Appeal to the EPSCO Council Ministers: Make the European Pillar of Social Rights to materialize in tangible rights

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Dear Ministers,

We are writing to you in view of the discussions taking place in the informal meeting of employment, social policy, health and consumer affairs ministers on 22 February 2021, on the forthcoming Commission’s proposal on the Action Plan to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights and the Social Summit.

We are living the worst health and economic crisis in the European Union’s history. However, while the pandemic has increased poverty, unemployment, and inequality, these issues come from far away. We have the tools to assist where is needed, and we need to make sure it happens. More than targets, what is necessary is effective policies, making the European Pillar of Social Rights a tangible reality for citizens. The Action Plan for the EPSR must have short, medium, and long terms measures and legislative initiatives, as well as a sufficient budget.

The Porto summit must be a real course change, understanding that there will be no recovery without social recovery, and no sustainability without social sustainability. The way to make this work is to involve civil society and social partners in the process: provide a real platform for workers’ voice and participation, enhance collective bargaining and collective agreements. The European Parliament’s report on A Strong Social Europe for Just Transitions provides a roadmap for the actions to take.

The Porto Agenda 2030 that will come from the Social Summit must, beyond COVID, cover and tackle structural issues related to globalization, wealth redistribution, labour market protection, social investment, the social agenda in the Green New Deal and the European semester, and the end of austerity policies, among many others. It should constitute the beginning of a new social contract, avoiding the temptation to go back to business as usual, signaling what future we want to build. We need a new EU economic and social governance, with new parameters and rules, with a people-centered agenda, aiming at increasing public expenditure and investment to support the green and digital transitions. Full employment, just and inclusive transitions, the improvement of living and working conditions, and strengthening social protection should be at the heart of a new governance framework, in order to bring people and member states together, with solidarity, equality, and sustainability. A strong social investment in our future.

We, the signatories, call for a high-profile EPSR Action Plan proposing legislative and non-legislative measures, with a clear timetable at EU and national level, mapping progress towards obligatory social rights to materialize in tangible rights with concrete targets by 2030 for the workers in Europe.
Thank you in advance for taking these points into consideration.

Oliver Röpke
President of the EESC Workers' Group
Iratxe García Pérez
President of the S&D Group
Luca Visentini
ETUC General Secretary
Agnes Jongerius
S&D MEP, S&D EMPL Coordinator
Gabriele Bischoff
S&D MEP, Vice President of AFCO Committee
Mikael Leyi
SOLIDAR Secretary General

22.02.2021
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