PES ministers set a social agenda for Europe's 60th birthday

02/03/2017

PES ministers set a social agenda for Europe's 60th birthday

Europe must become an effective social shield for its citizens, argued progressive ministers with responsibility for social policy, employment and health today.

The ministers, representing ten European governments, met in Matignon, France to discuss the future of Europe. The meeting was hosted by French prime minister Bernard Cazeneuve.

In their agreed joint declaration (en|fr), the ministers -- joined by representatives of the European Trade Union Confederation and key Members of the European Parliament -- reiterated their call for a binding social pact to rebalance Europe in favour of citizens' rights, by prioritising youth employment, equal pay between men and women, a decent minimum wage, the fight against social dumping and reinforcing social dialogue.

Nicolas Schmit, Luxembourg minister for labour, employment and social economy, said:

"This is not a usual meeting. We are here on the invitation of the French prime minister, which is a great opportunity to make a strong statement about the future of Europe.

"Our aims are crystal clear: to strengthen existing rights, to take steps towards a Social Progress Protocol that rebalances economic freedoms with strong social rights, and to extend social protection to all forms of employment, including those resulting from the digital revolution.

"This year we have a unique chance to make our aims a reality, by setting the agenda during the debates on the Commission’s White Paper on the future of Europe, and through the landmark social summit hosted by our Swedish friends in November."

Myriam El-Khomri, French employment minister, added:

"To overcome the populist threat and the protectionist temptation, building a European pillar of social rights that protects all European citizens is an absolute necessity."

In attendance

  • Bernard Cazeneuve, Prime Minister (France)
  • Nicolas Schmit, Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Economy (Luxembourg)
  • Michaela Marksová-Tominová, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs (Czech Republic)
  • Myriam El-Khomri, Minister for Labour Employment, vocational training and social dialogue (France)
  • Thorben Albrecht, State Secretary in the employment and social affairs ministry (Germany)
  • Michael Farrugia, Minister for the Family and Social Solidarity (Malta)
  • Lia Olguța Vasilescu, Minister of Labour and Social Justice (Romania)
  • Jose Vieira da Silva, Minister of Labour and Social Security (Portugal)
  • Ylva Johansson, Minister for Employment (Sweden)
  • Branislav Ondrus, State Secretary at the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and the Family (Slovakia)
  • Tasos Petropoulos, Deputy Labour Minister (Greece)
  • Maria João Rodrigues, Vice President of the S&D group in the European Parliament
  • Agnes Jongerius, MEP
  • Yonnec Polet, Deputy Secretary General, Party of European Socialists
  • Luca Visentini, Secretary General, ETUC
  • Evi Christofilopoulou, PASOK (observer)