EPSCO Fine words are not enough for a social Europe


Today, the EU Employment and Social Policy Council met in Luxembourg. The first part of the agenda included discussions on the results of the Social Summit in Porto, the topic of the EU minimum wage and the Council recommendation for a European child guarantee.

MEP Katrin Langensiepen, Vice-Chair of the Social Affairs Committee commented:

"Today, all Member States seem to agree that social objectives must be at the heart of European reconstruction. I would also like to see this attitude when it comes to concrete implementation. But this is where the EU member states are shirking. The debate on the proposed directive on an EU minimum wage in particular shows the discrepancy between words and deeds. The current draft refrains from imposing strong requirements and leaves member states maximum flexibility. Some member states even want to reduce the directive to a recommendation. 
To ensure that "No one should be left behind" does not remain an empty slogan, the EU member states must take the next step and grant the EU more competence for strong European social frameworks. So that we manage to close gaps where no social protection applies. 

The supposed unanimity with which the Council just adopted its recommendation for a child guarantee also has a bitter taste. Germany abstained from commenting today, in contrast to Bulgaria and Greece. For Germany, the well-being of the German welfare system was in the foreground during the negotiations, whereas the Member States participating in the pilot project on the child guarantee are clear that there should be no children in poverty. 

Therefore, I hope that the supposed unanimity will also be reflected in the implementation. Because Germany, together with the other EU Member States, has also committed itself to providing certain basic services free of charge, such as childcare, education, healthy food and leisure activities. It is now up to the Member States to implement the recommendations consistently and to ensure that the benefits really reach all children. Child poverty in a rich Europe is a sad and embarrassing reality that is unacceptable.

What is clear: Common goals are good, but strong action to implement them are better."

Porto targets

  1. At least 78% of people aged 20 to 64 should be in employment,
  2. At least 60% of all adults should participate in training every year,
  3. The number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion should be reduced by at least 15 million, including at least 5 million children.