The European Parliament is calling on European leaders to make social rights legally enforceable and reach concrete social objectives by 2030. The Socialists and Democrats had pushed for the 2017 adoption of the European Pillar of Social Rights in Gothenburg and are now leading the drive for a Porto Agenda, to be signed by EU leaders under the Portuguese Presidency at the Social Summit in Porto in May 2021.
Iratxe García, S&D Group leader, said: “Every crisis can be turned into an opportunity. The digital and green transitions are deeply transforming our societies, as we are combatting the Covid-19 pandemic and the social emergency growing in its wake. With the Green Deal and the Recovery Fund we are laying the foundations for our common future, but it will only be a good future if the Social Pillar becomes a supporting column of the house we are building together. “I am proud my group is leading the drive for a Porto Agenda to be adopted at the Social Summit in May under the Portuguese Presidency. With the 2017 European Pillar of Social Rights, European leaders agreed on the guiding principles for our society. 2021 will be the year to make these principles come to life.”
Agnes Jongerius, MEP, S&D spokesperson for employment and social rights, and author of the report on a strong social Europe for Just Transitions, said: “In what kind of Europe do we want to live in 10 years? I want to live in a Europe, where all workers earn a living wage, all families can afford housing, and no child has to grow up in poverty. In my report adopted by Parliament today, we are mapping out the way to get there.
“First, we must give social rights teeth by making them legally enforceable. Recommendations simply are not enough. EU governments and the Commission must commit to concrete mandatory targets to be reached by 2030. We are talking about very concrete steps to make people’s lives better, such as halving youth unemployment, ensuring men and women are paid equally, building 30% more affordable social housing.”
“Secondly, especially now that the Covid-19 pandemic is hitting the economy hard, people are losing their jobs, their businesses, their homes, it is time to invest in people. Earmarking sufficient funding for programmes such as short-time work schemes, training and education, housing and anti-poverty programmes is of the utmost importance. No investment has a higher return for making just transitions.”
“Thirdly, the progress made on social rights needs to be tracked, akin to economic and environmental targets. Member states have to commit to Social Progress Plans. We call on the Commission and EU governments to join our fight for living wages, decent work and robust welfare. They must put their signature to the Porto Agenda. Together, we can build a better future for all.”
The European Pillar of Social Rights was jointly endorsed in November 2017 by the Council, Commission and Parliament. Since then, the challenge has been how to concretely implement and guarantee the 20 principles. The Commission has committed to come up with an Action Plan in early 2021. The Socialists and Democrats are pushing for tangible, binding and enforceable social rights to be adopted at the Porto Summit in May 2021.