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Mercoledì 7 febbraio 2018 - Strasburgo Edizione rivista

13. Conseguenze delle crescenti disparità socioeconomiche per i cittadini europei (discussione di attualità)
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  La Présidente. – L’ordre du jour appelle le débat d’actualité (article 153 bis du règlement intérieur) sur les conséquences du creusement des inégalités socioéconomiques pour les citoyens européens (2018/2558(RSP)).

Mes chers collègues, je tiens à vous informer qu’il n'y aura pas d'interventions à la demande ni de questions «carton bleu» au cours de ce débat.


  Udo Bullmann (S&D), author. – Madam President, inequality has reached shocking new levels and is threatening to tear our societies apart, not only globally, but also in Europe. In the European Union, some 120 million people are poor; 28 million children live in households that cannot provide for their basic needs – food, health care, education or housing. It is absolutely shameful that the richest continent of the world does not take proper care of its own children.

Even though the European economy is on the mend again and unemployment is going down, income and wealth inequality is on the rise, and an alarming 40% of wealth is in the hands of only 1% of the richest Europeans. Clearly the neo-liberal myth of the invisible hand and trickle-down economics is not going to sort out the situation, nor are today’s insufficient policy efforts. The election of Trump, and Brexit, which also stemmed from a growing disappointment with the status quo, must be the wake-up call for the last sleep-walkers. The growing gap between the rich and the poor is undermining the social and democratic fabric of our societies. It is high time to act now.

Big challenges require strong political answers. We Socialists and Democrats fight side by side with an alliance of NGOs and social partners for strong policy responses that will work. We will campaign for an equitable and sustainable society of shared prosperity, opportunity and dignity. We call on the Commission to rapidly act and introduce an inequality reduction strategy within the European Semester to achieve income growth, especially for the bottom 40%. We are working for a poverty eradication road map to halve the number of people living in poverty by 2030, and for a directive on decent working conditions. We wish to create a living wage index to help define appropriate minimum wages in each Member State.

If we know how devastating the consequences of inequalities are, why do we not use the remaining time in this mandate to improve the lives of the most needy Europeans? Let us introduce a child guarantee that ensures that each and every child in every country is able to access proper health care, good schooling and a healthy diet. Let us introduce a framework directive for decent working conditions that ensures that workers are no longer at risk of exploitation. Let us have protection against poor pay and have proper social rights, regardless of whether people work in industry or in digital platforms. And let us end the rhetoric of free trade that tries to convince people that trade only needs to be free to work for the people, because this neglects the hardship of those without jobs in deprived regions. We know that only with proper environment and sustainability provisions can trade be really progressive.

A lot can be done to take this fight to the next level. The social pillar must be properly implemented, we need strong improvements on maternity and paternity leave – parenthood must not mean poverty. We must continue to fight against tax fraud and tax evasion. Digital giants have to pay proper taxes too.

I would like to appeal to the whole House. My Group, the Socialists and Democrats, are willing to fight for that today, tomorrow and each and any other day of this mandate. We very much hope that you will join us.


  Monika Panayotova, President-in-Office of the Council. – Madam President, first of all, thank you very much for the opportunity to speak here on a topic so essential for the European Union in the current political context. Today, more than ever, the European Union needs to guarantee the prosperity and well—being of all its citizens, as well as to overcome the socio—economic inequalities in a fast-changing world.

According to opinion polls, more and more citizens across Europe feel that they cannot fully profit from the benefits of globalisation. We need to make sure they see that the European Union is the solution to their concerns and that it delivers on their expectations. As a result of the effective policy response to the economic crisis by the European institutions and the Member States, the EU economy is now firmly recovering. Economic growth has returned and unemployment is at its lowest since 2008.

Nevertheless, social and economic challenges persist across Europe. In 2017, 23% of our citizens remained at risk of falling into poverty and social exclusion. Young people are still especially vulnerable and we really need to focus our efforts on them as they are the future of Europe, of our economies and our societies. The consequences of leaving a whole generation without prospects would not only be morally irresponsible, but would have long—standing negative economic and political effects in the decades to come. We need to make sure that young people have better opportunities for education and training, mobility and personal development, and improved access to employment.

Socio—economic stability and fairness is a pre-condition for social progress and trust in the European Union project. As Parliament rightly stated in its resolution of November 2017 on combating inequalities, the reduction of inequalities must be one of the main priorities at European level, not only in order to tackle poverty or promote convergence but also as a precondition for economic recovery, decent job creation, social cohesion and shared prosperity.

The root causes of socio—economic inequalities are related to a wide range of factors. The scission between rich and poor is widening. Labour markets and societies are evolving quickly with new opportunities and new challenges arising from globalisation, the digital revolution, changing work patterns and societal and demographic developments. The industrial revolutions for zero waste and digitalisation are presenting enormous opportunities, but they are also placing extraordinary pressure on skills. In order to overcome existing inequalities based on skills, we need a comprehensive approach. We must fill the digital skills gap and prepare both our citizens and our labour market for change.

For this reason, one of our Presidency’s four priorities is the digital economy and skills for the future. Discrimination and gender inequality are two further factors that contribute to inequalities. The average gender pay gap remains above 16%, and in some Member States it is above 20%. Our citizens expect us to take action: they rank unemployment and social inequality as the most important challenges the European Union has to face. This is also a commitment that we have made at national, European and international level.

The leaders of 27 Member States recognised in the Rome Declaration that economic and social inequalities were unprecedented challenges for the European Union. They pledged to work towards a social Europe which promotes economic and social progress as well as cohesion and convergence. So the key tools to overcome inequalities are the new provisions for training and for the protection of our workers – vocational training helping the redistributive potential of social protection systems.

As the current Presidency, we look forward to the Commission proposal on the new social fairness package expected on 7 March. I would like to express our readiness and willingness to start negotiations on it properly within the Council. We also plan to adopt the recommendation on the Framework for Quality and Effective Apprenticeships at the March Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO). The signature of the proclamation of the European pillar of social rights is an important step towards reinforcing the social dimension of Europe. It provides a compass for action towards better working and living conditions in the European Union, hence renewing the process of increasing social convergence.

The Council has already started to work on the implementation of the pillar. The legislative elements of the package, namely the proposals on work—life balance and on transparent and predictable working conditions, are currently being discussed in the preparatory bodies of the Council. As of this year, progress in Member States is monitored in the context of the European Semester through use of the Social Scoreboard, in line with one of the recommendations expressed by Parliament in its resolution on combating inequalities. Furthermore, Employment and Social Affairs Ministers will hold a policy debate on closing the gender pay gap, at the March Council where the future of Social Europe post—2020 will also be discussed.

I would also like to focus your attention on the fact that some of the roots of socio-economic inequalities lie in natural demographic or regional disadvantages, in relation to which investment in cohesion has a very positive impact.

I will listen to your debate, which is also an opportunity to reflect on the consequences of the challenges in front of us. Thank you once again for inviting me and for your attention.


  Marianne Thyssen, Member of the Commission. – Madam President, the topic of this debate is the consequences of rising inequalities – a topic much-talked about in international fora such as the G20 or the United Nations, and of course also in this very House. Over the years, we have gained important insights. We know that rising inequalities act as a brake on growth. Even competitiveness is reinforced by a more equal society.

We also know that rising inequalities come with social by-effects – increased crime rates, decreased health, and lower participation in our democracies. And we see every day how the discontent of citizens that feel left behind, or fear being left behind, is fuelling a populist movement. These are the consequences of rising inequalities. And also for these reasons, reducing inequalities is a priority of the Commission.

The drivers behind the rise in inequalities are numerous. Therefore, our policy response must be multi-dimensional. At European level our message is clear: we have to redouble efforts along the virtuous triangle of investment, structural reforms and responsible fiscal policies, with a focus firmly on social fairness and more inclusive growth.

Inequalities can only be fought through a combination of good jobs, fair tax systems, and adequate social policies. Firstly, it must aim to reduce inequalities in market income, especially by focusing on work. Raising skill levels and preparing our people for the jobs of tomorrow is the first way to address inequality in earnings. Last year we adopted the New Skills Agenda. With the right skills, people are better equipped for good-quality jobs with reliable and adequate incomes.

