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Porto Agenda for social rights: it is time to fulfil Europe’s promise again


16 Nov 2020


Social Europe & Jobs

This afternoon, the European Parliament’s employment committee will vote on the report by co-rapporteurs S&D MEP Agnes Jongerius and MEP Dennis Radtke: ‘A strong social Europe for a just transition’, which sets out the Parliament’s ambitions for Europe’s social agenda. The Socialists and Democrats have been working hard to first set up and then implement the European Pillar of Social Rights, whose objectives they now want to make binding for member states. 

Agnes Jongerius, S&D spokesperson for employment and author of the parliamentary report, a strong social Europe, said:

“Europe’s promise was: if you work hard, you will have a good life. And it became true. For many decades, millions of people lived in peace and prosperity, they studied and worked hard, and then could earn a decent salary, afford a house, raise their children. Today, Europe’s promise is broken. Now, the Covid-19 pandemic threatens to unleash a social emergency with people losing their livelihoods, workers facing more precarious working conditions, increasing inequalities, families falling into poverty. We need to step up with the green transition, and be prepared for digitalisation. I am deeply convinced this can only be done in a just way, embedded in social investment in people. 

“Today, it is time to restore Europe’s promise. With our social rights agenda we want to build a dam to protect people from the storm waves these earthquakes have unleashed. We want governments to commit to concrete social objectives such as halving youth unemployment, ensuring men and women are paid equally, or guaranteeing access to affordable housing for all. Everyone must be able to live off their work. This is why we fight for decent minimum wages and ensuring that workers in the digital economy benefit from the same rights. 

“For years, the EU and governments have focused on economic policies, putting the liberties of the internal market above workers’ rights. It’s long over-due to follow the call of trade unions and the worker’s movement to finally put social objectives on par with economic goals. We call for a Porto Agenda to define binding targets for member states to decrease inequalities in our societies. Europe must become the protective force of workers to fulfil its promise again.”