Brussels, Belgium. As Europe takes more and more concrete steps to make the Green Deal a reality, more than 1,200 participants and 75 speakers gathered to discuss the social dimension of the green transition at the first European Forum on the employment and social rights.
For two days, President Ursula von der Leyen, European Commissioner for Employment and Social Rights Commissioner Nicolas Schmit, former Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, the Belgian and Greek governments, policy makers from Parliament European Union, the Czech Presidency, as well as academics, citizens and businesses came together to discuss how to manage a fair, inclusive and sustainable green transition for all.
The European approach to social rights
The forum was an opportunity to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the European Pillar of Social Rights and its 20 principles, grouped around three key themes: equal opportunities; fair working conditions; and social protection and inclusion.
In her opening speech, President Ursula von der Leyen expressed optimism in the face of economic recession and a difficult winter ahead, stressing that the right policies, inspired by the European Pillar of Social Rights, can help Europeans to overcome the crisis.
Since the introduction of the Pillar of Social Rights under former President Jean-Claude Juncker, the Commission has proposed more than 130 measures to implement the Pillar across the EU and create a fair, inclusive and inclusive social Europe. opportunities. Among the most important initiatives are the directive for an adequate minimum wage in the EU, the pact for skills which provides workers with quality training and lifelong learning through public-private partnerships, and the European strategy for equality between men and women which supports the participation of women in the labor market.
A social contract for green growth
Many speakers underlined that social rights commitments are and must be complementary to the green transition. Participants agreed that social aspects should be more deeply integrated into environmental, fiscal and economic policies. An “intergenerational approach is needed to ensure that young people are part of future European policies”, according to Dragoș Pîslaru, Romanian MEP and Chairman of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee in the European Parliament.
Speakers at the event also agreed that jobs should be as much about quality as quantity. The chair of the European Commission’s High Level Group on the future of social protection and the welfare state in the EU, Anna Diamantoupoulou, underlined that the labor market is undergoing significant changes and that a new charter of social and labor rights will be essential for Europe to follow.
Keynote address by renowned economist Mariana Mazzucato stressed that achieving social goals will require real commitment and investment – at all levels. She highlighted the need for different sectors to work together to ensure a fair green transition.
The need for more energy-efficient buildings is a clear example. Buildings account for 30% of EU energy consumption, and many Europeans are facing soaring energy costs and deteriorating living conditions this winter.
The skills needed for the green transition
As next year has been designated as the European Year of Skills, Commissioner Schmit underlined the importance of lifelong learning and Europe’s role in facilitating it. It is essential for workers and their employers to acquire new skills in order to meet the demands of the green transition.
Young people have an important role to play in the green transition, according to Joost Korte, Director General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission: “It is no coincidence that we are moving from European Year of Youth to the Year of Skills. The skills of future generations and future sectors are essential to everything we want to do to succeed
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