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Employment Ministers call for a more social Europe after Brexit

Today, Ministers for Employment and Social Affairs from the PES family met in Bratislava to discuss the consequences of the UK referendum in their policy area.

The meeting began with a minute of silence in the memory of the victims of the horrible attack in Nice last night. All the ministers condemned this brutal act and called for more cooperation and solidarity in the fight against terror.

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During the meeting the PES Employment and social affairs ministers adopted a declaration on the clear need for a more social Europe after the Brexit.

The referendum last month has shown a divided society and highlighted a strong level of frustration and misunderstandings. If the referendum was only about the UK’s future in the EU, this frustration can be heard in other Member States too and deserves an answer. It is not about more or less Europe, but about the direction the EU should take. The answer is that of a social Europe.

At the occasion of the meeting Minister Nicolas Schmit, chair of the ministerial network, stated: “We want to answer the concerns some of our citizens have towards the EU. The austerity the right promoted is largely to blame for the rise of Euroscepticism. We want the EU to have a more direct, visible, and positive impact of the daily life of citizens. We want the EU to take the side of those who are vulnerable against globalisation. We are ready to engage for a strong ambitious social Europe that stands for quality jobs for all, decent wages, equal opportunities, non-discrimination and a social protection that acts as a real safety net. This is the vision we will promote in the coming months, these are the issues we want the EU to address, these are the objectives that will drive the progressive reforms we will implement.”

One of the first steps towards such social Europe will be the enforcement of the PES European Youth Plan, extending the Youth Guarantee, making Erasmus accessible to all, promoting culture and fighting child poverty. The PES calls for the renewing the EU’s financial support to the Youth Guarantee provided in the Youth Employment Initiative from 2017 on.


Text of adopted declaration - here


List of participants:

Nicolas Schmit           Minister for Labour, Employment, Social and Solidarity Economy, Chairperson, Luxembourg

Alois Stöger               Minister Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection, Austria

Giuliano Poletti          Minister of Labour and Social Policies, Italy

Thorben Albrecht        Permanent State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Germany

Evarist Bartolo            Minister for Education and Employment, Malta

José António Vieira da Silva   Minister of Labour, Solidarity, and Social Security, Portugal

Ján Richter                  Minister of Labour, Social Affairs and Family, Slovak Republic

Branislav Ondrus          State Secretary Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family of the Slovak Republic

Ylva Johansson             Minister for Employment, Sweden

George Katrougalos       Minister of Labor and Social Security, Greece (Observer)

Agnes Jongerius           Vice-Chair of the EP Committee on Employment and Social Affairs

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