Today, the conservatives and liberals showed their true face by killing the last chance for this European Parliament to make any real progress towards a social Europe. They blocked the vote on new updated rules on social security coordination, including unemployment benefits, long-term care and family benefits, as well as better rules for posting and applicable legislation. Once approved, these new rules would have been beneficial for millions of mobile European workers, by guaranteeing more social security for workers moving from one EU country to another.
Last month a preliminary agreement on these crucial rules was reached between the negotiators from both the European Parliament and member states. But then it was blocked in the Council by a group of countries. The S&D rapporteur Guillaume Balas wanted to conclude the 1st reading to avoid the reopening of this file after the European elections. Unfortunately, the right wing groups managed to take the vote off the agenda. The Socialists and Democrats promise that they will continue fighting tooth and nail to defend the rights of mobile workers.
Guillaume Balas, S&D negotiator for the European Parliament, said:
“Today is the last plenary day of this Parliament, but unfortunately we are sending a sad signal to European workers. The conservatives and liberals, with the help of some social liberal members, following a group of member states, have blocked any real progress for workers moving within Europe. By refusing to vote on new updated rules on social security coordination, they refused to guarantee to all EU workers effective social protection that does not discriminate anyone. It is shameful and unacceptable in times of increased labour mobility, when about 17 million European citizens live or work in another member state!
“The text on the table represented real progress. For example, on unemployment benefits, we made sure workers can aggregate their past periods of insurance in the country of their last activity as of day one. Besides this, we extended from the current 3 months to 6 months the period for an export of unemployment benefits, if a person receiving such benefits in one country wishes to look for work in another country. In addition, frontier workers would have a choice to make themselves available to the employment services in the country of their residence when they become unemployed in another country. We also strengthened portability of rights of workers working in two or more countries and an obligation of member states to notify another member state before a worker is sent or posted.
“If we want our Europe to be a synonym of progress and solidarity, we must bring progress to all our workers and citizens independently of their nationality! It is huge multi-nationals, not workers from the East, that are responsible for social dumping! They put workers against each other. I call on all progressives in Europe to stand united against the populists and to defend the equal rights of all Europeans workers.”