“Since the very beginning of the vaccination campaign in Europe, we have heard questionable excuses from pharmaceutical companies trying to justify their failure to respect agreed commitments and live up to EU citizens’ expectations. This is not acceptable. Europe has paid for these vaccines in advance with public money and we demand that companies respect the agreements. Every single day of delay is a failure for our health and the economic recovery.”
S&D co-ordinator in the environment committee, Jytte Guteland
The S&D Group sent a clear message to pharmaceutical CEOs this week, calling on companies to increase the production of vaccines and look at future challenges with new variants and strains.
Ahead of the European Council, Group leader Iratxe García Pérez called on EU leaders to speed up vaccine production, deal with the social and economic consequences of the pandemic fairly and make progress on a European Health Union.
Save the Date: International Women’s Day events
We cannot afford to let the Covid-19 pandemic become a gender-equality crisis. To mark International Women’s Day 2021 we are organising a two-day online event: Covid-19: Overcoming new Challenges to Gender Equality. Sixth Progressive Youth Forum.
On Thursday March 4, in co-operation with our partners PES, FEPS, FES, YES and EWL, we will have workshops on preventing discrimination and gender-based violence, on paid and unpaid care work, and on the backlash against sexual and reproductive health and rights, among others. On Friday 5 March the session will be opened by S&D Group President Iratxe García Pérez and followed by a panel discussion with S&D MEPs, with debates on how to tackle the specific negative impact of the Covid-19 crisis on women and building back better for gender equality. The event on 5 March will be streamed live through our Facebook page, with an interactive Q&A session. Join us!
Labour in the Age of AI
In co-operation with FEPS, the S&D Group will host an online webinar on “Valuing Labour in the Age of AI” on Thursday 4 March. The first panel will look at how the EU can ensure that AI will complement human labour and avoid aggravating inequalities. The second panel will look at AI in the workplace and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Iratxe García Pérez MEP, S&D Group leader, László Andor, Secretary General of FEPS, and Ibán García Del Blanco MEP, S&D spokesperson on the Special Committee on Artificial Intelligence, will open the event. You can follow the event via livestreaming and read the full programme here.
Action Plan for the European Social Pillar
On Wednesday, the Commission will present the Action Plan for finally implementing the 20 principles of the European Social Pillar, adopted in 2017 in Gothenburg on the initiative of our political family. Now, that the economic fall-out of the Covid-19 pandemic is starting to hit hard, it is more important than ever to protect people in this social emergency. Our ambition is to give social rights teeth by making them legally binding and ensure that the digital and green transitions translate into social progress for all.
This week, we called on Commission President von der Leyen to join our fight. Read our letter to the President here. Find out more about our #portoagenda campaign in the run up to the Social Summit in Porto on 7 May here.
The European Commission is also expected to finally present a proposal for a directive to introduce pay transparency measures. Our group has been calling for this for a long time, as we consider pay transparency as a first, necessary step to end the gender pay gap.
We will keep a close eye on the Commission’s recommendation on the fiscal policy response to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, this Wednesday. With the economic fall-out hitting companies hard and the growing social emergency weighing on people, a tightening of fiscal policy would be a fatal sign. We are still very much in the “whatever-it-takes” phase and must ensure that the recovery really takes off.
Throughout next week, S&D MEPs will also be preparing for the March plenary session, set to take place 8-12 March.