Moreover, we must create jobs. Wherever possible, the Commission takes steps to boost job creation. For example, via the Capital Markets Union and the Digital Single Market, not to forget the European Investment Plan and Fund. We also strongly push for reforms that support growth in Member States through the European Semester.

Secondly, we need to look at the tax and benefit systems. Having a job is not enough to be included, we also have to look at the tax and benefit systems. The re-launch of the Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base and the initiatives on tax transparency should contribute to ensuring a fair distribution of the products of growth, income and wealth in our Member States. I also want to add the decisions on state aid – I refer to certain tax rulings in certain Member States.

Lastly, we must respond to the rise in inequalities by boosting our social policies. That is why we proclaimed the European Pillar of Social Rights. The Pillar’s principles range from wages to social protection systems, from minimum income to gender equality, from childcare to old-age income, and from health care to access to housing.

The European Semester will play a key role in implementing the Pillar on a national level. Already in the past, as you know, country-specific recommendations have addressed inequality-related issues. Think of the need to improve the adequacy and coverage of safety nets; or think of recommendations on childcare, on education, and on the provision of supporting services. In the current semester cycle, we build on this approach. To give you a glimpse: the Country Reports will pay special attention to investing in skills and building adequate safety nets and supporting sustainable and inclusive growth. Moreover, they will include the Social Scoreboard that accompanies the European Pillar of Social Rights. The Scoreboard contains an indicator on income inequality, but also on skills, childcare, and the impact of social transfers. This is our method of keeping track of Member States’ performance on the implementation of the principles of the Pillar, making clear that effective social policies are a priority for Europe.

But we also have something to do, and for its part the Commission is also implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights. To increase the rights for the most vulnerable workers, we recently presented a proposal for a Directive on Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions. To tackle women’s under-representation in employment, and to create a more balanced distribution of caring responsibilities between women and men, we put forward the Work-Life Balance for Parents and Carers initiative. And we are now working on a Social Fairness Package. The package includes an initiative on improving access to social protection for people employed on non-standard contracts and in various forms of self-employment. This, I believe, is an extremely important step in fighting inequalities.

The Package also includes a proposal for a European Labour Authority and a proposal for a European Social Security Number. More details will follow on 7 March. And of course we will continue to use the European Structural and Investment Funds to support the objectives of the Pillar.

Tackling inequality is an imperative for the European Union, for economic, social and political reasons. Reducing inequalities is the only way to sustain growth and ensure continued competitiveness. It is the only way to ensure that our welfare systems remain sustainable. At the social level, we cannot leave anyone behind, everyone should participate in labour markets and in our societies. At the political level, rising inequalities drive disillusionment in politics and society. People no longer feel in control. The result is the rise of nationalism, protectionism and populism.

We need to put the fight against inequalities at the top of our agenda, you are totally right. With the Pillar we have done that, but now of course it is time and we have to prove that we are able to implement it.


  David Casa, f’isem il-grupp PPE. – Ilkoll naqblu illi l-ekonomija tal-Unjoni Ewropea qiegħda tirkupra u tikber b’rata pożittiva, iżda minkejja dan, fuq in-naħa l-oħra tal-ispettru, teżisti realtà oħra; dik tal-inugwaljanza soċjoekonomika taċ-ċittadini Ewropej. Kif qal il-kollega Bulmen, id-distakk bejn is-sinjur u l-fqir fil-pajjiżi Membri qiegħed jikber u din hija sfida li aħna l-politiċi Ewropej għandna dmir li nagħtu kas għax it-tkabbir ekonomiku li qed iseħħ mhux qed igawdi minnu kulħadd. L-effetti pożittivi ta’ dan it-tkabbir mhuwiex qiegħed jasal għand kulħadd. Huwa essenzjali li nidentifikaw l-għodda li għandna bżonn biex nimmitigaw din il-problema.

Bħalissa ninsabu f’perjodu fejn l-ekonomiji nazzjonali tal-Istati Membri qegħdin jikbru u s-suq tax-xogħol jitjieb, iżda minkejja dan, il-pagi taċ-ċittadini għadhom baxxi u mhumiex jiżdiedu b’mod proporzjonali. Dan ifisser illi ma rridux nassiguraw biss iżjed xogħol, iżda iżjed xogħol b’kundizzjonijiet aħjar; xogħol ta’ kwalità, u dan flimkien ma’ edukazzjoni bi standards għoljin u aċċess għal kura medika diċenti, u dawn flimkien jgħinu biex neliminaw il-problema tal-inugwaljanza. Diversi studji juru li soċjetà inklużiva u ġusta bejn l-irġiel u n-nisa twassal għal tkabbir ekonomiku iżjed b’saħħtu u robust.

Jiena ninsab kuntent ħafna bix-xogħol li qiegħed isir fuq il-proposta tal-Kummissjoni, fuq il-work-life balance fl-Ewropa, li tagħha jiena responsabbli, però [rridu] naħdmu aktar biex nassiguraw li l-bżonnijiet taċ-ċittadini tagħna jiġu indirizzati għall-ġid ta’ kulħadd.

Jekk nilħqu dan l-għan kulħadd igawdi mir-riżultati pożittivi ta’ inklużjoni u ugwaljanza.


  Maria João Rodrigues, on behalf of the S&D Group. – Madam President, one percent of the European population now holds one third of the total wealth, while one third of the European population holds just one percent of the total wealth. So here we have something fundamentally wrong and something unacceptable, because this means having a lot of people in poor working conditions. The most shocking thing concerns young people because we have around one third of young people in Europe living in poverty. This is just unacceptable and this is something which is spreading social tension, hindering growth and undermining democracy and trust in the European Union.

This is the outcome of the accumulated effects of a wrong economic policy, bringing austerity and social unfairness. We must reverse this. It is possible – just look at the Portuguese case – and now we have a powerful solution, which is to implement the European social pillar. With this pillar we want first of all to address the situation of children in Europe, to end child poverty and to address the situation of young people, paving the way for better jobs and access to skills, making sure that everybody can have a proper, decent labour contract and access to social protection.

But how can we deliver all this? We need to have serious work to update social and labour law. We need to promote an economic policy focusing on investment and jobs for the future. We need to have a fiscal policy providing good public services. We need to have a tax policy addressing added value where it is, but most of all we need to make sure that the upcoming European budget will be used to promote this social pillar. I really hope that with the Commission and the Presidency we will move in this direction.

I really regret also that the first row of the EPP and ALDE Groups are not present and participating in this debate. They are absent on this.


  Syed Kamall, on behalf of the ECR group. – Madam President, when we talk about socio-economic inequality, there are often two simple solutions that are offered, You either make the richer poorer, or you make the poorer richer, and I believe that actually what we should do is focus on pathways out of poverty.

One of the most inspiring parts of my job in London, is meeting or helping the many local community projects tackling poverty in their local neighbourhoods. They are often inspired by local people who want to make a difference, so it is disappointing that when politicians or commentators talk about poverty, they tend to focus on what the state can or cannot do, or whether large NGOs are effective or not, too often neglecting the inspirational local community projects in the hearts of our communities.

Though, in some ways, both the Left and the Right have failed the poor. While the Left believe in top-down government, taxing people more to distribute more money to the poor via more public servants, more trade unions, etc., we all know of areas where lots of money has been spent over the years and we still see deprivation in those areas. But many on the Right argue that poverty is best tackled by cutting taxes, creating more jobs with additional wealth trickling down to the poor, but they forget that the welfare state was created since private provision did not reach everyone.

So while state welfare and large NGOs do have a role to play, last month the ECR Group held a global poverty summit which brought together local community projects from across the world to tell their inspiring stories of how they tackled poverty at a grass-roots level.

So, whether the Left call it cooperative socialism, or the Right call it community conservatism or localist libertarianism, I hope that we can all pay more attention and champion the role of grass-roots anti-poverty projects in all our local communities, rather than top-down state or top-down wealth, and I see the Left laughing and insulting these very many community projects.

