitment. The European Council gave a clear greenlight and the EU must not waste this momentum now. There is no time for delay. We will continue to push for a more social Europe.”

Today’s PES EPSCO ministerial was the first since the Porto Summit, where EU heads of state committed to a stronger focus on social issues in the EU as part of efforts to build a fairer recovery.

On Monday, the EPSCO Council is expected to endorse the Child guarantee. The PES strongly believes that access to housing, healthcare, nutrition, childcare and education is key to lift vulnerable children out of poverty. It is the role of public authorities to provide for it and the EU must play its part, inspiring Member States’ policies and providing funding.

Socialist have pushed to make sure that social issues are installed as a priority in the longer term for the EU. Prime Minister Stefan Löfven’s initiative for a summit in Gothenburg in 2017 led to the adoption of the European Pillar of Social Rights, Commissioner Nicolas Schmit put forward a European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan earlier this year and through the Porto Social Summit – initiated by Prime Minister António Costa – and the Porto declaration, the European Council has endorsed clear social objectives for the EU to meet in the next decade.

At the meeting, PES EPSCO ministers also exchanged on minimum wages, and the report Co-rapporteur Agnes Jongerius is preparing in the European Parliament on the topic, pay transparency, and telework.

The meeting was attended by:

  • Ana Mendes Godinho, Chair and Minister of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security, Portugal
  • Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, European Commission
  • Tomas Novotny, Deputy Vice Minister, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Czech Republic
  • Peter Hummelgaard, Minister of Employment, Denmark
  • Ville Kopra, State Secretary to Minister of Economic Affairs Tuula Haatainen, Finland
  • Dr. 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 within the Office of the Prime Minister, Malta
  • Eva Nordmark, Minister of Labour, Sweden
  • 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, Member of the European Parliament EMPL Coordinator, S&D Group in the European Parliament, Chair of PES Social Europe Network
  • Luca Visentini, General Secretary, ETUC
  • Liina Carr, Confederal Secretary, ETUC
  • Yonnec Polet, Deputy Secretary General, PES