Today, the Socialists and Democrats are heading to the congress of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) in Berlin, equipped with our new roadmap towards a social Europe. We will join forces with our trade union partners to raise awareness of the importance of the European Pillar of Social Rights as a shield against austerity.
On Friday, 26 May, we will continue in Porto, where we will attend the PES Social Summit, followed the next day by the Social Forum organised by the Portuguese government. Two years after the Porto Social Summit where we set key commitments and targets, we are now returning to Portugal to further strengthen our fight for a prosperous future for all Europeans.
In Gothenburg in 2017, our political family delivered the European Pillar of Social Rights. Four years later, the Porto Social Summit adopted an action plan with concrete commitments and targets. This week in Porto, we will focus on enhancing the social pillar as well as tackling the social impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
The Porto summit defined three main social targets by 2030: minimum 78% employment rate in the EU, at least 60% of adults in training courses every year, and reducing the number of people at risk of social exclusion or poverty by at least 15 million, including five million children. This is not enough. We are calling for more targets, such as quality job creation, at least 80% collective bargaining coverage by 2030, zero deaths at work, and the eradication of homelessness by 2030.
Agnes Jongerius, S&D spokesperson for employment, said:
“Europe is more than market and currency; it is about people. We want a Europe where all workers earn a decent wage, all families can afford a place to live and no child grows up in poverty. The future of Europe will be social or there will be no more Europe as we know it and as we want it. To achieve that, we need to step up efforts to deliver on our promise to ensure decent life and decent work to all Europeans. This is what the social pillar is all about.
“Our next golden rule must be to enshrine the social conditionality principle in rules on EU funding. This means that payments from the European budget should be possible only if the activities they finance respect social and labour rights. Not a single euro should be spent on projects that do not respect the social and working standards for which we have fought so long and so hard.”
Pedro Marques, S&D vice-president responsible for social Europe, added:
“In times when Europe is grappling with the dire consequences of Russia’s war against Ukraine, the initiative of the Portuguese government to keep the social ambitions alive is vital and particularly timely. Our new roadmap towards a social Europe, which will be discussed in Porto, is anchored in the principle that social rights must get the same priority as economic and environmental goals.
“The S&Ds have always strived to ensure that the EU puts people first. Social and labour rights must always be among our top priorities. The much-needed digital and green transitions can only happen hand in hand with social progress. The long-awaited reform of EU fiscal rules can only be effective if it is anchored in social principles.”