Allow me on a personal note to end on that equality. I realise I am the first non-white leader of any political group in this Parliament, but I’m still shocked by the lack of racial diversity not only in this House, but across all EU institutions, and if the EU is going to have any credibility on the issues of diversity and equality, it needs to get its own house in order. Let us, across the political spectrum, reach out to young people in all our countries and tell them that whatever your colour, your gender, your religion, your orientation or your background, you should not be afraid to put yourself forward for public office.

The EU is often accused of being a rich white man’s club. It is time to take action if the EU really wishes to live up to its motto of ‘United in Diversity’.


  Enrique Calvet Chambon, au nom du groupe ALDE. – Madame la Présidente, je souhaite la bienvenue à Madame la Commissaire, c’est toujours un plaisir. Je poursuis dans la langue de Cervantès.

Ya es motivo de satisfacción, en un día tan triste para Europa, el que nos planteemos por fin —y por ello he luchado desde el principio en este Parlamento— el problema de las desigualdades y sus gravísimas consecuencias, que son evidentes, y por lo tanto al título de este debate le damos una respuesta enseguida: las consecuencias sobre los ciudadanos es que la economía crece menos, hay más paro por culpa de la descohesión de las sociedades, y las políticas son evidentes —lo ha dicho todo el mundo—: nacimiento del desapego hacia los sistemas políticos, del desapego hacia la democracia, del desapego hacia las instituciones europeas, usándolas como cabezas de turco.

Entonces lo que yo le quiero decir a la comisaria es que hay tres vías esenciales para combatir esto. La primera vía es ir a las estructuras y cambiar la dinámica desigualitaria a medio plazo, y para eso son fundamentales las políticas económicas, pero mucho más que solo, por supuesto, los impuestos, son importantes las inversiones: se pueden realizar inversiones que favorezcan el capital humano, que favorezcan infraestructuras para una mejora de la sociedad, o no. También el comercio lo es. También la política energética, para combatir la pobreza energética. Las grandes políticas macroeconómicas, que ahora hemos conseguido que se vayan a ocupar del índice de Gini, son importantes.

El segundo pilar es el que lleva la señora Thyssen: son las políticas sociales, pero, sobre todo, no las que palian las desigualdades, la pobreza, etc., —esas ya están ahí, esas son parches indispensables—, sino las que estructuran un mercado de trabajo flexible pero más igualitario.

Y en tercer y último lugar —lo olvidamos a menudo—, hay que combatir las desigualdades con más y mejor Europa porque, sin una visión solidaria omnicomprensible de Europa, incluso financieramente, no combatiremos bien las desigualdades en Europa y en el modelo que hemos elegido.


  Rina Ronja Kari, for GUE/NGL-Gruppen. – Fru formand! Først og fremmest vil jeg gerne sige tak til Socialdemokraterne for at sætte dette meget vigtige emne på dagsordenen. Der er ikke nogen tvivl om, at meget af det, der er blevet sagt her i dag, er vi selvfølgelig også enige i. Der er store, alvorlige problemer. Der er stor social usikkerhed. Der er stor arbejdsløshed. Dertil kommer, at alt for mange borgere i dag er bekymrede for dem selv og for deres børns fremtid.

Men ville det ikke være skønt, hvis vi fra Europa-Parlamentet kunne sende et positivt signal om, at det går fremad? Eller i det mindste om, at vi faktisk tager borgernes bekymringer alvorligt? At de bliver hørt?

Kære kolleger! Hvis vi skal se borgerne i øjnene, er vi nødt til at være ærlige. Problemerne er blevet stærkere og er blevet større på grund af EU's indre marked og på grund af den økonomiske nedskæringspolitik, som er blevet gennemtvunget med finanspagten.

Hvis vi faktisk gør op med den stigende ulighed, kræver det også et brud med det EU, vi ser i dag. Det kræver et brud med den økonomiske politik i finanspagten. Hvis I socialdemokrater vi være med til at lave det brud, så hilser vi det rigtigt meget velkomment. Det er meget tiltrængt.


  Philippe Lamberts, au nom du groupe Verts/ALE. – Madame la Présidente, Madame la Commissaire, chers collègues, de Piketty à l’OCDE, en passant par le FMI et Oxfam, les rapports se multiplient et ils convergent tous: les inégalités de revenus et de patrimoine sont reparties à la hausse.

Imaginez-vous, l’an dernier, les plus riches, qui représentent 1 % de la population, ont siphonné 82 % de la richesse créée. 82 %! Et ceci n’est pas un produit du hasard ni de je ne sais quelle loi de la nature, c’est le produit de choix politiques.

Au motif d’assainir les finances publiques et d’atteindre une plus grande efficacité économique – «efficacité», c’est à la mode –, il faut flexibiliser les marchés du travail, mettre les services publics et la protection sociale sous pression, assouplir toute législation qui affaiblirait ou handicaperait nos entreprises, même lorsqu’il s’agit de protéger la santé ou l’environnement. Il faut partir plus tard à la pension, alors que des jeunes peinent à trouver un emploi. Il faut réduire les allocations de chômage, alors qu’à certains endroits de l’Union européenne, pour une offre d’emploi, vous avez des dizaines et des dizaines de candidats.

Rassurez-vous, bonnes gens, la croissance est de retour et l’emploi avec. Mais le problème est que cet emploi se précarise. Il est de moins en moins bien payé, tandis que les détenteurs de capitaux captent une partie toujours plus importante du gâteau. On voudrait nous faire croire que rendre les riches plus riches et les multinationales plus puissantes profiterait à tous. Eh bien, Mesdames et Messieurs, l’économie du ruissellement existe, et elle défie les lois de la gravité, car l’argent va des pauvres aux riches.

Tout cela a des conséquences très concrètes évidemment car, dans notre riche Union européenne, un quart de nos concitoyens, y compris des millions qui ont un travail, sont en risque de pauvreté et d’exclusion sociale, au point pour certains de devoir choisir entre manger ou se soigner, au point de mourir dans les rues de nos villes.

Madame Thyssen, chers collègues, je me réjouis que le pilier européen des droits sociaux ait vu le jour. Cependant, si nous voulons inverser la courbe des inégalités et que ce pilier soit autre chose qu’un alibi moral, il faudra non seulement le rendre aussi contraignant que les règles budgétaires européennes, mais définitivement changer de cap dans nos politiques économiques pour les remettre au service du plus grand nombre de nos concitoyens.


  Laura Agea, a nome del gruppo EFDD. – Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, otto persone nel mondo detengono la ricchezza di quasi tre miliardi di persone. Questi sono i dati Oxfam, che ovviamente ci possono solo fare rabbrividire. Se portiamo questi dati nella nostra Europa, ci accorgiamo che poco cambia se pensiamo che quasi 130 milioni di cittadini europei vivono al di sotto della soglia di povertà. È necessario fare un cambio di strategia, un cambio di rotta e permettere a questo Titanic di raggiungere un porto sicuro.

Le politiche economiche portate avanti dall'Unione europea negli ultimi anni hanno desertificato i diritti sociali e occupazionali, la salute e il benessere dei cittadini, venduti e sacrificati sull'altare della stabilità di riforme strutturali che non hanno minimamente tenuto conto di quelle che erano le conseguenze che gravavano solo e soltanto sui cittadini indifesi. Oggi prenderne atto non solo è doveroso, ma deve imporre a noi legislatori, alla Commissione, al Consiglio, a noi eurodeputati di invertire la marcia.

Le uniche riforme strutturali che servono a quest'Europa in balia di se stessa sono quelle che garantiscono il benessere dei cittadini: stipendi adeguati, la salute garantita e pubblica, condizioni di lavoro accettabili, salari adeguati, una garanzia per i bambini che vivono al di sotto della soglia di povertà. Fin quando non ci occuperemo dei nostri figli, non potremmo essere noi ad andare a dare lezioni di democrazia ad altri paesi. Ci vogliono impegno, coraggio e azioni immediate.


  Auke Zijlstra, namens de ENF-Fractie. – Voorzitter, ongelijkheden in de maatschappij zijn van alle tijden. Tot op zekere hoogte zijn ongelijkheden ook goed. Want als er geen succesvolle mensen zijn, wie is dan nog het rolmodel voor jongeren? En waar moet ambitie zich dan op richten?

