MEPs insist on closing pension and employment gaps

EU must prioritise fight against homelessness and poverty, ensure jobs for young people, they say

Photo: EP José Gusmão.

The EU Employment Guidelines must be revised, said MEPs in a resolution adopted on Friday, calling for radical measures to cushion the employment and social shock caused by the pandemic. Social inclusion and people’s wellbeing should be at the heart of EU economic policies, with equal priority given to social, environmental and economic objectives, they said.

According to the rapporteur José Gusmão (GUE/NGL, PT) the resolution shows a complete reversal of the positions that have dominated the European institutions for many years. In a context in which the problems caused by the Covid-19 pandemic are further aggravated by precarious employment relations and the deregulation of the labour market, this report proposes an alternative path that is as clear as it is urgent, he said.

The resolution urges the fight against youth unemployment, homelessness and poverty must be prioritised through a reinforced Youth Guarantee, a strong Child Guarantee for tackling child poverty and the Housing First approach.

Lawmakers asserted that more efforts are needed to close the gender pay, pension and employment gaps and that the gender impact of social and employment policies should be closely monitored.

Taking into account the social and employment consequences of the Covid-19 crisis, and to strengthen the EU response to similar future crises, MEPs call for a revision of the EU Employment Guidelines, which underpin the country-specific recommendations of the European Semester.

The so-called ‘General escape clause’, that gives member states unprecedented fiscal flexibility to protect employment and finance public health and social services, has to reflect the scale and duration of the Covid-19 crisis, MEPs insisted.

In their view, only companies that are not registered in tax havens, that respect the applicable collective agreements and that do not pay dividends or bonuses should be allowed to apply for financial assistance from the SURE mechanism for short-time work.


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