Presidency reaffirms fight against gender inequality and racism

Presidency reaffirms fight against gender inequality and racism

At the meeting, PES Women Vice-President Marja Bijl briefed the Presidency on PES Women’s call for the creation of a formal Council configuration for Gender Equality.

This has been a key priority for PES Women for many years, but recent events have highlighted again the strong need for a dedicated forum where gender equality ministers and state secretaries can come together and coordinate their efforts at the European level.

PES Women Vice-President Marja Bijl said:

“To achieve the full potential of the Commission’s EU Gender Equality Strategy, it is clear institutional structures are needed to focus the Council’s attention on advancing women’s rights. There are ten Council configurations, but not one which is focused on the fight for equality for half of Europe’s population. It is time EU leaders backed a Gender Equality Council so we can make real progress.”

The Presidency also adopted a declaration – The PES stands strong against racism, xenophobia and discrimination ­ – expressing solidarity with people campaigning across the world to end discrimination and racism. The socialist and democratic family is a committed ally in this fight.

 PES President Sergei Stanishev said:

“We have far more in common with each other than things that divide us. These are the words of the late UK Labour MP Jo Cox, who was murdered by a far-right terrorist four years ago this month. We remember her. And we continue the fight for the values she stood for. The PES believes in equal and inclusive societies. The declaration we have adopted today reaffirms that. We are horrified at the killing of George Floyd in the USA and strongly condemn discriminatory and violent police practices. We are committed to fighting the racism that continues to plague our societies, including here in Europe.”

Members of the Presidency convened by videoconference, adopting two other declarations settings out the positions and ambitions of the European socialist and democratic family.

The first declaration – Saving lives, saving jobs – PES strategy to contain and recover from the COVID-19 crisis ­– focuses on achieving a fair and sustainable recovery, and the second declaration – Affordable quality healthcare for all ­– sets out progressive aims to guarantee universal access to affordable and quality healthcare to all citizens.