Maar in Nederland is al tientallen jaren geen koopkrachtgroei meer voor gezinnen, zo laat onderzoek van Rabobank zien. De belastingen zijn gestegen voor een almaar groeiende overheid, onder andere om massa—immigratie te betalen en ontwikkelingshulp en subsidies voor iedereen met een linkse mening, maar ook voor de voortdurend stijgende uitgaven van de Europese Unie. Want politieke ambities worden uiteindelijk door burgers als loonslaven betaald.

Zo'n kostbare politieke ambitie is de euro. Het ontbreken van wisselkoersen tussen de landen heeft geleid tot massawerkloosheid en ontsporende staatsfinanciën. Dankzij de euro zijn er nu ook landen waar, in plaats van stagnatie, de inkomens daadwerkelijk gedaald zijn, namelijk in Zuid-Europa. Miljoenen mensen uit deze landen zijn vertrokken naar Noord-Europa op zoek naar werk, op zoek naar perspectief dat daar echter ook niet meer te vinden is.

Voorzitter, dit kan zo niet langer. Wat we nodig hebben, is: lagere belastingen en een hogere arbeidsinkomensquote. De migratie moet worden gestopt en de euro ontmanteld. Zo eenvoudig is het.


  Zoltán Balczó (NI). – Elnök Asszony! Ebben az ülésteremben sok szó esik a migrációról, a külső migrációról, az Európába irányuló bevándorlásról, de nagyon kevés szó a belső migrációról, az Unió keleti feléből a nyugati felébe irányuló munkaerő-áramlásról. Az árak ugyanis kiegyenlítődtek az Unió két fele között, a bérek között azonban szakadék van. És ezt ismerte föl a Jobbik Magyarországért Mozgalom, amikor elindított egy európai polgári kezdeményezést, amit a Bizottság befogadott, hogy ezt a bérszakadékot kezdjük megszüntetni, mert ha ez nem történik meg, ez az egész Unió szétszakadásához vezethet. Természetesen egyik napról a másikra nem lehet eredményt elérni. De amikor a jövő hét év költségvetésén gondolkodunk, akkor fontos lenne, hogy a forrásokat, a kohéziós alapokat úgy irányítsuk ezekbe az országokba, hogy a valódi hozzáadott értéket teremtő vállalkozásokat támogassák, akik minőségi munkahelyet tudnak teremteni, és hozzájárulnak e bérszakadék csökkentéshez.


  Sofia Ribeiro (PPE). – Senhor Presidente, queria começar por me dirigir à colega Maria João Rodrigues e dizer que foi profundamente lamentável a sua referência à presidência do PPE. Em primeiro lugar, porque não está cá também o presidente do seu grupo político; em segundo lugar, porque foi um profundo desrespeito para com todos os elementos desta Casa.

Se no grupo socialista há a consideração de que só há representatividade na primeira linha deste plenário por parte do PPE, nós estamos aqui todos os deputados da Comissão do Emprego e dos Assuntos Sociais a fazer este debate. E é também profundamente lamentável, Cara Colega, o seu discurso miserabilista. Nós temos que ter políticas europeias que se traduzam numa verdadeira alavanca social. Nós temos que ter políticas europeias para que se possa garantir o crescimento económico e o combate às desigualdades, para que se possa alavancar toda uma sociedade com políticas proporcionadas e diferenciadas.

Isto implica uma maior atenção à classe média e a classe média no nosso país tem ordenados baixos, muito próximos do ordenado mínimo, mas paga impostos, paga contribuições, não tem os mesmos apoios no acesso à educação dos seus filhos, não tem os mesmos apoios na Segurança Social, não tem os mesmos apoios no acesso à saúde. É uma classe que, em termos líquidos, está a ganhar muito abaixo dos mínimos e nós não podemos ter um discurso miserabilista que esqueça a classe média porque a Europa que eu defendo é uma Europa de igualdade de oportunidades, não é exclusiva de uma outra classe, tem que ter políticas diferenciadas aplicáveis a todos, para que possamos prosseguir o sonho europeu.


  Jeppe Kofod (S&D). – Madam President, I would like to thank the Council and the Commissioner for their response. I think this debate on rising inequality and the consequences of it is core to what we should do, as politicians, to fight these consequences, to ensure that we have policies that will change this behaviour and ensure that, instead of inequality, we have quality spread out through our societies. It has been said many times that eight men now own the same as half of the world’s population. It is a disgrace and, also, if you look at the years 2008 to 2016, we spent EUR 653 billion to save the banks in Europe, but how much effort do we spend to save young people and the people who are suffering the inequalities that are on the rise. It is economic inequality and inequality in health. It is in education and all aspects of society.

I have to say to my good colleague, Mr Kamall, that fighting inequality is more than charity. Actually where we have well—functioning welfare states in Europe, that is the biggest equality machine we can create on this planet. It is proven. Come to the Nordic countries and you see that it works – and listen. What the EU can do is important. The Commissioner alluded to it. We need a strong social pillar. We need to ensure that we support our Member States so they can fight inequality and create opportunity for all of us. We need a strong social contract because our social contract is jeopardised in our societies today, with severe consequences for democracy and for extremism.

So we need to rebuild our social contract and I think we also need a social contract that will ensure that the big multinational corporations and the rich individuals pay their fair tax. It is too easy for them to avoid paying their fair tax and it is undermining our welfare state and undermining the fight against inequality.

So, friends, we believe in a European dream and a European dream is that all people, regardless of their background, have the chance to have a good life, good education and good work.



  Joachim Starbatty (ECR). – Frau Präsidentin! Herr Bullmann, Frau Rodrigues, ich bin Ihnen dankbar, dass Sie dieses Thema auf die Tagesordnung gesetzt haben. Es ist wirklich ein brisantes Thema. Aber ich muss sagen, ich habe hier nur normative Sätze gehört: Wir müssen tun, wir müssen Rechte einführen.

Ein Arzt, wenn er Therapien macht, macht zunächst eine Diagnose. Ich habe hier keine Diagnose gehört. Die Euro-Zone wird als eine Einheit betrachtet. Man sagt, die Arbeitslosigkeit ist im Jahre 2017 zurückgegangen. Nein, wenn Sie Deutschland herausrechnen, ist die Arbeitslosigkeit immer noch höher als im Jahre 2009. Und wenn wir sehen, dass jetzt die Arbeitslosigkeit zurückgeht und die Beschäftigung zunimmt – ja, wo nimmt sie denn zu? Bei den prekären Arbeitsverhältnissen, beim Niedriglohn. Das ist Konsequenz einer internen Abwertung. Das ist einfach so.

Wenn Sie eine Währungsunion sind, sind von den drei Aktionsparametern, die für die Wettbewerbsfähigkeit einer Volkswirtschaft zentral sind, zwei weg: die Zinsen und die Wechselkurse. Da bleibt nur der Arbeitsmarkt. Da bleiben nur die Löhne. Die Arbeitslosigkeit steigt, die Löhne gehen herunter, und dann wird man wieder wettbewerbsfähig. Das ist die Konsequenz der Währungsunion. Da kann man noch soviel drüber schimpfen über das, was an Ungleichheit da ist. Hier muss man ansetzen.

Wenn der Arbeitsmarkt als Anpassungsmechanismus reagiert, haben wir genau die Situation, die Sie jetzt beklagen, und wir werden das in fünf Jahren noch einmal beklagen, weil es sich nicht geändert hat. Was wir wirklich machen müssen, ist, darauf zu achten, dass die Länder wettbewerbsfähig werden. Ohne Wettbewerbsfähigkeit gibt es keine gut bezahlten Arbeitsplätze. Wenn der Economist vor zehn Jahren über Griechenland gesagt hat: Greece‘s economy is hopelessly uncompetitive. Das ist der Grund für die Schwierigkeiten, die Griechenland hat. Wenn Sie das beklagen, das ist von Ihnen politisch so akzeptiert. Wenn Sie die Währungsunion haben, geht es immer nur über den Arbeitsmarkt. Und dann höre ich hier: Wir müssen die Währungsunion sicherer machen. Nein, wir müssen die Arbeitsplätze für die Menschen und die Einkommen sicherer machen, nicht die Währungsunion!


