On the eve of the EU Social Summit in Porto, socialists and democrats gathered to set out an ambitious agenda for social rights.
Prime ministers, ministers, members of the European Parliament, trade unionists and workers from essential sectors took part in a live hybrid event - From Gothenburg to Porto: The Path Towards a Social Europe - to discuss the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights.
Through the Pillar, socialists and democrats are working to end child poverty, gender inequality and work-related deaths in Europe, and secure decent jobs, fair wages and a ‘Right to Disconnect’ for all citizens. The Porto Social Summit, convened by Prime Minister António Costa, is an opportunity to put Europe on a fairer path.
S&D president Iratxe García said:
“Porto will be a turning point for Europe: people must be put first, beyond GDP figures, because economic growth only matters if it improves people’s daily lives. There is nowhere better than Portugal to show that a crisis can be solved with solidarity.
“After years of austerity, the Covid-19 pandemic unveiled the truth: only strong social policies can contribute to facing the crisis. We need a strong social net to take millions of Europeans out of poverty and to ensure decent salaries for the so-called working poor. It is just unacceptable that one out of four children in the EU are at risk of social exclusion. And, we must provide support for those self-employed workers whose small businesses have been hit by the essential Covid-19 restrictions.
“I hope that the national leaders in the EU Council will listen to the call of the Porto Social Summit and give a new impulse to social rights.”
PES president Sergei Stanishev said:
“We are the party of the welfare state and workers’ rights. The Porto Summit is the next big step to secure the strong social rights we think all citizens should have. Prime Minister António Costa has put a social Europe back at the top of the agenda.
“Since the proclamation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, hosted by Prime Minister Stefan Löfven in Gothenburg, we have called for the Pillar to be translated into concrete policies for citizens. European Commissioner Nicolas Schmit moved this forward with the Commission’s Action Plan. And now, this Summit is an opportunity to take further steps.
“The Covid-19 crisis has brought to light the inequalities in our societies. It has reaffirmed the importance of the state and of public action. It has underlined the importance of public services, the effects of underfunding, the need to improve working conditions and so much more. Now, we fight hard to overcome this crisis, but once it is overcome, we cannot return to ‘business as usual’. The Porto Summit must open up the way for a fairer and more equal Europe for all.”
First vice-president of the European Committee of the Regions and PS Azores leader, Vasco Alves Cordeiro, added:
“As Progressives, we want a fairer and sustainable EU to emerge from the Covid-19 crisis. However, previous crises have shown that this will not happen on its own. It will not happen if we leave matters in the hands of our political opponents. Our responsibility is to ensure that the Porto Summit is the occasion to make it happen, speaking with one voice, from our comrades at the EU Council, the European Parliament and Commission, to our local and regional leaders.
“As socialists, we can be proud of being the ones to remind all leaders that the social dimension of the EU should not remain secondary. The goal of the recovery should be to support all people and to ensure territorial, social and economic cohesion within the European Union. Cohesion is more than a policy, it is a core value of the EU.”
The hybrid event - organised by the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats in the European Parliament (S&D) and the Party of European Socialists (PES) - saw Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Teresa Ribera, European Parliament President David Sassoli, Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit, First Vice-President of the European Committee of the Regions Vasco Alves Cordeiro, ETUC General Secretary Luca Visentini, PES President Sergei Stanishev, S&D President Iratxe García Pérez, and many others take part.
The Socialists and Democrats have already secured significant progress on social rights.
The PES political family has been the driving force behind the European Child Guarantee to definitively end child poverty, the Youth Guarantee to get more young people into work, the proposed Directive on adequate minimum wages to secure fair work for all, the Pay Transparency Directive to combat the gender pay gap, the ‘Right to Disconnect’ when teleworking, stronger protections for platform workers, and more.
Last month the S&D Group and the PES set out these ambitions in the ‘2030 Porto Agenda for Sustainable Wellbeing’ declaration.
The full programme for From Gothenburg to Porto: The Path Towards a Social Europe is available on the S&D website.
S&D Group, president’s spokesperson
Victoria MARTIN DE LA TORRE
+32 (0) 473 23 41 73
Party of European Socialists, press and communications officer
+32 (0) 491 86 97 48
PES Committee of the Regions, press and communications adviser
+32 (0) 2 282 23 81
Watch the live recording of the event