PES ministers call for urgent action to address social impacts of rising energy prices

12/10/2021

Rising energy prices are a threat to the wellbeing of citizens. Action to address the social consequences of unaffordable gas and electricity is urgently needed, PES Employment and Social Affairs (EPSCO) Ministers agreed today.

Ministers from Portugal, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Luxembourg and Sweden convened online with European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit, Members of the European Parliament and others to coordinate before the EPSCO Council later this week.

Meeting Chair, Portuguese Deputy Minister of Labour and Vocational Training, Miguel Cabrita said:

“Rising costs are not only an issue for our energy minister colleagues. This change is also causing real social hardship for citizens and has negative impacts in companies and businesses.

“Energy prices have risen substantially across all Member States recently. It has triggered a lot of wider issues, because energy costs are a big part of household expenses and may drive goods prices upwards. The negative effects are particularly acute for the less wealthy, many of whom are already struggling because of the economic and social effects of the pandemic.

“Our socialist message is energy policy must deliver fairness, not worsen inequalities. This is true when it comes to the green transition. And it is equally true when it comes to citizens’ energy bills.

“There have been different responses from different Member States. But it is increasingly clear that this issue is a problem for all of us. We need to also find solutions together, as Europeans.”

The meeting also discussed other socialist and democratic priorities in the employment and social affairs portfolio, including adequate minimum wages and the need to ensure social concerns are not overlooked within the policy debate around the European Semester.  

The meeting was attended by:

  • Miguel Cabrita, Chair and Deputy Minister of Labour and Vocational Training, Portugal
  • Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, European Commission
  • Tomas Novotny, Deputy Vice Minister, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Czech Republic
  • Ville Kopra, State Secretary, Ministry for Labour, Finland
  • Dr Rolf Schmachtenberg, State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Germany
  • Romain Schneider, Minister of Social Security, Luxembourg
  • Rasmus Cruce Naeye, State Secretary for Employment, Sweden
  • Pedro Marques, MEP, Vice-president of the S&D Group in the European Parliament, PES-S&D Coordinator on the implementation of the progressive Commission work programme
  • Agnes Jongerius, MEP, EMPL Coordinator, S&D Group in the European Parliament, Chair of PES Social Europe Network
  • Luca Visentini, General Secretary, ETUC
  • Liina Carr, Confederal Secretary, ETUC
  • Yonnec Polet, Deputy Secretary General, PES