SOTEU: prioritise social, green, and fundamental rights, EU socialists demand

15/09/2021

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at the 2021 State of the European Union

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at the 2021 State of the European Union

The last year required unprecedented action to avert crises. To secure a real recovery for all citizens, proposals for the next twelve months demand equally bold thinking. This was the message from the Party of European Socialists as European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivered the 2021 State of the European Union.

The PES wants to see the Commission president advance green, social and rule of law commitments for Europe’s future. This is essential for the planet and for the health and wellbeing of citizens.

PES President Sergei Stanishev said

“Europe needs ambitious proposals. The pandemic is not finished, its economic and social consequences are still with us, and other challenges are emerging. Extreme weather, global conflicts, the backlash against gender and LGBTI equality, and threats to our democracy demand action.

“Progressives are working for a more sustainable, social and rights-based Union. And we have delivered it for citizens through the European Green Deal, Fit for 55, the Porto Social Summit, SURE and many other proposals over the last twelve months. As we head into the second half of this legislative cycle, as we build for the future, progressives demand the Commission president ramps-up action for a greener and more social Union. A Union that promotes the rule of law, gender equality and leaves no space for discrimination. This is the only way we can secure a fair and sustainable recovery for all.

“We are proud of the work of Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans, High Representative Josep Borrell, Vice President Maros Sefcovic and Commissioners Nicolas Schmit, Paolo Gentiloni, Elisa Ferreira, Helena Dalli, Ylva Johansson and Jutta Urpilainen. They are all promoting in their domains a Europe that is more progressive, equal, and that answers the needs of its citizens.”

Central to socialist demands is the just transition, which the progressive political family is championing to deliver sustainability in a socially fair way. The next twelve months must see progress on the European Green Deal, building on the European Climate Law and Fit for 55, by committing to deliver high-quality green jobs, an ecological transition that leaves no one behind, a sustainable food system for consumers and producers, biodiversity protection, and improved transport.

The social agenda must also be prioritised at the EU level, with a strong focus on wellbeing, action against poverty, better housing, telework, workers’ rights and wages. The European instrument for temporary Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE), the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan and the Porto Social Summit, the European Child Guarantee, the reinforced European Youth Guarantee, action for adequate wages, the Union of Equality, the Gender Action Plan, pay transparency, the EU Anti-Racism Action Plan, and LGBTIQ Equality Strategy are just some of the socialist policies which have been progressed since the 2020 State of the EU. It is time to build on this progress and deliver a fairer society for all.

The Commission must also make further commits to harness the power of digital. This progress must be accompanied by enhanced protections for workers and action to ensure tech companies pay fair taxes.

International partnerships must also be strengthened. Western Balkans integration, fair migration and asylum, and the protection of democracy and human rights in Europe, its neighbourhood and beyond must be central to the Commission’s agenda.

Over the previous twelve months, progressive policies have laid the foundation for a sustainable, fair and digital future for the EU. The PES will support progressive European Commissioners and the S&D to continue delivering.