Ahead of this week’s presentation of the European Commission’s Action Plan on how to implement the 2017 European Pillar of Social Rights, the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament issued a strong call for making social rights a reality for all Europeans by introducing binding targets.
Iratxe García, S&D Group leader, said:“9 out of 10 Europeans consider social Europe a priority. At the Porto Summit, it will be up to EU leaders to deliver on people’s hopes for our shared future. Getting young people into quality jobs, ensuring men and women are paid the same and guaranteeing affordable housing – all these rights are already laid down in the European Pillar of Social Rights. Yet, governments are too often only paying lip service to these principles. This must change. It is time to deliver.
“We push for EU governments to commit to Social Progress Plans with clear, tangible and enforceable targets to be reached by 2030. This may sound abstract and technocratic, but it really boils down to the question ‘in what kind of society do we want to live in in 2030?’ I want to live in a Europe where all workers earn a living wage, no child grows up in poverty, and no elderly person has to worry if their pension will cover both heating and food.
“With the Green Deal and the Digital Transitions, we have started to construct a good common future as Europeans, but it will only be successful, if we integrate a strong Social Agenda as a third supporting pillar in the house we are building together.”
Agnes Jongerius, S&D MEP and spokesperson on employment and social affairs, said: “At the Social Summit in Porto we have the historic opportunity to make social rights a reality for all Europeans by agreeing on clear and binding targets. The first target must be quality jobs. People do not need just any job, they need a good job. This is why we are fighting hard to ban zero hours contracts – this modern form of day labour which robs workers of income security – and make sure offline and online workers are entitled to the same rights. Our second target should aim at halving poverty by 2030. The scandal of people working hard and still not making ends meet is destroying the basis of our societies. The third target is zero deaths at work. No job is worth dying for. All workers must be entitled to have health and safety guaranteed at their work place.
“The Portuguese presidency put social rights again where they belong: on the top of the EU agenda. Commissioner Schmit has worked hard to include many of our demands and proposals in this Social Action Plan. We now call on the Commission and EU governments to go the extra mile and match our ambition and commit to binding targets in a joint declaration with the European Parliament in Porto.”
At the initiative of the S&D family, the EU 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 committed to come up with an Action Plan, which will finally be presented tomorrow. The European Parliament set out a concrete roadmap for a strong social Europe in a report -authored by Agnes Jongerius, S&D, and Dennis Radke, EPP. Last week, the Socialists and Democrats send a letter to Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, calling on her to endorse our ambitious Porto Agenda. The Socialists and Democrats have been campaigning for tangible, binding and enforceable social rights to be adopted at the Porto Summit.