PES ministers: gender equality must be high on EU agenda during second half of 2021
As Europe eases COVID-19 restrictions and the Conference on the Future of Europe gets under way, gender equality must be high on the EU agenda for the second half of 2021, PES ministers and state secretaries for gender equality agreed today.
Meeting online with Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli, ministers and state secretaries took stock of the status of women’s right across Europe before the summer. They exchanged with Portuguese Minister Mariana Vieira da Silva about the past six months of the Portuguese socialist government in charge of the Council of the EU presidency. The meeting noted the presidency’s successful work on the Social Summit in Porto and commended its commitment and execution with regards to furthering gender equality.
The participants agreed that the next six months will be crucial for maintaining the momentum for gender equality efforts in Europe. This will include building on the success of Porto and implementing the Social Pillar, ensuring gender-sensitive recovery measures in all member states, and delivering on the Commission’s ambitions to introduce pay transparency and initiatives to combat hate speech and gender-based violence.
PES Women President and chair of the meeting Zita Gurmai said:
“We are lucky to have had two strong Council presidencies in the last year, where the gender equality portfolio has been in the hands of progressives and feminists. The economic and social effects of the pandemic on women’s and minorities’ wellbeing are far from over, and we must make sure gender equality remains on the EU’s agenda.
“We are seeing a growing anti-gender equality backlash from European conservatives, and we progressives are fighting to make sure that all of Europe is building back better after the pandemic, with more social rights and equality not less! We in the PES political family will continue to push for a social and feminist Europe in 2021 and beyond, including in the context of the Conference on the Future of Europe.”
The meeting also exchanged with the party leader of SD Slovenia, MEP Tanja Fajon, about the upcoming Slovenian Council presidency.
Zita Gurmai added:
“While the Slovenian government committed to advancing gender equality in the Trio Presidency declaration, we are worried that the efforts and advancements of the last year by the German and Portuguese presidencies will stagnate or even reverse, especially if the Janşa-government continues to move more and more towards the extreme right. Together with our progressive governments and Slovenian member party, we will stay vigilant and make sure gender equality, women’s rights and democracy are not being side-lined. We will demand accountability for European values and gender equality as a core principle.”
The meeting was attended by:
- Zita Gurmai, PES Women President, Hungary
- Marja Bijl, PES Women Vice-President, Netherlands
- Helena Dalli, European Commissioner for Equality, Malta
- Mariana Vieira da Silva, Minister of State for the Presidency, Portugal
- Edward Zammit Lewis, Minister for Justice, Equality and Governance, Malta
- Vesa Vuorenkoski, State Secretary for European Affairs and Ownership Steering, Finland
- Rosa Monteiro, State Secretary for Citizenship and Equality, Portugal
- Tanja Fajon, S&D MEP, Leader Socialni Demokrati Slovenia, Slovenia