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By 2030, cities around the world will be responsible for 74% of the greenhouse gas emissions. Facing this challenge, we must not only be ambitious but also visionary. In this spirit, we must give priority to the circular economy and eco-design, foster environmental education and choose a radical and effective energy transition. Cities have always been in the forefront of change. Cities in Europe have countless of concrete solutions that will enable humanity to overcome the planetary challenges that we have already started to face.   We must reinvent our cities, finding novel ways for our fellow citizens to make way for cultural, economic, social and societal innovation. In this respect, we must truly use technological innovation at the service of sustainable cities, ensuring that our European cities are the most prosperous and dynamic on earth. Their strength comes from values of tolerance and mutual respect that unite our peoples far more than our differences divided us. Tolerance equals strength!   A year after President Trump announced the US exit from the Paris Climate Agreement we need to continue our collective fight with unwavering determination. We need to knock down walls and put up bridges. We need for forge truly progressive urban policies for cities where life is good.   We need to continue to fight contamination, choosing clean energies and favoring electric modes of transportation, car-pooling and cycling. We need even stronger commitment towards finding the proper solutions to achieve universal shared progress for the good of the people. For this reason, we need to ensure that we can collect best practices on ecological transformation across Europe, using in-depth local and regional knowledge.

2 years, 8 months ago in The Europe of Tomorrow; it’s left!

We insist that all countries take their own share of responsibility for the protection of refugees and that migrants, independent of their legal status, have their human rights respected.  We call for special attention to the most weak and vulnerable as well as to women, children and the elderly. We remain critical of the way some EU countries have responded so far to the refugee crisis. In this respect, we urge all EU countries to honour their commitments both in terms of relocation and resettlement. Showing solidarity is key in gaining credibility in international negotiations and in convincing other countries to live up to their responsibilities. We need to make sure that refugees are offered the opportunity to work and contribute to the development of their hosted societies. Nearly half of all migrants are women and girls. It is of paramount importance that not only the EU, but the UN Member States themselves, promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls as a central element of the global migration agreement. Women must be fully involved and their voices listened to. We must include women’s needs and realities in the design of policies and solutions for refugee crises in order to make them more sustainable and effective. The EU must in the strongest terms possible advocate clear commitments on specific pressing issues, such as avoiding that people risk their lives in the desert or at sea, improving the actions concerning missing migrants, ensuring humane conditions in reception camps, calling for the end of child detention, strongly supporting family reunification or addressing specific measures on statelessness. These commitments must be included in the global agreements on refugees and migration.

“This was only the start of what needs to be a thorough and transparent investigation of the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica Scandal. The format of the meeting was a farce, not allowing for any back and forth between Zuckerberg and the Members of Parliament. What this meeting made clear is that 75 minutes in a small and exclusive circle is not enough to shed light on the biggest data scandal in recent history. That’s why we demand a further exchange with Zuckerberg and his high-level management with all relevant experts of the European Parliament for a more in-depth analysis. The S&Ds have been pushing for that from the beginning. Unfortunately, the centre-right majority voted for the format we saw today.” “Zuckerberg did not answer many of the direct questions put to him, and the few answers that we heard were disappointing. It is unbelievable that, of all companies, Facebook is apparently not ready to be open on that matter. How can Zuckerberg claim to connect people if he himself is not ready to fully contribute to this? How can he continue earning billions and billions of dollars with users’ information and then refuse to be fully transparent? We will not allow for this kind of double standards.” “Facebook and other social media networks have a powerful position in the process of opinion making. In order to protect our democracies, we must make sure that this position is not abused. The Trump campaign and the alleged influence of Russian forces in political campaigns show how important that is. This is why we have to stop the extensive, secretive and indiscriminate data gathering and processing for algorithmic targeting.” “We fight for data protection and, with that, also for the sovereignty of democracy. One important step is the new General Data Protection Regulation that was adopted, thanks to pressure from our Group, and which will enter into force on 25 May. Moreover, we are pushing for the new ePrivacy Regulation to be adopted. The new rules will give people the right and the tools to control their own privacy, giving them back some of the power that companies like Facebook have taken. Now it’s up to European governments to work with us to ensure that happens. They have to decide what is more important: People’s rights and data protection or big companies’ interests? We stand firmly on the side of the people.”

