Today the European Commission has published the Action Plan on how to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights. 'The EESC Workers' Group welcomes the proposal and hopes very much that it will deliver social progress. The Action Plan for the EPSR must have concrete and ambitious short, medium, and long terms measures and legislative initiatives, as well as a sufficient budget', said Oliver Röpke, President of the EESC Workers' Group.
The importance of a social Europe to Europeans has been highlighted in the latest EU Barometer: nine in ten respondents EU citizens say that a social Europe is important or very important to them. We call on the EU leaders to deliver a commitment for making the European Pillar of Social Rights a tangible reality for all Europeans.
The Workers' group supports the Portuguese Council Presidency's intention to make the Porto Agenda 2030 the historical opportunity to 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.
However, this Action Plan is only half the way to a strong social dimension. Important initiatives that the Workers' Group and the entire EESC have called for are not sufficiently reflected in the proposal, including a European framework for a minimum income. Stronger information, consultation and participation rights of workers must also be given greater focus in the future. The enormous social challenges of the green deal and the digital transformation requires a better corporate governance of companies than only considering shareholder interests. Thus, we need a strong and mandatory workers´ voice towards facilitating resilient and sustainable companies.
Nevertheless this Action Plan is a major step forward and we support Commissioner Schmit's efforts to take our demands into account:
'This Action Plan should constitute the beginning of a new social contract, avoiding the temptation to go back to business as usual. We need a new EU economic and social governance, with new parameters and rules, with a people-centred 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! The Action Plan must live up to these strong demands', said Oliver Röpke.