PES welcomes European pillar of social rights, but highlights work still to do

PES welcomes European pillar of social rights, but highlights work still to do

The Commission published yesterday its first proposals for the European pillar of social rights and the future of social policies in Europe. The PES was expecting the proposal to be more in depth and more ambitious. The Commission identifies the right challenges, but we still miss the concrete measures to address them – with the exception of a very welcome proposal on parental leave.

Despite this, we welcome this social package, as it finally opens an official debate about a more social Europe.

PES President Sergei Stanishev said:

“The EU is at a defining moment. The proposal for a social pillar must go beyond nice words to offer real improvements to the daily lives of our citizens.

“Our aims for the pillar are crystal clear: to strengthen existing rights and guarantee decent jobs for all, to rebalance economic freedoms with strong social rights, and to extend social protection to all forms of employment, including those resulting from the digital revolution.”

The PES will scrutinise the development of the European Pillar of Social Rights to make sure that President Juncker delivers on his promise of a social triple A.

We laid out our proposals and expectations in an open letter to the Commission president, signed by Sergei Stanishev together with ministers Nicolas Schmit and Pier Carlo Padoan, and MEPs Maria João Rodrigues and Pervenche Berès. Employment and social ministers also issued a declaration in March this year. These positions will serve as the reference to measure the progress accomplished.

Mr Stanishev added:

“Citizens feel that they are losing control of their lives due to globalisation, the digital revolution and austerity measures. The pillar of social rights offers an opportunity to prove that the European Union provides them with an additional safety net and security.

“It is crucial to deliver on this promise. To do this, we will work closely with trade unions, workers’ organisations, PES Women and all progressive organisations which safeguard the rights of employees, women, children – everyone who needs social stability and protection.”

We look forward to the European Social Summit, announced by the Swedish government and the European Commission for 17 November 2017. We expect the summit to define a clear social path for Europe.

Progress towards a genuine social pillar will also be closely monitored by the PES’s new high-level working group on the future of Europe, chaired jointly by Mr Stanishev and Gianni Pittella MEP, leader of the S&D group in the European Parliament.