2 years, 9 months ago in Data protection in the EU

Without addressing the root causes of forced displacement such as conflicts, poverty and underdevelopment, the phenomenon of migration will only intensify in the future. Despite two decades of economic growth, Africa is facing security challenges and regional instability. It is confronting increased social inequalities and poverty, corruption, lack of good governance, fundamental freedoms, and quality education, as well as wide-spread environmental degradation. This has led to a growing number of migrants and refugees coming from Africa to Europe. We need more efficient cooperation between EU and African countries of origin and transit in order to overcome the current challenges of migration management. And the EU must take resolute steps to enact a Marshall Plan for Africa that can address the root causes of migration and deliver tangible improvements in Africa. We must work together with African partners towards effective use of development cooperation, conflict resolution, and stimulate inclusive and sustainable economic growths to give opportunities to Africans in their countries of origin. Migration must be safe and legal, migrants and refugees must have their dignity and fundamental rights respected and the fight against human traffickers must be stepped up. The far-right and populist forces are building walls and spread hate and division. We stand for equal and fair partnerships between EU and Africa through win-win approaches, and support the efforts of the African partners, which host the overwhelming majority of African migrants and refugees, to better manage migration flows, also internally. We are extending our hand in cooperation to civil society and everyone who is ready to join us in this joint effort.

António Costa is the first progressive leader to speak in the context of this new series of exchanges launched in the House setting out a clear vision for a progressive Europe. In light of the various challenges today, there can only be European answers to the problems we face. In his speech, António Costa called for a European response to the refugee crisis, the fight against terrorism, to tackle climate change, to fight unemployment and ensure a fair digitalisation. In order to face these challenges and to re-establish economic and social convergence, the progressive leader was clear: Europe needs a stronger EU budget and a eurozone reform with a proper fiscal capacity. In this sense, fair taxation and new own resources are necessary tools. Costa led by example when announcing that Portugal is ready to raise its contributions to the long-term EU budget. Replying to António Costa’s speech, S&D acting Group president, Maria João Rodrigues, said: “Portugal’s socialist-led government has proven that there is an alternative to blind austerity. It is possible to go back to growth while fighting social inequalities. Another Europe is possible! With his speech, António Costa has proven that he has an ambitious and progressive vision for what should be the new phase of the European project. “We must launch a powerful strategy to invest in the future making the best of the energy transition and the current digital revolution. “The Europe of tomorrow must be a social one. The proposals from the Commission on the implementation of the Social Pillar are crucial in this respect. The various initiatives are a good start but we must do more to ensure that the measures do not remain empty words but become concrete reality for people. Investment in jobs, fighting youth unemployment, ensuring the rights of the children, pursuing minimum wages across Europe – it is our duty to deliver on these needs. “The EU can only take effective action if it has the means to do so. The EU must be equipped with a strong, long-term EU budget based not only on contributions from member states but also increased own resources. Today’s vote on the MFF and the Own Resources report will play a central role as well as our continued joint fight against tax evasion and tax fraud. “Finally, the EU must remain an example of international co-operation based on human values, democracy, fairness and sustainable development.” Maria João Rodrigues emphasised the need to engage with citizens in the upcoming EP elections 2019: “The upcoming EP elections in 2019 are the moment when people can decide which Europe they want. It is our duty to ensure that citizens have a real say in these elections. Thus, to engage with them in an open and inclusive way is fundamental. “We warmly welcome the ‘Citizens Conventions’ to be launched by the EP and the other EU Institutions. It will be important to ensure that all political groups will take part in these dialogues, so that the people can see the differences between the proposals offered by the political groups. “The S&D Group, together with its partners from the progressive family, is already engaging with citizens in the context of its #EuropeTogether initiative launched in October 2016 in Brussels. We will continue our citizen events all across Europe and are looking forward to listening and debating with citizens about the future Europe they want. Join us and have your say on your future!”

