Today, during the plenary debate on the European Social Pillar, Social Democrats called for more ambition in the Commission’s Action Plan. They highlighted the window of opportunity for the Portuguese presidency of the EU to give a long-overdue impulse to Europe’s social dimension.
The leader of the S&D Group in the European Parliament, Iratxe García MEP, said:
“9 out of 10 Europeans want social Europe to be a priority, while the EU has neglected the social dimension for two decades: neoliberal policies and market freedoms took over, undermining the foundations of our integration project. This is why we must now deliver. The Portuguese presidency, and the Social Summit in Porto, can be the turning point to finally make the 2017 European Pillar of Social Rights a reality, as this is an important commitment of Prime Minister António Costa.
“Commissioner Nicolas Schmit has presented a good proposal, which we will strengthen in the Parliament.
“The Action Plan needs a stronger connection with the UN Sustainable development 2030 agenda, and to better integrate the digital and green transitions. We will only achieve a more sustainable and humane society if we don’t leave anyone behind.
“This is why the goal to lift up 15 million people from the risk of poverty is not enough. These calculations were based on figures from 2019, so they don’t even take into account the impact of the Covid-19 crisis. We need to be more ambitious!
“The anti-poverty strategy must include the Child Guarantee, the Youth Guarantee and the Framework Directive on minimum wages. With the crisis, many people are left without a job or any income, so a common EU framework for minimum income schemes has become urgent.
“The gender perspective must also be reinforced, because we cannot speak about justice while inequality between men and women continues. The directive on pay transparency is only one measure, but we need a whole array of actions.
“Lastly, EU governments have to commit to Social Progress Plans with clear, tangible and enforceable targets. Because a Europe of solidarity is not built with words but with concrete actions, and citizens expect us to deliver.”