With only 5 months before the European elections, we discuss whether the European Union has really delivered tackling the social challenges facing citizens and what are the priorities for the new legislature.
MEP Maria Joao Rodrigues and MEP Marian Harkin discussed with EURACTIV journalist Jorge Valero the achievements of the Juncker Commission and outlined the priorities and challenges the new European Parliament will face after the elections.
“We are starting to deliver but we’re still at the beginning”, said Rodrigues, who was the Parliament’s rapporteur for the European Social Pilar. For Harkin, we should consider what the Social Pillar concretely means for citizens, including the risk of social dumping and the importance of work-life balance.
New priorities and rights have also emerged in the context of the digital revolution, to ensure citizens can successfully adapt to current needs, such as access to continuous education and the protection of workers employed in the on-demand economy.
What social priorities for the future Commission? Workers in the digital economy will need to have transparent and predictable working conditions, especially young people, ensuring that “workers get their fair share of the game”, said Harkin. A common social security card across Europe could also help the increasing number of citizens living abroad access their rights and avoid creating fears of unfairness. Recent events in Europe also prove that a strong social pillar is essential to close the gap with citizens – the new Multiannual Financial Framework will play a central to ensure that the right instruments are in place.