MEP Sant joins in debate on the European Social Pillar of Rights

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MEP Sant joins in debate on the European Social Pillar of RightsDuring the debate on the European Pillar of Social Rights’ at the European Parliament in Brussels, Maltese MEP Alfred Sant said he hoped that the Social Pillar being proposed by the European Commission will be robust enough to counter the effects of internal devaluations in European Societies.

Dr Sant added that the ongoing thrust to put social concerns at the heart of the European project is welcome if belated. “Since 2008, the EU has increasingly focused on the task of reinforcing its economic structures, no matter what the human and social cost. This has fed populist and extremist ideologies.”

Reflections on the social dimension of Europe by 2025, has been published by the European Commission.

The Commission will now enter into discussions with the European Parliament and all the Member States in the Council to work towards broad political support and high-level endorsement of the Pillar.

The Maltese MEP said that making the social pillar meaningful is going to be hard. It will need to go beyond collating pan-European policies and setting them up as remote signposts for future implementation.

“What has happened with the social goals set for 2020 should serve as a warning. Expectations should not be inflated beyond what can be attained. Within set priorities, resources must be mobilised to really implement goals,” he commented.

“There is then the challenge of facing up to the way by which under EU rules, economies and public budgets react to downturns. Especially in the eurozone, the major policy tool is internal devaluation. As experience has shown, this undermines social cohesion, creates hardship and at best brings about a slow recovery that leaves people with a lower standard of living to what they were used to previously. Will the social pillar be robust enough to counter the effects of internal devaluations in European societies” remarked the Maltese MEP.

As Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker said that he has been seeking to put social priorities at the heart of Europe’s work, where they belong. “Member States, EU institutions, the social partners and civil society all have to take on their responsibility. I would like to see the Pillar endorsed at the highest political level before the end of this year.”

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