On 8 March 2016, the European Commission (COM) launched a public consultation on strengthening the European Union’s social base termed the “European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR)”.
Rural areas in Europe are going through the current crisis virtually unprotected. For this reason, the political focus has to be directed towards making infrastructure available in such regions, reducing unemployment, generally strengthening the quality of agricultural work, fighting poverty and social exclusion, redressing the distribution imbalance, putting more money into public social investment and letting rural areas participate in rising prosperity.
Via the website www.socialrightsfirst.eu
, we have joined the campaign for a strong pillar of social rights, standing hand in hand with European trade unions and many other NGOs for a social and solidarity-based Europe.
The proposals for a social Europe must therefore be concrete, defining targets and stating ways of achieving them. In a next step, the necessary instruments will need to be made available.
Against a backdrop of disappearing societal solidarity and growing nationalism, the creation of a social Europe is more than ever a sine qua non for a united Europe. Although unions have always welcomed such Pan-European thinking, our demands have frequently been cold-heartedly rejected without further consideration.
Even so, we continue to maintain that Europe can only be built and nurtured together with its peoples, and not against their will. The demands tabled in this paper are thus to be seen as a constructive contribution to establishing a united European house. They should be treated with respect by the relevant European institutions.