EESC: Social Summit in Porto

On 28th April 2021, The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) organized a debate with Nicolas Schmit, Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, on the Action Plan for the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR) and the Social Summit in Porto. During the discussion, I emphasized that new proposals must not undermine the competitiveness of European companies because economic progress is the basis for social progress. I also highlighted that any regulation in the social field must respect national competences and the autonomy of the social partners. While I said „yes“ to Social Europe, I said „no“ to a Social Union with harmonised social policies that would jeopardize well-functioning national systems.

On the same day, the EESC as a whole also adopted its contribution to the Social Summit in Porto, a resolution entitled European Civil Society Working in Partnership for our Sustainable Future. At the Porto Social Summit itself, which took place on 7 May 2021, the EESC participated in a dialogue between the European institutions and the Member States on how to implement the EPSR and at the same time ensure a European recovery centred on people’s well-being.

With regard to the Porto summit, the EESC Employers´ Group has pointed out the wakeup call for strengthening competitiveness. Employers emphasize that the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic must strengthen Europe´s competitiveness, its role on the global stage as well as its resilience. They are also convinced that without a sound economic base, there is no social dimension. Economic growth, a well-functioning single market as well as dynamic labour markets are prerequisites for strengthening the social dimension of the EU.

They further emphasize the need to respect the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, the different socio-economic environments, the diversity of national systems and the role and autonomy of the social partners. Any initiatives and measures contained in the action plan must respect the competences, powers and clearly defined roles of various stakeholders. In addition, all new EU initiatives must be based on a thorough impact assessment, including a specific competitiveness check.

The Employers’ Group also places great emphasis on introducing and implementing national reforms and on jobs and skills. Employers are convinced that adaptable and flexible national labour markets and social security systems, and quality education systems, will be crucial. With regard to changes related to digitalisation and artificial intelligence, among other things, it is necessary to open up opportunities rather than create barriers to new economic models and innovation.

In conclusion, we must avoid putting additional burdens on companies, as this would undermine Europe’s economic recovery and reduce means for job creation and investment in green and digital transition.

Jana Hartman Radová, EESC Member, Group I – Employers

Source: CEBRE

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