The heads of state and government of the European Union attending the informal summit in Porto adopted a declaration proclaiming their determination to implement a European pillar of social rights, the importance of which was in their eyes reinforced by the crisis caused by the COVID-19 epidemic.
This 14-point declaration contains general and unspecified commitments in terms of employment, education, training, reduction of poverty and gender pay gaps, as well as workers’ rights, particularly in the new field. digital platforms, while taking into account “different national situations”.
“More than ever, Europe must be the continent of social cohesion and prosperity. We reaffirm our commitment to work for a social Europe”, said the European leaders, some of whom were not physically present in Porto.
Emmanuel Macron said that this declaration was not just a string of good intentions, stressing that these different themes would now be on the agenda of “European meetings every semester”. “Behind this declaration, we really enter into European procedures”, declared the French president during a press conference.
“The progress on minimum wages, gender equality, the individual right to training, the rights of platform workers are all subjects that we have not simply put on the table but included in the work process economic and social policy of the European Union “, he added.
After the adoption in July 2020 of a European recovery plan of 750 billion euros, of which no sum has so far been released pending its ratification by all EU countries , the EU27 consider this Porto declaration as another essential component, on a social level this time, in their response to the crisis caused by the coronavirus.
“I think that we are really in the process of building the European response to the pandemic at the moment,” said Emmanuel Macron, comparing the current situation to the austerity and poorly coordinated policies carried out after the financial crisis of 2007-2009. “We have learned the lessons from the crisis of the early 2010s.”
“We are creating an agenda of convergence.”