Social Europe Network: Supporting employment must be the priority as lockdown eases

Social Europe Network: Supporting employment must be the priority as lockdown eases

The Party of European Socialists’ Social Europe Network (SEN) – which brings together MEPs, representatives from PES member parties and organisations – convened to discuss how Europe moves out of the COVID-19 crisis and towards a fair and sustainable recovery for all.

The meeting chair, S&D EMPL coordinator Agnes Jongerius MEP, said:

“The effects of this crisis will be long lasting, our societies after COVID-19 will not be the same. We will need to anticipate and shape this change. Right now, we must meet the growing challenge around unemployment and its social consequences, particularly for the younger generation.

“Lockdowns are being eased, but we cannot just expect a return to the pre-crisis world. It is time to invest more in public services, to put people’s wellbeing and solidarity back at the heart of policymaking. We must implement policies now to shelter our citizens and their jobs from this crisis. This means short term work schemes, minimum income schemes, large and inclusive education and training programmes, and support for the digital and environmental transitions. We cannot ignore the acute impact on young people either. Our political family pioneered the Youth Guarantee and this crisis requires further action now to support young people into employment, education and training.

“In this unprecedented period, we commend the work of all the progressive commissioners who are working to make the recovery fair and sustainable. They are showing that progressives are up to this challenge, that we have solutions to offer.”

Since the end of March, the PES has been preparing and exchanging with its members, ministers and Commissioners on a series of policy documents. These proposals contain solid short- and long-term measures to address the health, social and economic dimension of this crisis and make sure the recovery also prepares the EU for the future. The meeting discussed affordable and quality healthcare for all, shifting towards a society of wellbeing, putting into practice the European Pillar of Social Rights, and the PES Recovery Plan.