The European Parliament (EP) has, within the scope of an Initiative Report, mapped out a number of demands, which are necessary to accomplish a socially just transition. Now it is up to European Commission and Council to implement the important measures to ensure that no one is left behind when implementing the Green Deal or during the course of the pandemic.
The EP Initiative Report “A strong social Europe for Just Transitions” points out that social sustainability is a fundamental prerequisite for green, digital and demographic transitions that are fair and inclusive. Hence, clear and binding targets as well as indicators for social sustainability are required. Thus, from the point of view of the Parliament, the European Social Summit in Porto, which has been scheduled for May 2021, shall comprise an agenda, whose target is a strong social Europe, and which should include indicators covering good working conditions, social justice, equal opportunities, robust welfare systems and fair mobility.
EP demands: Involve social partners
The EP supports the idea that apart from being widely included in European policy making, social partners should also be involved in developing and adopting the Agenda for the European Social Summit in Porto, which is a key conference of the Portuguese Presidency. With reference to drawing up territorial plans to secure resources from the Just Transition Fund, the EP is also explicitly asking Member States to involve social partners, regional and local authorities as well as civil society.
Eliminating precariousness from the labour market
The Initiative Report condemns common practices such as zero-hour contracts and unpaid internships. These shall be banned together with bogus self-employment and the bypassing of Labour and Employment Laws associated with it. Another aim is to eliminate involuntary part-time work and unwanted fixed-term employment by 2030. The revision of the Directive on Public Procurement shall ensure that preferential treatment will be given to those enterprises, which adhere to collective agreements. On the other hand, businesses acting anti-union or refusing to conduct collective bargaining, shall be excluded from tenders.
Supporting affordable housing
With regard to housing, the Parliament has asked the Member States to greatly increase investments in affordable housing to be able to cover the needs of people on low or middle income. In concrete terms, at least 30 % of all newly built residential buildings shall be made available to these people as affordable living space. Combatting homelessness shall also be intensified; the target is to eliminate it by 2030.
Parliament adopts Initiative Report with majority
The Initiative Report was adopted on 17 December 2020 with 380 Yes-votes to 219 No-votes. Whilst only a third of MEPs of the largest faction in Parliament, the European People’s Party, cast a Yes-vote, almost all Social Democrats, the Greens and the faction of the Left voted in favour; the majority of Liberals MEPs also approved of the Initiative Report.