The crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic is an “added reason” for a strong political commitment at the Porto Social Summit, according to former Portuguese Minister of Labour, Maria João Rodrigues.
“If the green transition and the digital transition can in themselves add to social inequalities and inequalities between countries, because not everybody has the financial resources to make these transitions, then the COVID-19 crisis just makes the risk of inequality even higher”, argued the former MEP, who was a European Parliament rapporteur and a negotiator of the European Pillar of Social Rights, both with the Council and the Commission.
Maria João Rodrigues believes that, given the pandemic and the economic and social crisis it has brought with it, the social front is even more in need of “exceptional measures” so that a “historic leap” may be made on the economic front, with “a reinforced EU budget and a recovery fund financed by joint European debt”. In this new context, she argued, we must “reinterpret the Social Pillar”.
In the current situation, with “precarious jobs where these conditions [labour and social rights] are far from being assured”, and in the “new reality created by the digital economy, with people working for large electronic platforms where very often there are no rights whatsoever”, the application of the Social Pillar “will make it possible for these basic rights to really be put into effect”, the former MEP concluded.
*in collaboration with LUSA