  Yana Toom (ALDE). – Madam President, thank you for this debate which I hope will be fruitful. Regional policy is an important aspect of the fight against poverty. In Europe there are regions where many more people than the EU average live at or below the poverty line. However, in a particularly bad situation are those regions that suffer from poor quality of EU relations with the European neighbourhood. In my native country, Estonia, Ida-Virumaa county is an example of a territory with such problems. It is a very poor, de-industrialised region, geographically isolated on the EU-Russian border and populated by a Russian linguistic minority. In such conditions the fight against poverty is also an important security issue. In regions like Ida-Virumaa the fight against poverty must be comprehensive. For this, both economic restructuring and normalisation of relations with neighbouring Russia are needed.

I support the expansion of all opportunities to support out of the European Structural Funds any national policies aimed at the reduction of poverty, and, of course, the implementation of the social pillar. For I strongly believe that poverty causes indifference, and indifference is bad support for protecting European borders.


  Marisa Matias (GUE/NGL). – Senhora Presidente, Senhora Comissária, fala-se aqui hoje de desigualdades socioeconómicas como se elas fossem resultado da vontade divina ou de alguma catástrofe natural, mas não são, são resultado de políticas concretas, muitas delas impostas por esta União Europeia. São resultados dessas políticas a liberalização do mercado laboral, a precariedade, os salários baixos, o desemprego elevado, os níveis de pobreza insustentáveis.

A Senhora Comissária apresentou, entre outras propostas, o aumento dos salários e também a criação de novos empregos. O que eu lhe pergunto, Senhora Comissária, é como é que isso é compatível com a recomendação que ainda esta semana a Comissão Europeia fez a Portugal e a Espanha, para dizer que é preciso ir mais longe em reformas que reduzam a proteção laboral excessiva nos contratos permanentes.

Senhora Comissária, são os contratos precários que aprofundam a desigualdade, são os salários baixos que aprofundam a desigualdade. Nós precisamos, sim, de criar empregos, mas empregos com direitos. Em Portugal aumentou-se o salário mínimo contra Bruxelas, repôs-se os cortes contra Bruxelas e eu espero que também se reforce a legislação laboral contra Bruxelas.


  Terry Reintke (Verts/ALE). – Madam President, yes, colleagues are right. Social inequality should be fought by any means, and as a matter of itself, but even more so – as any history book will tell you – when there are rising inequalities in society. There are certain politicians, and we have them here in this Chamber too, who will use this – who will instrumentalise the fear and the social problems arising from it – to play the weaker against the weakest.

We see this today. We see refugees being played against pensioners, we see Greek nurses being played against single mothers in Germany. And, I tell you, instead of following this divisive rhetoric and these divisive so-called proposals, we need to present something from European level to show that we are fighting for greater social equality.

I agree, yes, we have a currency union so we are tied together: so we also have to work together on social matters and introduce social standards at European level, because otherwise I believe the whole European project is in danger, and we do not want that. We need to act now.


  Rolandas Paksas (EFDD). – Kalbant apie augančias socialinės ir ekonominės nelygybės pasekmes Europos piliečiams pirmiausia reikėtų atsakyti į klausimą, kas gi daroma ne taip, kad ta nelygybė nuolat auga? Gal ta socialinė atskirtis vis labiau didėja nuolat gąsdinantis, gąsdinant karinėmis grėsmėmis ir finansuojant naujų karinių dalinių steigimą ir karo pramonę toje pačioje Europoje? Kol karo dievai turtėja, visuomenė vis labiau skursta. Manau, kad su socialine atskirtimi kovojant tik žodžiais ateis laikas, kai jaunimo nedarbas, politikų tarnystę oligarchų kapitalui, globalizmo propaganda ir visuomenės skurdas taps katalizatoriumi, kuris įžiebs pilietinio pasipriešinimo ugnies židinius atskirose Europos valstybėse.


  Deirdre Clune (PPE). – Madam President, two days ago in this Parliament, Mr Draghi told us that the European economy had grown by 2.5% last year – his predictions were for 1.5%. We know that many of our domestic economies are growing and about the challenges to harness and to channel that growth where it can be effective, but have evidence that jobs as we know them are changing, the labour market is changing and the typical permanent pensionable job is no longer there for many. There is evidence of temporary, part—time working on a contract basis, flexible labour market and, of course, with automation, robots and globalisation, employment as we know it is changing. So we need to ensure that we have strong and effective protection measures in place for workers. Minimum income is important and tackling zero—hours contracts is very, very important to give some certainty to workers.

But it is not all about inequality in terms of income. It is also about inequality in terms of opportunity, and inequality in terms of outcomes as well. We continually need to focus on skills and education and ensure that our young people, in particular, have the necessary training, the necessary education opportunities, if we are to provide them with the skills that employers are articulating today that they do not have and cannot find on the labour market.

Some European countries have better outcomes than others, and we must work together to ensure that those differences are addressed. The forthcoming European Social Pillar is one way that we can tackle those inequalities in a European way.


  Agnes Jongerius (S&D). – Madam President, we, the Socialists and Democrats, have found new, unexpected allies and I don’t mean here in the Chamber. I mean that, if the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank are pleading for a pay rise for employees in Europe, what more need we say? Yet can we stay silent on the consequences of rising social and economic inequalities in Europe?

Let us start on a positive note. The European economy is growing, unemployment rates are falling and most economic theorists are telling us the fairytale that people will benefit from growth. But unfortunately not everybody is getting a fair share of the pie. On the one hand, we see companies still focusing on the well—being of their shareholders while the pay gap between the top chiefs and the average worker remains startling, and most multinationals are also still dodging taxes. On the other hand, we see the working-class families in Europe falling behind.

Being in work reduces the risk of poverty. That is, at least, the normal theory. How is it possible then in Europe that the number of working poor is still growing and growing? I will repeat what our unexpected allies are saying, namely that a pay rise would be good for business, for jobs, for workers and therefore for the European economy: a pay rise which, in my view, cannot be achieved without strong trade unions and strong collective bargaining.

That does not, of course, help to reduce child poverty. We should address that issue separately. But a pay rise is really necessary.


  Zbigniew Kuźmiuk (ECR). – Pani Przewodnicząca! Pani Komisarz! Zabierając głos w tej debacie, chcę bardzo mocno podkreślić, że polska delegacja w grupie ECR jest zdecydowanie przeciwna harmonizacji polityk socjalnych państw członkowskich, tworzeniu jednolitego systemu ubezpieczeń społecznych, czy też jednolitego systemu emerytalnego. Kraje przyjęte do Unii po 2004 r. wprawdzie skracają dystans do najbardziej rozwiniętych państw Europy Zachodniej, ale ciągle jeszcze nie stać ich na taki sam poziom wydatków na cele socjalne. Dla przyśpieszenia rozwoju całej Unii Europejskiej zdecydowanie lepszy skutek niż decyzja o nierównościach społecznych miałaby dyskusja o usuwaniu nierówności międzygranicznych, takim jak likwidacja nierówności w traktowaniu przedsiębiorstw z krajów nowej Unii na rynkach krajów starej Unii, likwidacja ograniczeń w dostępie do rynku usług w krajach starej Unii Europejskiej, czy też likwidacja podwójnych standardów jakości produktów w zależności od państwa, w którym są sprzedawane.


  Marian Harkin (ALDE). – Madam President, today we have heard the headline figures on the wealth divide, but I want to look at some of the underlying figures.

Two points: employment is increasing, but the number of people working full—time in 2017 is lower than in 2008 and the number of people working part—time in 2017 is 11.9 % higher than in 2008. We also have a rise in bogus self—employment with many workers having no security whatsoever. Therefore, Commissioner, I anticipate your proposal on social fairness and hope it will deliver, regardless of the sector.

Secondly, intergenerational fairness. Youth employment levels are almost twice the average unemployment levels, but even more worrying is the fact that since 2007 younger workers are significantly losing income share as opposed to older workers, and this is increasing year on year. That is an unexploded bomb in our midst.