The #EuropeTogether initiative aims at bringing European politics closer to citizens. The campaign brings together politicians, academics, civil society and citizens to debate and come up with new proposals for the future of Europe. On 12 April 2018, the next Together event will take place in Hamburg, focusing on the topic of ‘Managing Migration & Supporting Refugees in a Globalised World’. The full programme is available on our event page.


The Tallinn Statement on a Social Europe

To achieve high quality of life and ensure upward social convergence, we must:

• Assure decent working conditions in all forms of employment, guaranteeing every worker access to a core set of labour and social rights, which follow the principle of equal pay for equal work.

• Close the gender pay gap by 2% per year assuring equal treatment and non-discrimination throughout our Union. In addition, particular target measures are needed like quotas for women on company boards at European level. Companies to introduce multi-aged working teams.

• Establish a European Child Guarantee, which ensures that every child has access to free healthcare, free education, free childcare, decent housing and proper nutrition.

• Ensure the respect and the promotion of collective bargaining so that it reaches as many workers as possible across our Union.

• Assure the reconciliation of personal and work life.

• Fight income inequality, unemployment with a special focus on young people who are neither in employment nor education.

• Substantially scale up the funding of the EU Youth Guarantee to create better and better jobs.

• New key-factor like health must be better included in policy making, including occupational health.

• Prepare for a Social Progress Protocol to be incorporate in the Treaties, when possible, to change the overall balance between economic freedom and fundamentals social rights.

• Create a specific Social Fund for capacity building, in particular for Social Partners in Member States, where needed.

• Deliver a European Pillar of Social Rights to cope with the new trends in the labour market, guaranteeing decent working conditions and access to social protection.

To cope with demographic challenges and the impact of a growing digital economy, we must:

• Develop new ways to guarantee workers’ rights and representation, decent working conditions, fair competition and social protection in the “fourth industrial revolution”.

• Organise the portability of workers’ rights as they move around in the European digital labour market.

• Extend collective agreements to individuals engaged in new digital forms of work.

• Mitigate the risk of brain drain by investing in measures supporting circular migration, and ensuring mobility is not the result of inadequate employment opportunities or social protections.

• Invest in active ageing and enable people reaching pensionable age to have the option to continue working while being able to draw partially on their pension if they work less than full-time.

• Investing in equitable and quality education for all and everywhere in Europe must be an absolute top priority.

To ensure sustainable financing of social policies, we must:

• Provide public support for developing sectors with important employment potential.

• Combat tax evasion to ensure adequate level of public funds.

• Broaden the financial base of welfare systems by shifting towards new sources of tax revenue.

• Establish quality benchmarks for national unemployment insurance schemes.

• Enable the public employment service to have adequate capacity for direct contact with business.

• The EU must do more to unlock the potential of the Social Economy.

• Invest in green technology and in the environment.

• We need a sustainable EU Budget where all Member States should contribute a fair share.

• Link the financial economy to the real economy through the introduction of a Financial Transaction Tax.

• Close tax loopholes in the 28 Member States and introduce a EU-wide Minimum Effective Corporate Tax Rate.

• To test the possibility to the introduction of a basic income scheme in the EU.

• Fight undeclared work!

Information, participation and civic dialogue about social rights is very important!

*** This is the statement approved and adopted at the TOGETHER event in Tallinn, Estonia on May 12, 2017. But the debate goes on! Share your ideas on how to build a Social Europe that benefits all.

