FOR A UNITED SOCIAL EUROPE - Bridging beyond divides, offering an alternative

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FOR A UNITED SOCIAL EUROPE
Bridging beyond divides, offering an alternative

 

We have been striving for decades to realise an ideal Union that delivers peace and prosperity, that empowers and protects citizens, that takes its responsibility worldwide and contributes to the global sustainable development. We are proud of our legacy and it makes us even more determined to make sure to stand today for a United Social Europe, bridging beyond divides and offering an alternative.

 

The European Union finds itself at an historical crossroads. Over the past five years, the EU has held its breath over the euro crisis, was shaken by rising populism, migration challenges, terrorist threats, as well as the insecurities resulting from Brexit. As crisis mode became the new normal, the notion of European solidarity between Member States is losing its meaning. Some Member States chose to channel their respective involvement away from a common project and to care only about particular immediate interests. Such an EU can neither persevere nor deliver nor give hope to citizens. Many people still feel European at heart, but they do not see the Union as the umbrella that effectively brings them together. Reconnecting TOGETHER states, regions, communities and individuals and articulating jointly a CALL to Europe is what brought us to Krakow, a city which stands at the crossroads of diversities and creativity. Working together is indispensable, in order to tackle common challenges. Our strong belief is that through dialogue, through forging mutual understanding and offering each other support we can and we will make a difference!

 

First, the European Union must be reinforced as a Community that was built on and derives its strength from core values. These are equality, freedom and solidarity; alongside the core principles deriving from them: peace, democracy, rule of law and social justice. These values and principles form the foundation of free, tolerant and just societies. Consequently, there can be no tolerance of those who go against these standards, who attack democratic institutions, who undermine fundamental rights and who propagate hatred and polarisation. We will pursue that battle united on all levels – international, European, national and local – and we will not shy away from taking it on in all its disguises.  Whether it is in the ugly face of extremists and radicals, that instigate aggression among the citizens or the danger deriving from targeted misinformation practices, fake news and invasion of privacy rights. We will always protect media freedom and we rebuke without compromise any attacks on independent civil society.

 

Secondly, the European Union must continue embodying a promise of shared welfare, prosperity and equal opportunities for all. This means that regardless of origin, place of residence, gender, skin colour, age, belief, sexual orientation, education or any other factor,everyone should be entitled to live a prosperous life; to feel secure, supported and empowered to contribute to the society one lives in; to have chances to learn and study, as well as to engage in a meaningful decent job. With that as a mission, we will pursue ways in which the EU could ensure that everyone is indeed treated in the same way across the European labour market; that the competition is not a race to the bottom in terms of wages, but about boosting productivity by ensuring investment in people, and race to the top in terms of providing decent working conditions; that social protection and public services, including healthcare and right to pension is sufficient, making Europe live up to its trademark of being the most equitable social model in the world. For that we will also enhance efforts in terms of education, investing especially in childcare and European opportunities of programmes such as Erasmus+; we will actively fight against discrimination and provide rules on measures to better balance private and professional lives; and we will deliver on the promises of Gothenburg Summit and the agenda of the European Pillar of Social Rights. We must ensure that “no one is left behind” in this process.

 

Thirdly, the European Union must continue to act with solidarity and as a responsible member of the international community. That starts with upholding the pledge that has been made in the agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals. We must lead by example and not be discouraged by the withdrawal of others – pursuing the agreements that have already been made in 2015 Paris during the United Nations Climate Change Conference and reiterate them at the next round in Katowice. To that end, while safeguarding our own security, we have to make Europe much less self-centred and much more outward looking – building bridges and setting standards in relation to our neighbours, implementing global agreements on refugees and deepening efforts in terms of both aid, development and ambitious fair trade policies.

 

A European Union that is democratic and value anchored; social and prosperous; internationalist and engaged, is the one we want to build TOGETHER. This motivates “A Call to Europe” that we address herewith to all Europeans – regardless of where they live, their gender or generation – to join us and help make it happen!

Join the debate and become our next TOGETHER Ambassador!

