S&Ds defend EU workers’ rights despite efforts by the conservatives to block progress
Today, the Socialists and Democrats led a majority in the European Parliament to defend two reports aiming at improving and safeguarding the social rights of millions of European workers, in spite of a challenge from the right wing forces. The S&Ds denounced the efforts from nationalists and conservatives to delay progress on the two proposals – the coordination of social security systems and the European Labour Authority – that will fulfil the commitments made under the European Pillar of Social Rights.
S&D MEP Guillaume Balas, Parliament’s negotiator on the coordination of the social security systems file, said:
“We are happy with the result of the vote. It will enable us to enter into the negotiations with the Council with a strong progressive position.
“Notwithstanding their efforts, the EPP and the ECR did not succeed in blocking progress on the protection of social rights in Europe. I am delighted that the plenary did not buy into their demagogic tricks and claims about ‘social tourism’, and supported a progressive report that seeks to bring clarity to the existing rules and protect workers currently in a limbo state.
“With over 20 million mobile workers in the EU, guaranteeing an effective social protection that does not discriminate anyone is of utmost importance. Equal treatment and the non-discrimination of workers must be ensured in all cases. Workers must enjoy the same social rights for the same social contributions.
“In times of increased labour mobility, social rights cannot remain immobile. We S&Ds are fighting to ensure that each citizen has fair access to social security regardless of where she or he lives. We have also managed to eliminate numerous attempts to introduce indexation of family benefits. Allowing such double standards in the EU is unacceptable for our political family.”
S&D negotiator on the European Labour Authority, Georgi Pirinski MEP, said:
“The EU needs to better protect labour and social rights and ensure fair mobility. The establishment of a European Labour Authority (ELA) plays a central role in this context. Thanks to the mobilisation of progressive forces in the European Parliament, we succeeded in stopping efforts to delay the implementation.
“We want the ELA to tackle labour exploitation and ensure the proper application of Union legislation in all member states. Moreover, trade unions and employers would be empowered to bring cases of abuse and exploitation directly to the attention of the ELA.
“We have long been calling for a real and effective ELA. Now it is high time to move on and bring the principles of the Social Pillar to reality. We will immediately start negotiations with the member states in order to reach an agreement before the May 2019 European elections.”