  João Pimenta Lopes (GUE/NGL). – Senhora Presidente, os dados existentes traduzem a realidade inequívoca de crescentes e tremendas desigualdades na UE, desigualdades agravadas pelas políticas de austeridade da União Europeia que, em países como Portugal, tiveram gravíssimas consequências.

As políticas da UE e dos partidos que a seguem cegamente em Portugal trouxeram a precariedade, o brutal aumento da exploração, desregulação laboral, o desemprego, a pobreza, o êxodo de centenas de milhares de cidadãos.

A luta dos trabalhadores e do povo, a ação firme dos comunistas portugueses impôs a reversão de muitas medidas gravosas, permitiu o aumento de rendimentos, a recuperação de direitos sociais, com um impacto significativo para a população, ainda que de alcance limitado.

É o espartilho da governação económica e das políticas da União Europeia que impõe essas limitações aos necessários avanços laborais e sociais, às políticas de desenvolvimento e investimento do país. Assim o demonstram as recomendações específicas por país ou o último relatório trimestral para a zona euro que afirma que Portugal tem uma excessiva proteção laboral dos contratos sem termo, desmascarando, pondo a nu o logro que é o pilar social.


  Bill Etheridge (EFDD). – Madam President, the society that puts equality before freedom ends up with neither. We’re here again, talking about the European social pillar, one of my favourite subjects. it is a do-gooders charter. it is more intervention by the state into the lives of individual people and into businesses. it is the dead hand of the state pressing down upon all of our economies, seeking to alter and change things to suit the view of the elite in rooms like this.

What about giving people equality of opportunity rather than equality of outcome? The poor do not want to be treated like clients of the state; the poor want to work their way to more prosperity. The reality is that when you hear the lover of the big state talking about equality, what they want to do is take all of our levels of income and bring them closer together and level it down. The lover of freedom doesn’t mind if we’re going up, as long as we’re going up. Everyone’s level of wealth and income goes up according to their ability and their talents and their skills and their economic ability within their country.

Let’s make our people wealthier. Let’s make the whole peoples of Europe wealthier – and here’s the way we do it. We free them. We free them to have free market enterprise. We free them to express their talents and skills. We free them to make money, and we free the nation states so that each and every nation state can compete according to its ability, can make the right environment for its people to trade and make money in, and can each and every one of them unleash a real entrepreneurial spirit and allow the poor to get better conditions and more wealth for their families through hard work. Free our people. Free our nations, and wealth will come with free enterprise.


  Anne Sander (PPE). – Madame la Présidente, Madame la Commissaire, si l’Europe va mieux et si les indicateurs repassent au vert, il reste de nombreuses inégalités. 87 millions d’Européens vivent sous le seuil de pauvreté, soit près d’un Européen sur six. Pour lutter contre ces inégalités, il faut une multitude d’actions et l’initiative sur le socle social va évidemment dans le bon sens.

Pour ma part, je voudrais insister sur la nécessité de garantir l’accès de chacun aux compétences, quel que soit son territoire ou son genre, pour s’insérer facilement et durablement sur le marché de l’emploi. Pour acquérir ce bagage de compétences et pour qu’il soit en adéquation avec les besoins des entreprises, c’est sur l’apprentissage, en formation initiale ou continue, que nous devons aujourd’hui miser. Car l’apprentissage est la voie de l’excellence pour se former à un métier et donc pour s’intégrer plus facilement dans les entreprises et se protéger plus durablement de la pauvreté.

Pour convaincre les jeunes d’en faire un premier choix, les États doivent aujourd’hui en changer l’image avec les professions et mieux l’encadrer. Il faut aussi changer la logique qui prévaut au moment de l’orientation. L’apprentissage doit devenir une voie choisie et non subie. Ensuite, il faut mieux accompagner les apprentis tout au long de leur parcours d’apprentissage, en privilégiant une approche personnalisée. Enfin, il faut ouvrir la mobilité aux apprentis.


  Javi López (S&D). – Señora presidenta, de la gran recesión está emergiendo un nuevo consenso que nos dice que los actuales e insoportables niveles de desigualdad y las obscenas concentraciones de riqueza que van aparejadas no solo nos interpelan en términos éticos o sociales sino que hoy están socavando nuestras democracias, poniendo en riesgo el propio orden liberal internacional o la integración europea y dañando nuestras economías y nuestro potencial crecimiento económico.

¿Qué hacer frente a esta insoportable realidad? Actuar, primero, en el ámbito del mercado laboral: la precariedad, los bajos salarios, o la negociación colectiva, que está en la raíz de la desigualdad por ingresos. Actuar en nuestros estados del bienestar para poder actualizarlos y que desempeñen el papel de redistribución que siempre les había tocado desempeñar. Actuar para combatir la desigualdad de género, atacando especialmente la brecha salarial. Actuar para coordinar nuestras políticas de impuestos, impositivas, y dar margen de maniobra a los presupuestos de los Estados miembros. Actuar para regular y afrontar la digitalización, el comercio internacional o la globalización, que sabemos que generan beneficios pero que luego los reparten muy mal. Actuar para rehacer la solidaridad entre generaciones y responder así a la falta de oportunidades de los jóvenes, o a la peor cara de la pobreza: la pobreza infantil. Y actuar a todos los niveles. También a nivel europeo, como dijo un reciente informe del Parlamento Europeo aprobado este otoño.

Porque lo que había hecho único a este continente, a Europa, era su economía social de mercado, es decir, reconciliar progreso, democracia y crecimiento. Y el pilar europeo de derechos sociales es nuestra herramienta para dar cuerpo al alma de Europa.


  Pirkko Ruohonen-Lerner (ECR). – Arvoisa puhemies, eriarvoistumiskehitys alkaa pahimmillaan jo lapsuudessa. Vähäosaisten vanhempien lapset ovat yhä useammin itse vähäosaisia elämässään, ilman mahdollisuutta sosiaaliseen nousuun.

Tämän vuoksi on ensiarvoisen tärkeää, että tasokas julkinen päivähoito ja koulu tarjoavat samanlaiset lähtökohdat kaikille lapsille perheen taustasta huolimatta. Itseohjautuvuuden vaatimukset jo peruskouluikäisille ja työelämän kovat vaatimukset myöhemmin syrjäyttävät monia.

Meidän täällä Euroopan parlamentissa, komissiossa ja jäsenmaissa tulisi jatkuvasti miettiä, miten voimme vähentää kasvavaa eriarvoisuutta. Mahdollisimman tasa-arvoisten lähtökohtien takaaminen kaikille lapsille neuvolasta päivähoitoon ja oppimiserojen kaventaminen ovat parhaita keinoja. Tähän me voimme kaikki vaikuttaa kehittämällä kotimaissamme lapsiperheiden palveluja sekä koulutukseen liittyviä rakenteita ja toimintatapoja.


  Paloma López Bermejo (GUE/NGL). – Señora presidenta, desempleo, empleos de baja calidad, pobreza, desigualdad, desafección: esto, señora comisaria, no es una plaga bíblica. Es la consecuencia de las políticas neoliberales, depredadoras social y medioambientalmente, que han aplicado para aprovechar la crisis en beneficio de unos pocos. Ahora se escandalizan porque esto genera desafección y crecen la extrema derecha y los fascismos. Pues corregirlo es fácil y está en su mano.

Cambien de políticas. Y no de forma nominal, como están haciendo con el pilar social. Pidan que se reviertan las reformas laborales; que se recupere la negociación colectiva; que se genere empleo de calidad; que se incrementen los salarios y se refuerce también el papel de la representación de los trabajadores; que se establezcan y potencien mecanismos públicos de lucha contra la pobreza, como son las rentas mínimas y como son las pensiones; que se recuperen los servicios públicos, la inversión pública, la investigación, las tecnologías y, sobre todo, la cultura.

Ya sé que a sus socios de las finanzas y las multinacionales estas recetas no les gustan, pero se sorprenderían, si salieran a la calle, de lo bien recibidas que serían por los trabajadores y la ciudadanía.


