EU Employment and Social Affairs Ministers highlighted importance of social dimension in coronavirus recovery plans

On Tuesday, Vice-President Dubravka Šuica, responsible for Democracy and Demography, and Commissioner Nicolas Schmit, responsible for Jobs and Social Rights, joined EU Employment and Social Affairs Ministers via videoconference for an EPSCO Council. EU social partners – business associations and trade unions – also participated in the meeting. They discussed demographic challenges in the context of the coronavirus pandemic and beyond, as well as the national measures taken or foreseen to mitigate the negative consequences of the crisis on the labour markets and the economy. Everybody agreed that it was extremely important during the recovery for Member States to prioritise supporting workers and their income, and to reinforce social protection measures. The Commission has already put in place several measures to support jobs, such as the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative (CRII) and the instrument for temporary Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE). The Commission has also issued Guidelines to ensure the free movement of critical workers, and the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (OSHA) recently published guidance for employers on a safe return to the workplace. Looking ahead, the Commission will work with the European Pillar of Social Rights in mind to ensure a strong social dimension to the exit and recovery. It will also present a report on the impact of demographic change to address demographic aspects of the recovery from the crisis. You can find Vice-President Šuica‘s speaking points here and Commissioner Schmit‘s here.