Press Releases S&Ds urge Czech Presidency to put social issues at the top of their agenda

S&Ds urge Czech Presidency to put social issues at the top of their agenda

Ahead of the start of the Czech Presidency on the 1st of July, the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament call on the Czech government to urgently address the social consequences of the war against Ukraine and make women’s rights and protecting the rule of law their priority.  The S&D Group stands ready to work constructively with the Czech Presidency to address these challenges in these critical times.

 Iratxe García Pérez MEP, leader of the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, said:

“The Czech Presidency of the Council comes at a defining moment for our collective future. Unfortunately, the worst economic and social impacts of the war and inflation are yet to come and we risk facing a dramatic winter. We need to work hard to avoid the risk of a recession in the EU.

“We welcome the level of ambition in terms of the help offered to Ukraine, the commitment to energy security and the Presidency’s wiliness to try to find a solution for the integration and management of refugees.

“However, in our Group we are worried by the Presidency’s lack of ambition when it comes to the economic and social impact of the war in the EU member states. We expected more on the social dimension at a time when our citizens need it the most. We see that many European families that received refugees at the beginning of the war are now in despair because they cannot pay for their own bills due to the lack of financial support. We need to do more for the integration of refugees but we also need to do more to help the most vulnerable households face the rise in energy prices and inflation in general. With rising inflation, and its consequences, the current financial and budgetary framework will not be enough. The Czech Presidency’s priorities also lack ambition regarding the rule of law, the follow up on the Conference on the Future of Europe and gender equality. We will push the presidency to treat these important issues properly.”

Czech S&D MEP Radka Maxová said:

“I have high expectations from the Czech Presidency. There are significant challenges the EU will face such as the war in Ukraine, the energy crisis, pandemic and inflation and I am happy that the Czech Republic is stressing the importance of working together, including through the motto: “Europe as a task”. What is especially important in our Central European context is that protecting the rule of law must be one of the priorities of the presidency.

“On the other hand, there is a lack of focus on social issues. Backsliding on women’s rights is a worrying trend. Czechia should ratify the Istanbul Convention on combatting violence against women as soon as possible, to show a clear stance against gender-based violence. The pay transparency directive will be a game-changer in the fight against the pay gap and it should be down to the Czech Presidency to adopt strong legislation that will improve the lives of millions of women. Lastly, we are facing a mental health crisis and the Council under the Czech Presidency should do much more to protect mental health in the EU.”

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