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Give social rights teeth by making objectives binding, S&Ds call on Commission and EU governments


15 Oct 2020



Speaking ahead of the presentation of her report, a strong social Europe for a Just Transition, in the European Parliament’s employment committee in the presence of Commissioner Nicolas Schmit, the European Trade Union Confederation and Business Europe, Agnes Jongerius, S&D MEP and spokesperson on employment issues and social affairs, said:

“Today, we decide in what kind of Europe we will live in, in 10 years. I want people to live in a Europe where all workers earn a living wage, all families can afford housing, and no child has to grow up in poverty. 

“This is why my group, the Socialists and Democrats, is fighting to ensure higher minimum wages for all Europeans, to put an end to precarious zero-hour contracts and better protect platform workers. We push for closing the gender pay gap and getting our young people into jobs by reinforcing the Youth Guarantee.

“All these rights are already enshrined in the European Pillar of Social Rights, but too often governments are only paying lip service to these noble principles. With inequalities on the rise, the fall-out of the Covid-19 pandemic hitting employment and livelihoods, and while the challenges of the green and digital transition continue, it is time to invest in people. Governments must now walk their talk. To finally make social rights a reality for all Europeans, we push for binding and enforceable targets for social and employment goals.

“The European Pillar of Social Rights must become tangible, binding and enforceable. In 2021, it is high time for concluding a Porto Agenda, which will finally give social rights some teeth. By giving social objectives legal enforceability, adopting clear and mandatory targets for social sustainability, coming up with a governance framework to ensure we keep on track, and by dedicating sufficient financial support and investments, real social progress is within reach. This is why we want the EU Commission and EU governments to commit to binding targets for 2030 such as halving youth unemployment, ensuring men and women are equally paid, and all people have access to affordable housing. We call on the Commission and EU governments to join our fight for living wages, decent work and robust welfare. That is what people deserve.”

Note to the editor:

The presentation of the report on a strong social Europe for a Just Transition will be livestreamed today as of 9:10 here.

The European Pillar of Social Rights was jointly endorsed in November 2017 by the Council, Commission and Parliament. Since then, the challenge has been how to concretely implement and guarantee the 20 principles. The Commission has committed to come up with an Action Plan in early 2021. The Socialists and Democrats are pushing for tangible, binding and enforceable social rights to be adopted at the Porto Summit in May 2021.