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Let´s act Together!

Unfair right-wing politics have focused for too long on the interests of the super-rich and the big corporations. Faced with falling living standards, growing job insecurity and shrinking public services, people across Europe are under increasing strain. Europe is a very rich continent, but that means little when many people do not benefit from that wealth. These are not just words: The number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion stands at an incredible 118 million persons or 23,5% of the EU population. Almost 25 million children are at risk of poverty or social exclusion. Child poverty means going to school on an empty stomach, feeling stressed because parents cannot pay the rent and spending winter months in cold homes.

While the rich get richer, the number of workers with fixed-term and part-time contracts, often involuntary, has increased over the past 15 years. Labour rights have been curtailed and uncertainty has increased through new forms of employment, precarious work agreements and employment contracts where the number of working hours is not specified. For many there is little way of social protection and little or no prospect of advancement in the labour market. In these instances, work does not provide people with neither security nor fulfilment. There is a growing sense of anxiety and disillusionment as many feel they are asked to do more while being paid less.

We need strong and unwavering commitment at EU, member state and local level to change these injustices. More fairness means a happier, healthier, and more successful population. Nobody should be left behind. Europe must have a core that looks after its workers, its children, its youth and the most vulnerable. We need to work harder to improve the social conditions of the many against the greed of the few. For a future where every child in Europe has an equal opportunity to grow and prosper. Where all people living in Europe can thrive regardless of ethnic background and free of all forms of discrimination.

So let’s build a fairer Europe where everybody is able to get on in life with security at work, to be decently paid for the work we do, and to live our lives with the dignity we all deserve. Let’s give everyone the best chance to succeed and contribute to society. Together we can shape a Europe that is inclusive, open, just, sustainable and that works for the many and not just for the privileged few, putting solidarity into practice. Together we stand for:

Fair working conditions for all! 

Helping children stay out of poverty!

Eradicating discrimination and creating equal conditions for all! 

To deliver on all these fronts, we need a strong Europe equipped with effective financial instruments accessible to regional and local authorities. The European Social Fund remains an essential tool for promoting social justice and as such, it needs to be endowed with an ambitious budget.

We are determined to deliver a fairer, solidary and cohesive society, where the many can grow and prosper together!

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In a globalised world companies and businesses need to be able and ready to adapt to the rapidly changing labour market environment, where economic uncertainty discourages firms to have a rigid structure. This results in a variable and adjustable economic system, often generating labour and social precariousness as a negative externality. Through the Lisbon Strategy and the following Europe 2020 approach, the European Commission chose to tackle this with the flexicurity approach, combining labour market flexibility with employment security. To date, it is clear that the balance is asymmetric, it is evident that social stability is struggling. To re-balance this equilibrium is crucial in order to avoid the expansion of other harmful consequences, such as discrimination and unequal conditions. These can only be tackled by a multi-level approach, entailing the following elements: 1) Education: investments and reforms to make school systems more inclusive, modern, accessible for everyone, more updated with the changing labour market and foreseeing an upward re-evaluation of professors. After all, the economic health of a community depends on its human capital. 2) Women: to invest on women participation to the labour market, avoiding any salary discrimination and reducing the pay gap between men and women. Since flexibility leads to shorter-term contracts, parental leave shall be made mandatory also for men, in order to avoid existent obstacles to the hiring of women for short-term jobs. 3) Migrants: good governance means also to be able to turn challenges into useful resources. Migrants are potentially creators of jobs, contributors to GDP and pension funds. They can reverse the negative demographic trend across Europe, and they represent a chance for Europeans to gain from diversity and integration. 4) Fiscalism: social security can be financially ensured also by more progressive tax systems, boosting social equality through income redistribution. At the same time, it is important to establish tax incentives to firms which hires youngsters with permanent contracts, with the aim of tackling precariousness. I am aware that these targeted measures fall mostly under Member States competences, but European political and regulatory framework can push and direct national legislation in that direction. It is crucial. If it is true that prosperous economies are those able to adapt to global economic trends, it is also true that successful and sustainable societies are those who achieve social security, inclusive education and integration systems and gender equality. Only a balanced and symmetrical flexicurity system can be the key for social progresses and healthy democracies.

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