3 years, 3 months ago in Social Europe

Investing in Europe, Investing in people – A progressive future EU financing, based on solidarity, economic and sustainable development – this is what we want.
The EU budget, a concern for everyone! We should:
• Reaffirm the will of the S&D and its sister organisations to achieve an ambitious and higher EU budget in the next Multiannual Financial Framework
• Make the S&D family work together on the future of the EU and its funding
• Bringing the EU budget closer to citizens, which means strengthening its relevance and its visibility
An EU budget based on genuine own resources! We should:
• Prioritize EU own resources as the primary revenue stream instead of the national contribution by Member States• Give incentives instead of sanctions and exclude contributions to the EU Budget from the deficit calculations under the Stability and Growth pact. Members States need to be encouraged and not deterred to invest in the European project
• Put an end to all rebates and abandon the national “juste retour” logic
Toward new EU own resources! We should:
• Insist that the implementation of new EU own resources remain the only option to adequately finance the MFF• Create a new own resources system with the introduction of new genuine own resources and an increase of the own resources share to at least 50% of the EU budget to provide fairer and more stable EU finances
• Establish new own resources to feed the EU budget though a Financial Transaction Tax, an EU tax on multinational corporations based on a Common corporate Tax Base, a carbon EU tax, etc.
A future Multiannual Financial Framework post 2020 with an adequate level of financing! We should:
• Break the 1% of the EU’s Gross National Income (GNI) ceiling for expenditure of the EU budget and significantly increase it even over 1.23% of the EU’s Gross National Income (GNI).
• Ensure that additional political priorities shall be linked with additional financial means and not be financed to the detriment of existing policies
• Promote the S&D sixth scenario for the future of the EU to be included into the next Multiannual Financial Framework
A new cohesion policy: investing in Europe, investing in people! We should:
• Strengthen cohesion policy that put human capital first
• Ensure an EU support for all regions with a stronger budget to build EU-wide answers to the global challenges
• Build a cohesion policy on simplification, based on quality and progress and that takes into account the social, environmental and economic dimensions
A new innovative toolbox for the next Multiannual Financial Framework post 2020! We should:
• Reform the headings of the EU budget to better reflect the political priorities of the EU’s future, such as growth & sustainability, solidarity and security & defense
• Render the EU budget more readable and understandable for managing authorities, project promoters and EU citizens
• Increase the flexibility and adaptability of the MFF to cope with new challenges and priorities that arise;
• Ensure that the European Parliament and the citizens are fully involved in the decision-making process of the next MFF
• Simplify the financial rules for the benefit of European citizens
“Financial Solutions for a New Budget and a New Europe” is one of the priorities part of the “Building the Progressive Future Together” statement, debated during our event in Brussels on October 18-19. But the debate goes on. 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 add your thoughts to this topic.

