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Porto Summit must centre the EU as a social project

The upcoming Social Summit in Porto must deliver on concrete commitments to strengthen rights and improve living conditions. The pandemic has exposed the gradual weakening of social rights across the EU, jumpstarted by the 2008 economic crisis.

The Commission and member states drove aggressive austerity cuts that damaged social services and weakened social safety nets for citizens. The near collapse of our health systems, the scarcity in medical supplies and the role played by frontline workers during the pandemic, among the most poorly paid and precarious, are stark examples of the disastrous consequences of these policies.

The EU failed to meet its 2020 poverty reduction target and has enabled massive inequality with policies centring private interests, neoliberalism and the profits of multinationals over fundamental rights, in particular the social rights, of its citizens.

As workers continue to be pushed into precarious situations, seeing a degradation of their working conditions and a drop in their wages, alongside the weakening of collective bargaining systems, the Social Summit must not conclude with empty rhetoric.

We need a clear break from the destructive policies responsible for the deterioration of social rights in the EU.

The Left in the European Parliament, the force within the EU leading the struggle for workers’ rights, the fight against poverty, and championing the demands of trade unions, calls for concrete commitments from the Porto Social Summit, namely:

  • enshrine a binding Social Protocol in the EU Treaties. This Protocol should state in clear and unambiguous terms that neither economic freedoms nor competition rules shall have priority over fundamental social rights and social progress and that, in case of conflict, fundamental social rights shall take precedence.

 

  • a directive that gives status and equal rights to platform workers including the right to unionise, collective bargaining, decent wages, statutory sick leave, annual leave and social security protections. The EU must reject, in unequivocal terms, the creation of a third status as being pushed by online corporations.

 

  • decisive action for wealth redistribution across the board, in particular taxing billionaires and multinationals, strengthening health systems including the lifting of vaccine patents, combating in-work poverty with secure and well remunerated jobs, and guaranteeing job protection under the green transition and digital transformation.

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