Debate



A particularity of the European integration project, kickstarted in the 1950s is that, unlike any other project before this, at its core does not have a shared political or ethnic identity, but rather shared values. While the union of the USA was started out of a shared ethnic and political history, the European Union started as a union of values. European countries decided to get close together on the basis of the same values we all share. With time, the European model differentiated itself from the American one: universal healthcare, gun control, accessible education also at the university level are only some of the differences. These were all initiated by the deep belief in social equality and other social values that constituted the basis of the social-democratic movement around Europe. Nowadays these are so deeply rooted in our system and culture that no political party would attempt to undermine them. Nevertheless the basis that united the European countries is now being lost and being forgotten. This is contributing to create a crisis in the union. Only going back to our uniting values will help the EU to overcome this moment of crisis. Only if we decide to build even more the United Social Europe will we be able to prosper again and overcome this dire period. The United Social Europe can only start after the Social-Democratic movement will restate and truly coordinate itself at the European level rather than the National one. It is more and more necessary to show a united face and to state again what are the values of the movement that, due to the turbulent political climate, are being lost of sight. Starting the renewed social-democratic movement that at its core does not have only social justice and equality, but also transparency and Europe will be the basis for a new spring of social-democracy and for the renewal of the United Social Europe project that, for too long, has been decaying. It is time to bring clarity on Social-Democracy and what being a European Social-Democrat is, it is time for transparency and clarity, fundamental more than ever to have a bright future.

1 month, 2 weeks ago in FOR A UNITED SOCIAL EUROPE
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Mutualise the risk of unemployment at the European level is a complicated task but it is possible. Indeed, Europe could promote an high protection of that risk by developing, first, harmonisation on unemployment insurances conditions. It would concern : the length of the indemnisation, but also the control methods and much more important the way the person unemployed is taking care of. Because of course, unemployed people are persons, human beings. And European socialists should see them like as fragile people, not as thief, like some right wing parties across Europe do. When the harmonisation is over, or that differences between Member States are so huge that it is impossible to harmonise, the EU should unify. By setting a percentage of monthly indemnisation in regard of the previous salary. It should be set on the higher scale, so that no country has to lower its protection. It should also be part of a new fund, that would fit into cohesion and solidarity objectives of the EU and that would coexists with the actual funds. This amount of money would go to the support of the unemployed person (new formation, personal counselor, better information on workers and unemployed people rights) and to active way to fight unemployment, such as the french initiative “territoire zéro chômage”. Finally, this amount of money would be coming from the workers cotisations, the member states and new taxations, for instance by establishing a bonus malus for companies if they choose to hire workers on fixed-term contract or permanent contract. The EU must protect its citizens from social risks, and I could write other proposals, such as health care for everyone, working conditions, especially with work accidents, or democracy inside the companies. By protecting them, the EU would contribute to build a better European citizenship, and would finally enhance its role as a welfare union.

6 months, 3 weeks ago in FOR A UNITED SOCIAL EUROPE
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A Europa está rodeada de crises e passou a ser ela própria a crise – produtora de crises – com contradições insanáveis e clivagens na geografia dos povos, que conduz à desconfiança e rejeição do projecto de unidade europeia. E com as elites europeias burocratas sem pensamento político e sem visão de conjunto sobre o futuro, com os “interesses comuns” deslaçados ou inexistentes, não é possível evitar a sua fragmentação. É um desafio à sua relevância e à segurança. Como refere o Presidente da República, a “UE tem de agir para antecipar crises”. Os líderes autistas das instituições europeias não sabem lidar com as incertezas do mundo de hoje e deviam saber encarar as Forças Armadas (FA) como importante instrumento da segurança nacional e de uma política externa com dimensão, numa fase em que a Aliança Atlântica está em causa. Só assim é possível responder às complexas ameaças, que ultrapassam as fronteiras geográficas. A renovação da arquitectura de defesa da UE constitui uma prioridade, sem condicionar a soberania da intervenção autónoma dos Estados-membros, e tendo presente que a Defesa Nacional não é um milagre! Uma das soluções para que a UE possa contribuir para a produção de segurança global é passar a ser um actor credível na ordem internacional, principalmente pelo apoio à construção de alianças regionais e globais mais consistentes – dando prioridade à parceria estratégica com África. Por outro lado, tem de promover o investimento em instituições internacionais de forma a transformar-se numa UE com maior nível de integração, melhor coesão política dos Estados-membros e uma verdadeira política de segurança e defesa, que não passa pela criação de um Exército europeu, mas sim complementar da Aliança Atlântica. A democracia reclama um modelo de sociedade assente na vocação cívica e escolhas de cidadania mais lúcidas. É essa que justifica, para os cidadãos, os direitos e os deveres de participação democrática. A cidadania tem que incutir estas responsabilidades, ou seja, o sentimento de comunidade que fundamenta direitos e deveres recíprocos e não o inverso. A construção europeia só pode ter futuro se as decisões europeias forem aceites como legítimas pelos povos. Aquelas decisões requerem melhores políticas públicas, esforço de negociação e compromissos, porque partem duma grande diversidade de interesses. E, por isso, têm de ser percepcionados como vantajosos pelos Estados-membros envolvidos. São necessários verdadeiros europeístas e estadistas convictos. Enfrentamos hoje um momento crítico. Temos de decidir o caminho a escolher. As divisões políticas internas persistem intactas, a recuperação económica parece demasiado frágil e os extremismos populistas antieuropeus crescem por toda a parte. Para inverter a dinâmica de fragmentação regional, os responsáveis políticos portugueses e europeus precisam de reinventar a aliança entre a democracia liberal, a inovação económica e a integração regional. O Ocidente está em decadência mas o declínio da UE não é inevitável. Penso que a alteração e progresso da Europa passará pela regulação do poder financeiro, para que a banca e algumas elites à escala nacional e europeia não inviabilizem o futuro dos estados comunitários. Não é de todo justo os países do sul serem sujeitos à criação de desafios constantes para países mais desenvolvidos financiarem soluções criando assim relações de interdependência que não potencializam verdadeiramente a politica de coesão com a ideia de unidade na diversidade sendo esta a verdadeira premissa que fundamentou o projecto europeu.

