The Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament welcome the European Commission’s announcement of a new temporary solidarity instrument to support workers and avoid massive unemployment caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Iratxe Garcia, S&D Group leader, said:
“Millions of Europeans see their job at risk and don’t know if they will have a job to return to when the COVID-19 outbreak lockdowns are over. So any action to support them is welcome, and the sooner we implement it, the better.
“However, we expect more, and I am sure it will come. Commission president Ursula von der Leyen committed herself to introducing an EU unemployment reinsurance scheme when we approved her Commission college, and the Commission has been working on it. So this loan to support workers should now be the basis for a more ambitious plan, for a real scheme.
“Regarding the so-called Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE) that the Commission will soon launch, we will study this in detail, especially what is behind the ‘implementation agreement’. We must ensure that no conditionality will be applied to countries that will access these loans. We also expect all EU countries to commit to this instrument to make enough funds available to create a meaningful protective shield for workers.”
Agnes Jongerius, S&D MEP and spokesperson on employment, added:
“We welcome the Commission’s plans for supporting short-term work schemes to protect workers from becoming unemployed as active solidarity. We have no time to lose; much more European solidarity is needed now. All workers, also the self-employed and those working in precarious jobs, must be covered by the new instrument. We will be watchful that trade union rights are respected to the fullest and social dialogue can play its full role to avoid wage reductions, layoffs, and cuts to workers’ rights. Fairness demands that companies benefiting from this scheme are prohibited from paying bonuses to the management or dividends to shareholders.
“As this crisis has again proven the need for a permanent reinsurance scheme, we call on the Commission to make a proposal for a permanent rainy-day fund by the end of the year, with the full involvement of the European Parliament as co-legislator.”