"No exit from the crisis without a strong social union", say S&D Euro MPs
Two weeks before an important meeting of EU leaders on reforming the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), S&D Euro MPs are calling for a strong social union. The S&D Group held a conference today in Brussels to discuss the social dimension of the EMU with Commissioner László Andor and representatives from trade unions, NGOs and specialist organisations such as the International Labour Organisation (ILO). Members of the Committee of the Regions, Tuscany president Enrico Rossi and Burgenland Parliament member Christian Illedits took part in the conference.
Said S&D Group leader Hannes Swoboda at the opening of the conference:
"If we want to save Europe, the only chance is to convince all leaders and stakeholders to renew Europe's social commitments to its citizens.
"Building up an EMU without a social dimension would be a failure.
"We are convinced that including a social dimension in the EMU is not a mere add-on but is a crucial element of the Europe we want."
Said Pervenche Berès, chair of the employment and social affairs committee:
"The S&D Group has been successful in putting social rights back on top of the European agenda. We are convinced that the social dimension of EMU must be addressed. It is a crucial part of the solution to the crisis.
"We consider the fight against youth unemployment a priority. This is why we have pushed for the introduction of a youth guarantee at EU level. But building a Europe with a genuine focus on the social rights of its citizens goes far beyond this issue.
"I am pleased that Commissioner Andor is ready to consider an EMU unemployment benefit scheme for eurozone countries. We need those transfers to fight long-term unemployment and poverty. We need them to fight economic and social imbalances inside the eurozone."
Said S&D spokesman for employment and social affairs Alejandro Cercas:
"In order to remain standing, Europe needs to fix not only its monetary and economic dimensions but also to build a strong social pillar which promotes growth in order to create decent jobs and reduce poverty and social exclusion.
"EU policy has basically been focused on regaining the confidence of the markets to achieve macroeconomic balances – but now is the time to gain the confidence of citizens by healing social imbalances.
"We need the social agenda to be given the same urgency as the economic one. We need meetings between EU employment and social affairs ministers to be as important as those of EU finance ministers; we need a social governance policy at the same level as economic governance policies; we need social dialogue, because there can be no effective policy without social dialogue; we need a complete system of indicators, automatic stabilisers and legislative and budgetary measures to allow us to anticipate problems and solve the urgent social problems we face – especially massive youth and long-term unemployment."
Read more in the Youth employment - making it happen publication from the PES Group in the Committee of the Regions.