PES GAC backs greater European coordination on COVID-19 response

PES GAC backs greater European coordination on COVID-19 response

On the meeting agenda: COVID-19, the Conference on the Future of Europe and the Porto Summit and the continuing progressive push for Social Europe.

PES GAC Chair and German Minister of State for Europe, Michael Roth, said:

“We are seeing welcome progress at the EU level on vaccine supply, but this is just one strand of our response to this virus.

“I welcome the Commission’s proposal on the Digital Green Certificate, which should be another key aspect of our response. Freedom of movement is a core principle of the EU, and it must be safely restored for all citizens as soon as possible. The certificate should encompass vaccinations, recovery and negative tests. Between complete shutdown and lifting all restrictions, we need to find smart solutions and the certificate is part of the solution. As we approach the summer tourist season, it is important that we put all our efforts into taming the virus and protecting the rights and health of all citizens.”

Alongside discussion on COVID-19, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit attended the meeting to exchange on the European Pillar of Social Rights and preparations for the Porto Summit.

Michael Roth, added:

“A strong Social Europe has been a central pillar of our agenda for many years. Thanks to Commissioner Schmit we have an Action Plan to deliver it and we are eagerly looking ahead to the Porto Summit. This is the moment for the EU to take a social turn, for the recovery and Europe’s longer-term future.”

PES Europe ministers agreed that the Summit, initiated by Portuguese Prime Minister Costa, will mark a crucial step in the progressive fight for strong social rights in Europe.

Since the proclamation of the Pillar of Social Rights at the 2017 Gothenburg Summit hosted by Swedish Prime Minister Löfven, the PES – particularly PES EPSCO ministers – have fought hard for an action plan to implement the Pillar’s principles in full, for the benefit of all citizens.

The meeting welcomed progress on the Conference on the Future of Europe and the joint declaration signed by the presidents of the European Parliament, Rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU, and the European Commission. This milestone was reached thanks to the sustained efforts of the Portuguese Presidency, and the continued commitment of the S&D in the European Parliament.

The meeting welcomed the confirmation that S&D President Iratxe Garcia will represent the S&D on the board of the Conference.

The meeting was attended by:

  • Michael Roth, Chair, Minister of State for Europe, Germany
  • Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, European Commission
  • Ales Chmelař, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, Czech Republic
  • Vincenzo Amendola, Undersecretary of State, delegated to European Affairs, Italy
  • Ana Paula Zacarias, State Secretary for European Affairs, Portugal
  • Juan Gonzalez-Barba, Secretary of State for the European Union, Spain
  • Hans Dahlgren, Minister for European Affairs, Sweden
  • Pedro Marques, PES/S&D Coordinator for the implementation of our progressive Commission Work Programme, MEP, S&D Group Vice President
  • Yonnec Polet, Deputy Secretary General, PES