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Lusa - Business News - EU/Presidency: Harmonious EU needs care for social questions - Juncker




Brussels, May 3, 2021 (Lusa) - Former European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker considers it "of the utmost importance" to achieve progress in the social area, something he tried to promote 24 years ago, because "a harmonious European Union cannot be built without taking care of social issues".

On the eve of the Porto Social Summit, which will be held on 7 May, Juncker, host of the first summit of its kind, in 1997, and one of the great promoters of the European Pillar of Social Rights proclaimed at the second summit, held in Gothenburg in 2017, received Lusa at the office he keeps at the Berlaymont, the headquarters of the European Commission, which he presided over between 2014 and 2019.

Currently with the title of "special advisor" in the community executive, and a life that he admits is "less stressful than it was during the five years" as president of the community executive, Jean-Claude Juncker, 66, follows with particular attention the European current affairs, and says he is "happy" that the Portuguese presidency has decided to organise the Social Summit, he who was the promoter of the first, then called "Employment Summit", which he regrets did not have the follow-up he expected.

"In 97, when I was prime minister of Luxembourg, I did organize a social summit. And one of the conclusions of that summit was that we should have this kind of meeting once a year. It never happened," he pointed out.

In fact, it took no less than 20 years to hold another meeting of EU heads of state and government devoted to social affairs, the Gothenburg Social Summit, held on 17 November 2017 in that Swedish city, where the European Social Pillar was proclaimed, of which Juncker, then president of the European Commission, was one of the major promoters.

Already on that occasion, in his speech at the opening ceremony of the Gothenburg summit dedicated to "Equity in Employment and Growth", Jean-Claude Juncker left a warning to the heads of state and government, pointing out that he was probably the only one in the room to remember the summit he organised two decades earlier, whose conclusions were not implemented. And he said he hoped the scenario would not be repeated and that the European Pillar of Social Rights would have practical application and not be "a mere poem".

"When I launched, together with others, the social pillar, my expectation was that the social issue would become an everyday issue. And so I'm happy that my friend Antonio Costa took the initiative to ask member states to gather in Porto on the seventh and eighth of May," he says.

Pointing out that, "Since then, the European Commission has launched an action plan under the leadership of the Social Affairs Commissioner Nicola Schmit", for the implementation of the principles contemplated in the Pillar, Juncker says he hopes "during these two days in Porto, the social partners and the institutions will agree on a future-oriented paper", ensuring that all the indications reflected in the social initiative programme "are translated into reality".

According to Juncker, "This is a very important moment of European development because the social issue has to be at the centre of European concerns, not only as far as social partners are concerned, but also as far as governments are concerned".

"We cannot build a harmonious European Union if you are not taking care of the social issues, and as far as I can see, all the elements are now on the table to allow the European Union to make some progress in the Social Field, it's of paramount importance", he underlined.

The Social Summit in Porto, which will take place on 7 May, and is followed by an informal European Council on 8 May, aims to strengthen the commitment of member states, European institutions, social partners, and civil society to the implementation of the action plan presented by the Commission for the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights proclaimed in Gothenburg.

ACC/ADB // ADB.

Lusa


Agency : LUSA

Date : 2021-05-04 09:44:05







 

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