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“We need an ambitious and strong European Pillar of Social Rights”

Interparliamentary Conference on Stability, Economic Coordination and Governance in the European Union

23 Feb · 12h00

© Présidence portugaise du Conseil de l'Union européenne 2021 / Pedro Sá da Bandeira

The Portuguese Secretary of State for Social Security, Gabriel Bastos, spoke this afternoon about “Strengthening and implementing the social dimension: how to integrate the Pillar  of Social Rights in the recovery and resilience plans?”, at the Interparliamentary Conference on Stability, Economic Coordination and Governance in the European Union.

 

In this “delicate and unprecedented” period, in which citizens are coping with a pandemic, Gabriel Bastos called for a "strong and decisive" response from the European Union and spoke of the need for the Member States to continue to pull together.

“ We cannot let the economic and social impacts of the pandemic on the social security system to undermine the achievements of recent decades. We must continue to work individually and collectively ”

Gabriel Bastos, Secretary of State for Social Security

Implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, one of the priorities of the Portuguese Presidency, should help to respond to the challenges in this area. The Action Plan for implementing the Pillar is due to be presented by the European Commission in March. “Robust implementation of the action plan is essential for our ability to make progress together, helping to shape the post-crisis era”, said the Secretary of State.

 

“We have the responsibility of showing people they are not alone, they are at the heart of our policies”, argued Gabriel Bastos, recalling that the social dimension has kept pace with the deepening of the Single Market, the concept of European citizenship, on fair terms for all Member States.

 

In the words of the Secretary of State, the Action Plan for the European Pillar of Social Rights must “have appropriate instruments and quantified targets: measuring progress, in line with the spirit of delivering visible results, as demanded by the times we live in”.

 

Increasing employment rates, faster skills training and making these skills the social driving force for fighting poverty, strengthening social protection, creating inclusive systems “in which no one is left behind” and ensuring access to affordable housing are opportunities for “action and for building” a more social, fair and inclusive Europe.

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© Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2021 / Pedro Sá da Bandeira

This session was co-chaired by Lucia Ďuriš Nicholsonová, Chair of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs of the European Parliament, and by Pedro Roque, Chair of the Committee on Labour and Social Security of the Assembly of the Portuguese Republic. The opening address was given by Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Employment and Social Rights, and by Gabriel Bastos, Portuguese Secretary of State for Social Security. The Portuguese Minister of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security, Ana Mendes Godinho, closed the panel discussion of the Interparliamentary Conference on Stability, Economic Coordination and Governance in the European Union.

 

The Conference was organised as part of the European Parliamentary Week, by the European Parliament and the Portuguese Assembly of the Republic, responsible for the Parliamentary Dimension of the Portuguese Presidency of the EU. The participants had the chance to debate not only the European Pillar of Social Rights, but also the recovery and resilience plans, the EU budget own resources and the European Green Deal.