The Socialists and Democrats led a solid progressive majority today in the European Parliament in support of a major report on the European Pillar of Social Rights. The report was drafted by S&D vice-president Maria João Rodrigues and supported by the Greens, GUE and some members from the EPP and ALDE groups. The European Commission is expected to follow up with proposals on the Pillar of Social Rights in March, alongside the white paper on the future of the EU and ahead of the big EU summit in Rome.

S&D vice-president Maria João Rodrigues MEP said:

"This is a strong democratic mandate for the European Commission to make serious proposals on updating Europe's labour and social standards. After a long economic and social crisis, and faced with the rise of right-wing nationalism, Europe needs to do whatever it takes to strengthen social cohesion, provide economic security to all Europeans and ensure real equality of opportunity. We need to act together in the common interests of all Europeans.

"We must update European standards, but also invest in making sure they are achieved. In a 21st century Europe, children must be protected from poverty and guaranteed a high-quality education. Compulsory secondary education and a Skills Guarantee are essential to enable people to participate in a knowledge-based economy. It is through public investment and decent standards that we will achieve high productivity, real freedom and widely shared prosperity. We don't want an economy that only works for the top 1%, with everyone else trapped.

"The Parliament is calling for serious legislation on decent working conditions in all forms of employment, so that the 'gig economy' and work through digital platforms are brought under European labour law. We call for a European social security card and for a 'personal activity account' so that people can easily see what entitlements they are building up – through their work – for protection in case of sickness, unemployment, old age and other risks that arise in life. The welfare state was a key achievement of the 20th century and needs to be adapted to embrace 21st century trends.

"This is a report led by the centre-left defending the vital interests of ordinary Europeans. The EPP and ALDE groups were divided: some supported our proposals, others preferred to defend unregulated labour markets where big companies can do whatever they please and ordinary people carry all the risk. Every citizen should check the voting record from Thursday 19 January 2017. Check who voted for decent working conditions, for living wages, for work-life balance, for minimum-income schemes for the poorest – and who voted instead for zero-hour contracts, against decent wage floors and against public investment."

S&D spokesperson on employment and social affairs, Jutta Steinruck MEP underlined:

"The plenary adopted our report on a European Pillar of Social Rights and thus our strong proposals to strengthen social rights in the EU. The EU has a chronic deficit in its social dimension. If we want to regain the confidence of our fellow citizens and thus make the EU fit for the future, we need a strong social Europe. The EU must stand for economic growth, high quality jobs and fairness. Now it is up to the Commission to make concrete proposals to update social legislation."

S&D spokesperson on women's rights and gender equality, Maria Arena MEP added:

“The pillar of social rights has a central priority: equality between men and women. Equality can only be achieved, with work-life balance, by strengthening of maternity, paternity and parental leave, and tools to help those who care for dependent family members. This set of non-legislative and legislative tools will contribute to the fight against inequalities, ensure equal opportunities and help women in the labour market. This is why the Commission must now deliver.”

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Contact presse S&D

Hélin-villes Solange
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