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SOTEU: Iratxe García urges von der Leyen to strengthen social protection for citizens


13 Sep 2023


Global Europe

Today, during the debate on the State of the European Unionthe leader of the Group of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, Iratxe García MEP, asked Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to show stronger commitment to implement the Social Pillar.

Iratxe García thanked the Commission President for the positive cooperation between the College of Commissioners and the S&D Group, based on the progressive initiatives included in the Commission working programme, such as the Green Deal and gender equality. However, the S&D leader said the Group will remain vigilant on delivery and demanded stronger action in some areas, including the Green Deal, the Social Pillar, plus economic governance and the Migration Pact.

Iratxe García said:

“Compared to the response to the financial crisis in 2008 – with the austerity policy imposed by the right – the response to the pandemic and to the consequences of Russia's war against Ukraine, led by social democracy, has been marked by unity and solidarity."

The S&Ds had called on the Commission President to explicitly support the Green Deal pending files, and during the debate Iratxe García told Ursula von der Leyen: “It is essential that you have broken your silence on the ecological transition and on the Nature Restoration and Air Quality laws. We will do our utmost to make sure that these statements are fulfilled.”

Iratxe García added:

“I would have liked to hear a stronger commitment to the Social Pillar. Inflation, high interest rates and the rise in mortgage prices make it difficult for people to fulfil their life project. Public housing is a right, not a good to speculate with. The EU must also ensure equal gender pay and opportunities, a minimum vital income and an anti-poverty strategy with binding objectives.”

On women’s rights, García called on the Commission to take a step forward “because the moment has come to include violence against women into the list of crimes of the European Union”.

Lastly, Iratxe García called on the European People's Party (EPP) Group chair Manfred Weber to be consistent and “stop talking about the von der Leyen majority when the EPP is reaching agreements with the far right in several member states and trying to build majorities with them in this Parliament”.


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