The European Union and Africa have an important and unique partnership, which is at a crossroads. The EU remains the main partner of Africa, but it is no longer the only one. So does Africa still need Europe? We continue to believe the deep, comprehensive and holistic relationship is a vital long-term foundation for political dialogue and progress in both continents.
Investing in young people. The demographic boom in Africa will be an opportunity for the continent rather than a challenge, if we support investment in education. The challenges of the future will only be met if we equip the next generations with the necessary tools, on which an “EU-Africa Erasmus program” can be of great impact, encouraging exchanges between European and African young students, researchers, teachers and entrepreneurs.
Sustainable investments. The S&D Group strongly supports the EU External Investment Plan for Africa (and European neighbourhood) with the aim of improving economic and social development and achieving the SDGs on the African continent. But rather than underpin multinationals which are already champions of tax evasion, or the ones which prey on mineral and natural resources, the EIP must provide support to SMEs, microfinance and job creation programs, especially for young people and women.
Coherent Partnerships for development to address the root causes of irregular migration. Irregular migration is a global phenomenon requiring a coordinated international response and the EU must take a human-rights-based lead in shaping it. We support a strong partnership between Europe and Africa and the efforts in the United Nations to tackle the root causes of migration in terms of improving the economic and social situation, strengthening democracy and the rule of law, and providing education and employment opportunities in countries of transit and origin. We remain strongly committed to the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, also by improving development cooperation, conflict resolution, and stimulate inclusive and sustainable economic growth to ensure that people have a real chance of a better life in their homeland. But we also need to ensure we implement Policy Coherence for Development across our agricultural, trade and investment policies, from the Common Agricultural Policy to binding due diligence requirements for EU companies. The security-development nexus remains important for addressing conflict, but poverty-alleviation must remain the primary goal of development assistance. We will never accept aid conditionality linked to migration policy.
Strengthen democracy and human rights. Human rights remain central to our partnership with Africa. We urge the EEAS and Commission to use all available tools to maintain serious human rights dialogues. We will seek innovative mechanisms to give support and visibility to those risking their lives in Africa for the defence of human rights, democracy, social justice, equality and non-discrimination. We reiterate our belief that independent NGOs, media and cultural space are a pre-requisite of a functioning democracy and rule of law.
Gender equality. Without the emancipation of women there is no viability for sustainable development, nor full democracy, nor good governance. Gender equality must be mainstreamed in all EU policies, initiatives and investments towards Africa.
“Does Africa need Europe?” is one of the priorities part of the “Building the Progressive Future Together” statement, debated during our event in Brussels on October 18-19. But the debate goes on. 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 add your thoughts to this topic.


1. The EU as a united and influential voice. At a time when the European project is being questioned and new challenges abound, from the violations of the European security order to terrorism and violence plaguing North Africa and the Middle East, as well as Europe itself, the EU has to become an ever more united and influential actor on the world stage to keep its citizens safe, preserve its interests and uphold its values;
2. Striving for strategic autonomy. This is necessary for the EU to promote its values, principles and interests. The most appropriate framework to achieving these is the rules-based global order and effective multilateralism. Foreign and security policies of the EU require deepening the trans-atlantic bond and sustainable dialogue with other key international actors;
3. Strengthening defence capacities. The EU is most effective in achieving its foreign and security policy goals when it combines soft and hard power. European defence should reflect the security concerns of all the EU Member States. It should be advanced by enhanced efficiency in Member States´ spending, through common capabilities development and enhanced civil-military synergies in the conduct of CSDP missions;
4 . Fostering effective approach to conflict resolution. The EU must engage in a practical and principled way in peacebuilding, concentrating its efforts on conflict resolution in surrounding unstable regions to the east and south. It must make a full use of tools and instruments available to it, including engagement with all players in a conflict, and, when appropriate, containment and deterrence. Supporting reform agendas pursued by partner countries within the European Neighbourhood Policy is essential for their stabilisation;
5. Promoting cooperative regional orders. As a model of such a regional order itself, the EU is best placed to promote the non-zero sum game approach to conflict resolution, including in the most divided regions. Particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, the capacity of the EU to engage with all players empowers it to promote new security architecture whereby the legitimate interests of all partners should be taken into account; the EU should further develop its capacity to contribute to the stabilisation and rebuilding of the countries in post-conflict situations.
6. Aligning EU trade policies with Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement. The EU should assume a leadership role to promote fair, regulated global trade in the interest of all people e.g. a legislative proposal on mandatory due diligence on global value chains in order to provide transparency and traceability, counter unfair trading practices and uphold labour and environmental rights;
7. Enforcing forceful measures to protect European industry against unfair trade practices. With this goal in mind, pressure must be put on the Council to modernise the Union’s trade defence system;
8. Dialogue-oriented processes with the involvement of the civil society at all levels of government. This is key to ensuring the participation of trade unions and the ILO in order to ensure labour and social standards are incorporated in the sustainability chapter;
9. Responding to the consumers’ concerns. It is necessary to reinforce corporate social responsibility initiatives and due diligence across supply chains, thus enhancing consumers’ confidence in the products they buy;
10. Closer collaboration with the ILO and OECD. The EU should pursue deep dialogue with these organisations with the aim of developing a global approach to improving social and labour standards in developing countries, including mechanisms to ensure full respect for fundamental rights and the protection of minorities.
“A stronger European Union in a changing world” is one of the priorities part of the “Building the Progressive Future Together” statement, debated during our event in Brussels on October 18-19. But the debate goes on. 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 add your thoughts to this topic.


