2017 is a crucial year for social Europe. After years of economic and social hardship, the gear is finally shifting. We, Socialists and Democrats, after a long fight with many others, could get social inequalities being put at the centre of EU policies. And we need to push further: making sure that our progressive proposals are turned into a concrete results that ensure decent living and working conditions for all European citizens.
Europe needs, more than ever, to ensure its commitments under the Treaties such as promoting the well-being of people, quality employment, social protection and cohesion, equality between women and men, protection of the rights of children and the development of quality education.
The deterioration of the quality of jobs all over Europe must stop. A major digital revolution may have brought a plethora of new possibilities but it has also created new and atypical forms of employment, where social rights and employment conditions are at stake. We need to ensure that all European citizens are offered a decent work contract and have access to social protection and can benefit from equal opportunities.
For our progressive political family, ensuring high social standards and upward convergence in Europe are key objectives. Our vision of Social Europe is a paradigm shift towards an alternative social model based on solidarity, integration, social justice, fair wages a fair wealth distribution, gender equality, a high-quality public services and education systems, quality employment and a sustainable growth model that ensures equality and social protection, empowers vulnerable groups, enhances participation and citizenship and improves the living standards of all citizens.
The S&D Group has been strongly demanding concrete initiatives to strengthen and update the European Social Model. We believe that the future of the Union will depend on how much Europeans are able to re-identify the European Union with the protection and the reinforcement of their labour and social rights, and, thereby, of their quality of life. The European Pillar of Social Rights has created the momentum for this to happen and we cannot miss this chance.
Although the Commission proposal for a European Pillar of Social Rights is less ambitious than our progressive proposals, it brings an added value to the current acquis with upgrades in social standards for different target groups, such as workers, young people, people with disabilities or people in need of long term care. Very importantly, the Social Pillar highlights the need for equal treatment among workers irrespectively of what type of working contract they have.
We need to make sure that the Social Pillar is proclaimed but also that it is translated into concrete actions: a Social Action Plan combining legal, financial and governance means at EU level.
We European Socialists and Democrats and Progressives must engage in ensuring that social standards are respected and updated and that the European Union and Member States adopt and implement the different principles and pieces of the European Pillar of Social Rights.
“Putting social rights at the core of our Union” is one of the priorities part of the “Building the Progressive Future Together” statement, that will be debated during our event in Brussels on October 18-19. We’re counting on your input, so each of you can play a part in shaping our common future. It’s easy – just sign in, click on the link and add your thoughts. We will select the best comment for each workshop and fly the person who sent it to Brussels, as our Together Ambassador, to debate live with our MEPs, European Commissioners, academics and intellectuals. Deadline: October 9.