In the framework of the Conference on the Future of Europe, citizens, civil society representatives and elected members from across Europe last night endorsed a roadmap to strengthening social justice, fair jobs and tax justice so that we emerge stronger from the current crises.
As chair of the Working Group on Stronger Economy, social justice and jobs, S&D Group President Iratxe García Pérez brought months of intensive discussions to an end with broad agreement. The recommendations aim at reshaping the EU in a way that guarantees strategic autonomy and sustainable growth, while constantly improving living and working conditions, without destroying our planet. The recommendations endorsed by the Working Group will be debated by the Conference plenary on Saturday 9 April, ahead of the final plenary session from 28-30 April.
Iratxe García Pérez, S&D Group President:
“The invasion of Ukraine by Russia and the COVID-19 pandemic have changed the EU in ways we could not imagine. We now have to find ways to deal with the social and economic consequences of the war in an already demanding post-pandemic context. Over months, we have worked with citizens, civil society, trade unions, business representatives and other institutions to agree ambitious proposals that together set out a clear roadmap to a fairer and more sustainable Europe.
“Poverty is the clearest reminder of the urgent need for social justice in Europe. No member state is exempt from the challenges of in-work poverty, energy poverty, old-age poverty or child poverty. Too many Europeans still have to choose between heating and eating. Citizens and civil society clearly demand we tackle poverty with minimum wages and European minimum-income schemes, with more rights for families through a stronger Child Guarantee and Youth Guarantee, and by adding a new ‘Social Progress Protocol’ into the EU Treaties to protect social rights.
“With citizens, we have agreed the best way to guarantee social justice is through tax justice. Everyone must pay their fair share of taxes and citizens recognise that currently this is not the case. Taxing big polluters and tech giants, and putting an end to tax evasion and avoidance in Europe are fair solutions that will give us the resources to ensure that no one is left behind in Europe. The path to social justice is too often obstructed by a small number of reluctant governments in the EU. With citizens and civil society, we agreed we can overcome obstacles to tax justice by ensuring that tax decisions in the Council are made by qualified majority vote and through more harmonisation.”