European Commissioner Nicolas Schmit believes that the Porto Social Summit will serve to demonstrate that the European social model “is not a burden, but rather a distinctive feature and an advantage” of the European Union.
Nicolas Schmit, Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights © Photographer: Claudio Centonze, European Union, 2021, Source: EC - Audiovisual Service
“ These are the messages we want to transmit to the Member States in Porto next week: we want to reassure citizens [that] we have learnt the lessons of the past crisis and we want to stress that the social model is not a burden, but rather a distinctive feature and an advantage that has allowed us to navigate through this pandemic better than other parts of the world. ”
Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights , Nicolas Schmit
Highlighting that “investment in social services” has proved “critical to an appropriate response to the crisis” caused by the current pandemic, the Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights described the summit as “an important milestone for Europe” and for its institutions. Not least, he continued, because the pandemic “put a stop to many years of progress” in terms of employment rates in the EU and halted the Commission’s “initiatives and struggle” against unemployment, creating “many new uncertainties”.
Recalling that the European Commission had identified “transformation and modernisation of the economy” as one of its priorities – through the green and digital transition – Schmit called attention to the fact that this means that “jobs are changing and some are sure to disappear”. This is why, he said, “the meaning of a social Europe is above all helping workers to adapt to the change and to continue to be relevant in the economy of tomorrow”.
“We are all aware that our social systems are very diverse, but at the same time we must work towards greater convergence in terms of social progress all over Europe because we cannot have an integrated European economy without also having social convergence between the Member States”, he pointed out.
*in collaboration with LUSA