PES EPSCO: ambitious Porto Social Forum must guide Europe to a fairer future

PES EPSCO: ambitious Porto Social Forum must guide Europe to a fairer future

The EU must use the Porto Social Forum next month to ensure Europe is on track to achieve the ambitious social targets set two years ago at the Porto Social Summit.

In 2017, thanks to a progressive government led by then Prime Minister of Sweden Stefan Löfven, the Social Summit in Gothenburg placed social issues firmly on the European agenda by proclaiming the European Pillar of Social Rights. This was followed up in 2021 with the Porto Social Summit – an initiative of progressive Prime Minister of Portugal António Costa – which built on this achievement by introducing actionable commitments and concrete headline targets.

European socialists are committed to keeping social priorities high on the EU agenda. This edition of the Social Forum, with the support of the European Commission, will focus particularly on the European Year of Skills, the role of EU social values in EU enlargement and Europe’s role in the world.

Portuguese Minister of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security Ana Mendes Godinho said:

“Thanks to PES-led governments, the Social Summit in Gothenburg in 2017 and the Social Summit in Porto in 2021 led to landmark progress on social rights in Europe. The upcoming Social Forum is the next milestone on the journey to fairer societies and we want it to become a permanent, regular feature of the EU agenda.

“Two years after Porto, the Porto Social Commitment is still alive and so is the will to maintain the spirit that created it. The PES political family will be well-represented in Porto to show our commitment to building a truly social Europe that raises living standards, improves working conditions and delivers for people.”

Last month, the PES Presidency adopted a declaration on the PES Social Forum – Porto Social Forum 2023: building bridges to a better future – setting out progressive aspirations for the event next month.

Ahead of the EU-level Porto Social Forum, the PES will organise a side event in cooperation with PS Portugal – the PES Social Summit – to further raise the profile of social issues in the EU debate.

The PES EPSCO meeting also exchanged on the Directive on improving working conditions in platform work. Ministers pledged to work for the adoption of an ambitious Directive during this mandate, beginning with swift agreement on an ambitious Council position. Regarding the platform work directive, Ana Mendes Godinho made clear that it is paramount to push for a high level of workers’ protection, stand firm against excessive derogations and prevent the watering down of the Directive through improper use of suspensive effects.

“Platform workers should not be at the mercy of an algorithm with no recourse. We fight for human oversight of algorithmic decisions and to make sure that platform workers enjoy the same social rights as other types of workers.”

The meeting further welcomed the recent adoption of the Directive on pay transparency, which the PES family has fought for to empower workers and to battle against gender-based discrimination.

The meeting was attended by:

  • Ana Mendes Godinho, Chair and Minister of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security, Portugal
  • Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, European Commission
  • Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen, Minister for Employment, Denmark
  • Ville Kopra, State Secretary to the Minister for Employment, Finland
  • Rolf Schmachtenberg, State Secretary at the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Germany
  • Miguel Fontes, Secretary of State for Labour, Portugal
  • Marius Budai, Minister for Labour and Social Solidarity Protection, Romania
  • Agnes Jongerius, EMPL Coordinator, Member of the European Parliament, S&D
  • Esther Lynch, General Secretary, ETUC
  • Yonnec Polet, Deputy Secretary General, PES