Today, our economic system disregards the planet and human health, and creates social inequalities. Therefore, our economy must radically change. Socialists and Democrats place this radical change of our economic system at the heart of their political engagement.
A cleaner environment, healthier food or quality jobs cannot become a privilege for those who can afford it. There can be no sustainable economy if it benefits some, while excluding others. Sustainability must become a central driver of new equality and cohesion across our societies and within them.
The future of the European Union itself will depend on its ability to embrace this radical change. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 (UNSDG) and the commitments made under the United Nations’ Paris Agreement on climate change provide a policy framework to engage in this process. This is why we call for a thorough and visionary European sustainable development strategy for the years to come, based on innovation, transformative investments, strong social rights and convergence and the eradication of social and ecological dumping.
Therefore we will notably:
Promote and defend policies which enable the European Union to successfully decouple economic development from greenhouse gas emissions and to undergo a profound transition towards a more sustainable, zero-carbon economy based on renewable sources of energy and energy efficiency. For the EU to remain within its carbon budget[1], plans for any additional coal-fired generating capacity must be shelved. All currently operating coal plants as well as nuclear power plants must go off grid by a fixed end date.
Plead for doubling the total available financial resources for investment in economic change over the coming years. Investment in human capital in particular should find more space in the EU investment strategy. A modern Cohesion Policy investment financed by the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) has to aim at attainment of objectives of a ‘smart, sustainable and inclusive’ growth and have a key role in boosting the economy through investment at a local, regional and national level. A fully fledged European sustainable investment strategy building on the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI), a strong European budget and stronger national public investments via a more flexible “investment clause” for sustainable investments in the Growth and Stability Pact, must collectively achieve this objective.
Continue our fight to protect our citizens from pollution and harmful chemicals while protecting the rich biodiversity of our countries. When dealing with our citizens’ health we will work hard to ensure that stricter rules are enforced to reduce exposure to air pollutants, especially for the most vulnerable groups of our society.
Stimulate the move towards a circular economy which re-uses materials and has positive effects on the path to a zero-carbon economy, both lowering the energy consumption of industry and creating new sustainable, qualified jobs in the industries reusing, recycling or up-valuing discarded products and resources.
Introduce  clean urban transport toward sustainable mobility for all: reducing transport needs by the promotion of proximity and mixed-uses schemes, prioritising non-motorised ‘walkable’, ‘cyclable’ cities, supporting affordable and efficient public transport accessible for all-notably for deprived neighborhood., We need Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) quotas for car manufacturers with the aim of phasing out new CO2-emitting cars by 2035.
Support a stronger protection of labor and social rights in The European Pillar for Social Rights. Concrete measures to eradicate social dumping must be taken before the end of this term. Social security must be guaranteed for all Europeans, where ever they choose to work. The European Treaties should be upgraded with a Social Protocol to ensure that fundamental rights take precedence over economic freedoms.
Resist rising income and wealth inequalities which have no place in a sustainable Europe. A European sustainable development strategy must therefore encompass broad-ranging strategy to reduce inequalities in income and wealth within and among countries, and develop a European-wide initiative for the eradication of poverty by 2030.
Ensure the European Union invests in vocational training to organise a just transition offering new opportunities for workers in high carbon, resource-intensive jobs in the decarbonized, circular economy of the future.
Make all European citizens profit from the energy transition by eradicate energy poverty in Europe. Energy efficiency measures need to be targeted to energy poor and vulnerable households and citizens need to be able to better take control of their energy bills through improved energy consumers’ rights and information.”
Work towards an effective alignment of European Union development co-operation with the fight against climate change in order to build resilience and reduce the vulnerability of local populations, and improve their capacity to prevent and reduce the risks from disasters.
Call for a full and effective implementation of the European anti-discrimination directives in the workplace, including in public sector.
The time has come for higher expectations and ambitions, for common goals pursued together, for stronger political actions to address our common sustainable future. We, European Socialists and Democrats, are ready to take this challenge.
[1] To have a good chance of keeping global warming well below the 2°C, there is only a finite amount of carbon pollution the world still can emit.  This fixed amount can be thought of as the carbon budget.
“Sustainable development and the social dimension” is one of the priorities part of the “Building the Progressive Future Together” statement, debated during our event in Brussels on October 18-19. But the debate goes on. 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 add your thoughts to this topic.