  David Coburn (EFDD). – Madam President, the real reason for the rising social and economic inequalities among European citizens is the EU’s open-door, uncontrolled mass migration from Asia and Africa of low-skilled and unskilled workers. This depresses wages and stresses social and health services to breaking point. Many of them are at that point now.

This is one of the main reasons why Great Britain is leaving the EU. Our workers are angry. They are losing their jobs, and they are losing their health service. Thanks to Angela Merkel’s open invitation to migrants, we have been importing real poverty at a time when labour is being replaced by robotics and computers throughout Europe. This has led to violence, social disruption and racism. Look at what is happening in Sweden.

The euro, which is essentially a soft deutschmark, has impoverished the people of southern Europe and created mass unemployment in Spain – as you, Ms Rodrigues, know – and in Portugal, with financial collapse and EU direct rule in Greece and the removal of their freely elected government.

The European Union fears Brexit, really fears it. Britain is a free-market alternative to the EU’s economic model which is, on the other hand, an East-European-style socialist command economy that has failed miserably over the last 50 years. Why would you want to return to this? Why must so many people in this place – many of you who worked for East European totalitarian regimes – want to return to that human misery? Why? Why won’t you learn?

Britain will sit on the EU’s doorstep, and show your system up for the sham that it is. We will attract other countries, such as Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic, to come and join us and see what a real free arrangement of sovereign nations is all about.


  Csaba Sógor (PPE). – Madam President, the worrying long-term increase in inequality, both in times of growth as well as during recession, should indeed worry us. It is the least well-off who suffer most of the consequences of inequality. However, the phenomenon has already started to bite into the fortunes and social mobility of the middle class, too. More and more working families are struggling to make ends meet. Besides its impact on the individual and on social cohesion in general, income inequality raises other concerns as well: it undermines the good functioning of the economy, slows productivity and growth, and hampers innovation. The whole society suffers if we do not have a healthy, well-skilled and well-educated workforce.

In my country, the richest 20% of the population have an income over eight times higher than that of the poorest 20%. This is the result not just of unequal access to education, services and the labour market, but also of the toleration of undeclared work and an ineffective tax and social transfer system, as the Commission has underlined in its Country Specific Recommendations.

This is why it is so urgent that we search for effective means to reduce inequality. The solution can only lie in a coordinated and wide enough use of policy instruments, such as development of fair and effective taxation systems, creation of good jobs, and investment in quality early education that is accessible to all, as well as in continuous skill-development enabling upward mobility.


  Kathleen Van Brempt (S&D). – Mevrouw de voorzitter, mevrouw de commissaris, ik zou willen beginnen met het werk van Richard Wilkinson te citeren, een Britse onderzoeker die baanbrekend werk heeft geleverd over ongelijkheid. Eigenlijk valt het kort samen te vatten als volgt: samenlevingen waar diepe ongelijkheid heerst, zijn samenlevingen waar het erg moeilijk gaat. Omgekeerd is een samenleving met weinig ongelijkheid en veel gelijkheid, een samenleving waar iedereen gelukkig is. Iedereen is heel belangrijk. Het gaat niet alleen over de armen. Iedereen in de samenleving is beter af wanneer er minder ongelijkheid is.

Wat misschien nog belangrijk is om te onderstrepen: grote en toenemende ongelijkheid is ook een gevaar voor onze democratie. Dat is eigenlijk logisch. Mensen die allemaal samen aan een samenleving bouwen en daar allemaal op hun manier aan bijdragen maar daar heel oneerlijk voor worden beloond, voelen dat aan als zeer onrechtvaardig. Een democratie – dat weten we allemaal – is veel meer dan dit Parlement of de rechtsstaat. Dat is een middel om tot een doel te geraken. Met andere woorden, ervoor te zorgen dat iedereen vrij en gelukkig kan samenleven en dat kan in een samenleving met minder ongelijkheid. Dat is essentieel.

De Commissie is de laatste tijd – met onze volle steun – enorm actief op het vlak van de rechtsstaat. Denk aan wat we doen in Polen. Denk aan wat we doen in Hongarije. Dat is belangrijk. Dat deel van de democratie wordt verdedigd. De vraag is: willen we dat andere deel van de democratie alstublieft met evenveel vuur verdedigen? Mijn collega's hebben al gesproken over de sociale pijler en eerlijke belastingen. Maar laten we heel duidelijk zijn. Het gaat over een uitdaging die veel breder is dan de aanpak van armoede, hoe belangrijk die ook is. Het gaat over een aanpak die ervoor zorgt dat onze Europese democratie een toekomst heeft.


  Ulrike Trebesius (ECR). – Frau Präsidentin! Die Studien, die hier seit Jahren durch das Europäische Parlament verwendet werden, sind methodisch teils fragwürdig. Sie werfen postkommunistische Länder, die noch eine niedrige Ungleichheit und ein hohes Wachstum haben, mit westlichen Staaten in einen Topf. Ungleichheit ist aber der Anreiz in einer Marktwirtschaft, um produktiv tätig zu werden. Denn ja, es gibt Ungleichheit.

In meinem Land geraten in vielen Städten die Immobilienpreise außer Kontrolle, weil die EU-Binnenmigration sehr hoch ist und Mario Draghi mit seiner Geldpolitik Blasen an den Immobilienmärkten erzeugt. So geraten Millionen von Haushalten unter Druck – das ist unfair.

Es gibt weitere Blasen: z. B. an den Aktienmärkten. Aktienbesitzer sind reicher geworden, weil Mario Draghi die Kurse hochtreibt. Wenn die Zinsen nicht mehr manipuliert werden, werden sie diesen Reichtum verlieren. Soll man Aktienbesitzer für Draghis Geldpolitik bestrafen? Das wäre nicht fair, weil diese Ungleichheit politisch verursacht ist. Die Politik dieses Hauses trägt oft dazu bei, wenn vielleicht auch ungewollt, die Ungleichheit zu verschärfen.


  Dennis de Jong (GUE/NGL). – Voorzitter, al tientallen jaren gelooft de Europese Unie in een ongebreidelde marktwerking. We weten allemaal dat de markt oog heeft voor de aandeelhouders. We weten ook allemaal dat de markt de lonen zo laag mogelijk wil houden. Dit leidt tot flexbanen en armoede. Want met een baan waar je niet van rond kunt komen, gaat je kind hongerig naar school. In Nederland kunnen de voedselbanken de vraag van 135 000 mensen niet meer aan. In Rotterdam op de markt zie ik 's avonds na sluitingstijd mensen zoeken naar de laatste etensresten. Dat is Europa. Dat is Nederland op dit moment.

Als we doorgaan met het geloof in een markt die we niet reguleren, dan gaat de uitbuiting door, hebben de aandeelhouders een goeie tijd en hebben de meeste mensen – de 90 % die niet beschikken over pakweg tweederde van het vermogen van de overige 10 % – het nakijken. Ik wil een sociaal protocol dat de markt onderwerpt aan sociale rechten en niet een niet—verbindende sociale pijler.


  Krzysztof Hetman (PPE). – Pani Przewodnicząca! Szanowni Państwo! Od pewnego czasu obserwujemy w Unii ożywienie gospodarcze i poprawę koniunktury. Bezrobocie systematycznie spada. Zwiększeniu ulegają inwestycje. Niestety korzyści z tej sytuacji nie rozkładają się równomiernie pomiędzy obywateli Unii Europejskiej. Jesteśmy świadkami utrzymujących się, czy wręcz pogłębiających nierówności. Uważam, że aby wzrost gospodarczy był inkluzyjny i obejmował całe społeczeństwo, musimy przede wszystkim zadbać o dobrze funkcjonujący rynek pracy. Samo zmniejszenie bezrobocia to za mało. Praca musi być dobrej jakości. Zapewniać pracownikom stabilizację i bezpieczeństwo oraz odpowiednie wynagrodzenie. Należy też z całą stanowczością walczyć z nadużyciami, czyli przede wszystkim pracą niedeklarowaną, ale też z przymusową pracą na niepełny etat. Pracownicy muszą też mieć stworzone dogodne warunki do łączenia życia rodzinnego i zawodowego, aby móc pozostać aktywnymi także w sytuacji opieki nad dziećmi czy osobą zależną. Nie możemy zapominać też o najsłabszych członkach naszego społeczeństwa: osobach niepełnosprawnych, przewlekle chorych i starszych. Chętnym do pracy musimy zapewnić odpowiednie wsparcie i możliwości, natomiast pozostałym – godne warunki do aktywnego starzenia się i udziału w społeczeństwie. Oczywiście, aby zachować konkurencyjność gospodarki i dobrą koniunkturę, musimy utrzymywać odpowiednią równowagę i wspierać także przedsiębiorców, zapewniając im dostęp do finansowania i nowych technologii.


