At a joint debate at the Committee of the Regions' Plenary sitting, the President of the European Committee of the Regions, Vasco Alves Cordeiro, and the newly elected President of the European Economic and Social Committee, Oliver Röpke, underlined their joint commitment for a social Europe that leaves no one behind, ahead of their participation in the Porto Social Forum on Saturday, 27 May, Portugal.
More synergies between the Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee have also been discussed at this first official debate at the Committee of the Regions with Oliver Röpke since the beginning of his mandate.
CoR President, Vasco Cordeiro, said: "The Porto Social Forum offers a great opportunity to assess progress and refocus all our forces to make Europeans feel the actual benefits of being a European Union citizen. The need for a Social Europe, the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights and of the joint work towards the full achievement of the Porto Commitment has increased in the past years. The consequences of the pandemic, the energy crises and inflation are hitting Europeans, especially the most vulnerable members of our societies. Workers' rights, gender equality and social protection need to remain central EU priorities in order to make our societies fairer and more resilient against crises. This is where I am looking forward to a close cooperation with President Röpke: We share a vision of a Union where strong local and regional authorities and an empowered civil society are involved in policies, especially to strengthen the social and territorial cohesion which is needed to keep citizens tied to the European project".
Oliver Röpke, President of the European Economic and Social Committee, said: "I count on a close cooperation with President Alves Cordeiro to advance on our joint priority of a fairer and stronger social Europe. We need to work together to make sure that the voice of Europeans, especially the youth, is heard in the EU. In the past two years we have taken great strides in building a stronger social Europe for all. But the job is far from done. We need to keep the momentum and we need to transform targets on paper into reality on the ground. This is why the Porto Social Forum will be so important as it brings together all the actors who can make a difference. We will be able to take stock of what we have achieved so far and decide on the next steps. The social model we are creating is the new European standard. We should also leverage it also in our relations with other countries, in particular those wanting to join the EU. I want to empower them and make sure their socio-economic systems are in sync with the European model, even before the join the EU".
The Porto Social Summit, organised in Porto on 7 and 8 May 2021, was one of the highlights of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU. This event brought together EU leaders, social partners, and civil society. Its main objective was to set the European social agenda for the next decade.
The 2023 edition will focus on three major issues:
European Year of Skills. The Forum will be a space for highlighting the objectives of the European Year of Skills in line with the EPSR Action Plan goals, with the purpose of strengthening Member States' efforts to value skills and lifelong learning. Emphasis will be given to the connection with the priorities of the digital transition.
Social Europe and the EPSR in a stronger Union.
The social impact of the two crises – the fall-out of the Covid pandemic and the impact of the Russian war of aggression – as well as the importance of strong social policies and of the role of civil society. While the EU economy is adapting to the effects of inflation and war, we are still far from being able to assess their full impact, particularly on the weakest groups in our societies. A joint approach involving the social partners and civil society is an important tool for the necessary debate around the responses implemented by the EU and the Member States.
Spokesperson of President Cordeiro: Hannah Cornelsen, Hannah.firstname.lastname@example.org
Spokesperson of President Röpke: Katarzyna Novak, Katarzyna.email@example.com