Amidst growing Euroscepticism, we believe that fundamental rights and the rule of law are the main features of what makes the EU unique and are essential in order for citizens to identify with the Union. Indeed, the limitation of the powers of public officials by the law, the fact that laws are public, general and apply equally to all, and that they will be upheld by an independent, impartial and neutral judiciary are the DNA of our democratic contract with citizens.

A strong European Democracy. We stand for an EU that is more independent from national governments and directly empowered by European citizens, who make informed choices about their lives. S&D will cement the “Spitzenkandidaten” process, so that the citizens have a say on the political orientation and agenda of the President of the European Commission. We fight for the transparency, integrity and accountability of the decision making process, institutions, European parties and representatives of the EU citizens. We wish that the reform of the European Citizens Initiative will foster debate and participation at European level, including of young people.

Standing up for our “togetherness”. We are together in a community, the bedrock of which is the shared foundation of European values:  human rights, fundamental freedoms, democracy and the rule of law.  We are therefore deeply concerned by recent developments in Hungary and Poland, which pose serious threats to fundamental rights. Our democracies must preserve constitutional checks and balances. We are sensitive, in particular, to the separation of powers and the key role of supreme courts and constitutional courts in upholding the EU’s common values. We have been at the forefront of calling on the Commission to establish a comprehensive Union Pact for Democracy, the Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights (EU Pact DRF) that is objective, impartial, and evidence-based and applied equally and fairly to all Member States as well as to the institutions of the Union and which includes both a preventative and a corrective dimension.

Fostering media diversity and press freedom. The role of the media is critical in safeguarding democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights. The Socialists and Democrats are committed to ensure that the role of the press is respected and high-quality journalism is allowed to flourish. Therefore, we need to promote and strengthen quality investigative journalism, improve protection for journalists when they are under attack and reinforce co-operation between journalists and trade unions. We must ensure media pluralism and transparency on media ownership across the EU.

An information society protecting privacy and personal data. The Socialist and Democrats lead the way in shaping European rules on information society, to ensure that no EU citizen is exposed to abuses. National reforms on surveillance should be transparent and include all international and European safeguards. We remain committed to reinforce the rule of law in digital societies, ensure that victim support services are strengthened in criminal proceedings and effective legal remedies are in place along with effective oversight.

For a rights-based Union. Mismanaged globalisation has left whole sections of the population with no benefits, across countries and regions. We must ensure that welfare states, social cohesion, equality and inclusiveness are strengthened to cope with the multiple challenges posed by globalisation. We believe strongly that fundamental rights must take precedence over economic freedoms and that a strong Social Europe develops in the near future as it is the safety net of our democracy.

Against all forms of discrimination. We are pushing for an ambitious EU legislative agenda that ensures equal rights and opportunities for all citizens, regardless of their religious or political beliefs, gender or sexual orientation, social or ethnic origin. Full equality of women and men is an essential principle of the Union. The S&D Group demands that the Council unblocks the Anti-discrimination Directive and that the Commission uses its competences to the full to act on the Council of Europe recommendations on the fight against discrimination of LGBTI persons in the EU. See:

“Defending and strengthening democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights in Europe” is one of the priorities part of the “Building the Progressive Future Together” statement, debated during our event in Brussels on October 18-19. But the debate goes on. 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 add your thoughts to this topic.