6 months, 2 weeks ago in FOR A UNITED SOCIAL EUROPE
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Profile photo of Filipa Filipa

Labor conditions are topics as old as history, always evolving and always in need for improvements. When we are talking on labor rights, we just don’t think on a group of people who are asking better conditions. It is our duty as a society, as politicians, to lead to better policies. When we are thinking of workers, we need to go through their struggle and their efforts to make a living, we need to see that the corporates can give more of their share, for a fair and better living of those who have less opportunities. When we think of workers, we should all and foremost see if those salaries are enough for them to make a better living or it is just a means to survive. We need to go through the struggle that workers have to go to their workplace, the conditions that the workers have at the work place. We have to reach their struggles and see if we are sending back home individuals who are not afraid of losing their jobs and are not affected psychologically by different factors. We as progressives, when we work and think every day about our future policies hold always in our minds, that fairer labor conditions, our solidarity with workers and our focus on social rights means better societies as well, happier and safer families, happier individuals and as a result more social security and secure societies. These are the things we are fighting for! We cannot go to better conditions of society, if we don’t put an effort on the above mentioned…

6 months, 2 weeks ago in FOR A UNITED SOCIAL EUROPE
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In the 21st century the ongoing information technology revolution changes the nature of working. Even the specialized workers need increasingly computer skills and the ability to adapt to new technological environments. in the meantime there is a growing gap between the richest and the increasing number of poor people. One of the most important task for a government nowadays is to make education accessible for all, and to provide social support for the people who have no means for pursuing studies. In Hungary, the current processes show unfortunately in the opposite direction. The government lowered the age of compulsory education from 18 years to 16 ys, thus a growing number of young people drop out from the educational system without any qualification and also without the capability to study further at any later time in life. The public work program of the Hungarian government created a catch 22 situation. The payment for it is too small for providing the living, but big enough for the parents in the poor countryside regions that they let their children do it. But it is a dead-end way, statistics show that very small percentage of public workers can move over to the real job market due to the lack of efficient training programs and in most of the cases useless tasks during the public work. it even contributes to the revival of a kind of feudalistic structure where local leaders can abuse the system of public work, and even maintain their political support with threatening of taking away even this “opportunity”. We have to change it. Education, be it public or higher level has to become the focus of a future government. Autonomy should be given back to the public schools, and universities. Without educational freedom and autonomy of academic research there is no long term development. In order to be able to compete globally, the European Union could set up basic standards of education that the member states should apply. I know that currently education is handled mostly by the member states, but if we can set minimum quality standards for agricultural products, why not to do it in a different field, as well? If we want a Europe with more cohesion, we have to harmonize our attitudes towards education, and to intensify exchange programs. Europe has a great source of best practices, we should adapt them to allow our continent to become a competent, and also sustainable global actor, and to reach more equality among its citizens.

6 months, 2 weeks ago in FOR A UNITED SOCIAL EUROPE
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6 months, 3 weeks ago in FOR A UNITED SOCIAL EUROPE
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