The preservation of workers' rights must be top priority in any recovery and reconstruction plan in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, with solidarity as its guiding principle. The Workers' Group is organising an extraordinary meeting on 24 November to discuss the enormous challenges, which Europe is currently facing, and explore solutions to overcome them that place the preservation and creation of quality employment, workers' protection and social recovery on an equal footing with economic concerns, with a view to achieving a new sustainable social, environmental and economic model.
Several important personalities have been invited to discuss with the Workers' Group members the social, economic and environmental challenges for the future of Europe. Following a debate on the social challenges with Oliver Röpke, President of the Workers' Group, and Cinzia del Rio, Vice-president of the EESC's section on social affairs, Ana Mendes Godinho, Portuguese Minister of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security, will present the Portuguese presidency's priorities.
The debate on the economic challenges in Europe will be led by Stefano Palmieri, President of the EESC's section on economic affairs. Expected keynote speakers in this debate are Jonás Fernández, S&D MEP and Coordinator of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, Aurore Lalucq, S&D MEP, member of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, and Prof. Colin Crouch, professor emeritus of the University of Warwick.
The last debate on environmental challenges and the green deal will be introduced by Peter Schmidt, president of the EESC's section on agriculture, with speeches by Commissioner Frans Timmermans in charge of the green deal and Lucie Studničná, Vice-president of the Workers' Group.
The debates on the economic and environmental challenges will be moderated by Jorge Valero, Euraktiv journalist.
The Presidency of the Workers’ Group will gather all the input from the members and guest speakers in order to define and update the Group’s priorities, for the next five years and beyond, touching upon crucial issues of concern for the EU and its citizens, such as the growing poverty and inequality, working conditions and industrial relations, social dialogue, sustainability, fair transition and others.