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, debated during our event in Brussels on October 18-19. But the debate goes on. 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 add your thoughts to this topic.


Migration has become a key political issue for the European Union, following the large number of arrivals over the last few years. We have been deeply affected by the fate of children, women and men who are risking their lives to reach Europe, and have called repeatedly for a holistic approach to migration to counter populist and right wing scaremongering and their denials of the value of human life and dignity.
Saving lives is our first priority. The unfolding human tragedy in the Mediterranean Sea requires urgent solutions to deal with the large numbers of people seeking asylum in the European Union in a manner that is humane, managed and sustainable. Europe needs a common European Asylum System, which means the end of Dublin. The overhaul of the Dublin rules should create a permanent and binding centralised solidarity mechanism, based on relocation between Member States, with particular attention being paid to vulnerable persons such as women, children, LGBTI people, people with disabilities, and the elderly. In parallel, we must offer to those entitled to international protection an alternative safe and lawful access to the Union’s asylum system. A hotspot approach is not and cannot be the only EU response to the arrival of large numbers of refugees in Europe. We cannot avoid our share of responsibility by obliging third countries of transit to keep all those who would seek asylum in the EU. Relocation, resettlement, instruments of legal migration and measures addressing the root causes of irregular migration for a long-term and sustainable solution are critical.
Partnerships for development to address the root causes in close cooperation with countries of origin and transit. Irregular migration is a global phenomenon requiring a coordinated international response and the EU must take a human-rights-based lead in shaping it. We support a strong partnership between Europe and Africa and the efforts in the United Nations to tackle the root causes of migration in terms of improving the economic and social situation, strengthening democracy and the rule of law, and providing education and employment opportunities in countries of origin. We must improve development cooperation, conflict resolution, and stimulate inclusive and sustainable economic growth to ensure that people have a real chance of a better life in their homeland.
More focus on the integration of refugees and migrants.  We need more than just a plan for irregular migration. We believe in a diverse and multicultural Europe, which respects the fundamental rights and dignity of migrants and preserves social cohesion. We must be constantly seeking to improve the living conditions of migrants, the access to public services, decent employment, equal pay and social coverage for equal work, and integration measures at an EU and national level – especially to guarantee education and inclusion for the children of migrants. The EU also needs a more positive and harmonised approach to legal migration, attracting qualified professionals and offering genuine legal channels for those seeking a better future in Europe. We must also stand up and fight against the negative perception of migration that has become a powerful tool in the hands of populist and far right forces in Europe.  A well-managed migration system is an asset for the sustainable economic and social growth of our continent, and could even help in safeguarding the welfare state in several EU Member States.
Ensuring adequate financing. In order for the EU to achieve the above policy objectives, the EU budget is one of the best tools for responsibility sharing within the Union and boosting sustainable development in the EU neighbourhood. We have called for the mobilisation of additional financial resources for the 2018 budget. We need to establish an EU Search and Rescue Fund to save lives in the Mediterranean. We call for increased financial support to Member States for integration activities and believe that a significant percentage of the EU Fund for Asylum, Migration and Integration should be earmarked for integration. In parallel, we supported the mobilisation of up to EUR 44 billion under the European Fund for Sustainable Development to create decent jobs, boost growth and ensure stability in Africa and the EU’s neighbourhood. We continue to insist, however, that EU development aid should not be made conditional to cooperation on migration, that Member States honour their commitments in terms of pledges to Africa, and that private companies investing in Africa respect the principles of Corporate Social Responsibility and ILO norms.
“Asylum and Migration: Solidarity and Real Solutions” is one of the priorities part of the “Building the Progressive Future Together” statement, debated during our event in Brussels on October 18-19. But the debate goes on. 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 add your thoughts to this topic.

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