  Georgi Pirinski (S&D). – Madam President, the topic of this discussion – the consequences of rising socio-economic inequalities for European citizens – is central to overall European Union policies. The drastic statistics on inequalities, surpassing any imaginable degree of sustainability, are by now more than well known. But what are the driving forces and, above all, the policy responses?

As for the reasons, the aim of maximising short-term profits has led to a corporate model based on price competition and avoidance of obligations, be they social or environmental. In addition, it has led to downward pressures on workers’ and producers’ pay and on labour and environmental standards, and to companies paying as little tax as possible; with ever greater political power in favour of policies preserving and safeguarding the present system.

The European Union’s main tool for reducing inequalities between and within Member States is cohesion policy, which we must endow with political power, human resources and financial needs, ensuring it becomes the lead priority in the post-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). This means that European funding for cohesion policy must increase. The new cohesion policy framework needs to support, in particular but not only, the poorest European regions. Priority emphasis must be put on social investment. National co-financing should not be taken into account in deficit calculations as part of the Stability and Growth Pact, and grants ought to remain the standard form of financing.

Furthermore it is crucial that citizens become actively engaged in shaping the policies that influence their daily lives. This means gaining citizens’ support for transforming the EU into a fully fledged Social Union – a Union of the people, by the people and for the people.


  Eleonora Forenza (GUE/NGL). – Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, in quest'Aula durante questo dibattito ho sentito più volte citare i dati Oxfam, che ovviamente preoccupano moltissimo anche me. Però ho sentito parlare dell'aumento della povertà e dell'aumento della disuguaglianza come se si trattasse di catastrofi naturali, come se non ci fossero delle responsabilità politiche nell'aver determinato questo quadro e questo aumento delle disuguaglianze.

Io penso che le responsabilità politiche vadano nominate, perché sono anche in quest'Aula, sono della grande coalizione tra popolari e socialisti che hanno la maggioranza in questo Parlamento, che governano la Commissione, che governano in moltissimi Stati membri. Credo che ci siano delle soluzioni assolutamente praticabili: la riduzione d'orario a parità di salario, la piena parità salariale tra donne e uomini, il reddito minimo garantito, così come già previsto da una risoluzione di questo Parlamento europeo, e un salario minimo europeo. Se non anteponessimo il Fiscal Compact e la difesa dei profitti alla difesa del lavoro, potremmo farli anche in Europa.


  Geoffroy Didier (PPE). – Madame la Présidente, chers collègues, Nelson Mandela affirmait que, tant que l’injustice perdurerait, nul ne pourrait prendre de repos. Manifestement, du repos, nous ne sommes pas prêts d’en prendre.

Oui, les inégalités s’aggravent avec un taux de risque de pauvreté qui touche désormais le quart de la population européenne. Les premières victimes de ce phénomène sont évidemment les peuples eux-mêmes, mais ne nous leurrons pas, c’est aussi l’image de l’Europe qui est désormais en jeu, parce que les inégalités sont la première cause de défiance à l’égard de la construction européenne.

Et c’est dans cette Assemblée plus qu’ailleurs qu’il nous faut non seulement être conscients des fractures, mais aussi trouver de moyens de les résorber. J’en propose aujourd’hui un très concret: approfondissons l’Europe là où elle est la plus utile. Vous savez que l’initiative pour l’emploi des jeunes, qui aide tous ceux de la nouvelle génération qui ne suivent ni études ni formation, s’applique d’ores et déjà aux régions où le taux de chômage des jeunes est supérieur à 25 %.

Je propose concrètement que cette politique européenne puisse à l’avenir être élargie aux régions où le taux de chômage des jeunes est supérieur, non plus à 25 %, mais à 20 %. Cela signifierait, par exemple, que dans mon pays, en France, où, malheureusement, chacun subit le creusement des inégalités du fait d’une politique gouvernementale particulièrement injuste, le programme d’aide européen s’appliquerait non plus à sept mais à douze régions.

Mes chers collègues, pour conclure, nous croyons fondamentalement dans l’Europe, parce que c’est l’union qui fait la force, mais si nous voulons la légitimer dans le cœur des peuples, donnons-lui très vite une vocation bien plus sociale et une ...

(La Présidente retire la parole à l’orateur)


  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D). – Šiandien kalbėdama iš šios tribūnos apie didėjančią ekonominę ir socialinę nelygybę, pirmiausia, visų dėmesį – ir ponios Komisarės, ir pirmininkaujančios valstybės, ir savo kolegų – noriu atkreipti į mūsų mažuosius piliečius, į mūsų vaikus.

Atsakykime į klausimą – ar sugebame mes jiems užtikrini normalias gyvenimo sąlygas, ar jie gauna tinkamą mitybą, kokybišką išsilavinimą, sveikatos priežiūrą, ar mes pakankamai investuojame į mūsų vaikus, kad panaikintumėme jų skurdą ir nelygybę? Atsakymas vienareikšmis – žinoma, kad ne.

Todėl dar kartą kreipiuosi, ponia Komisare, į Jus ir valstybes nares ragindama nedelsiant parengti ir patvirtinti Vaiko garantiją, pagal kurią mes galėtumėme taikyti konkrečias finansiškai pagrįstas priemones kovos su vaikų skurdu. Įsiklausykite, virš 20 mln. vaikų skursta Europos Sąjungoje. Todėl delsti nebegalima. Ir ypač dabar, kai mes svarstome ir rengiame Daugiametę finansinę perspektyvą, numatykime finansines investicijas į Europos Sąjungos vaikus. Ir tai bus pats didžiausias mūsų pasiekimas.

Ir antra, į ką noriu atkreipti dėmesį, tai didžiulė nelygybė tarp vyrų ir moterų. Iki šiol vyrų ir moterų atlyginimai už tą patį darbą skiriasi 16 procentų, o tuo pačiu skiriasi pensijos. Mes jas gauname net 40 proc. mažesnes. Ir čia reikia darbo ir pastangų.


  La Présidente. – Merci Madame. On y reviendra probablement.


  Agnieszka Kozłowska-Rajewicz (PPE). – Pani Przewodnicząca! Szanowni Państwo! Pani Komisarz! Nierówności w Europie rosną, ale nie między państwami. Nierówności między państwami maleją, a tylko wewnątrz państw stale rosną. Górne 10 % gospodarstw domowych w Europie zarabia 30 % wszystkich dochodów rodzin i posiada 50 % wszystkich dóbr posiadanych przez rodzinę. I te nierówności narastają, a wraz z nimi problemy zdrowotne, społeczne i ekonomiczne, ponieważ nierówności nie sprzyjają rozwojowi ekonomicznemu. I z tych danych można jasno wyprowadzić taką tezę, że jeżeli chcemy ograniczać biedę, powinniśmy ograniczać nierówności. Badania pokazują też, że najsilniejszym instrumentem zmniejszania nierówności jest edukacja oraz zwiększanie zatrudnienia kobiet. Cieszę się, że jest tu z nami pani komisarz Thyssen, ponieważ wierzę, że ten pakiet godzenia ról, szczególnie część nielegislacyjna dotycząca przedszkoli, będzie wpływał pozytywnie na włączenie kobiet do rynku pracy. Ważne są też w kontekście zmniejszania nierówności stabilne formy zatrudnienia, ale przede wszystkim zwiększenie partycypacji pracowników w gospodarce, na przykład przez posiadanie akcji firm, przez obecność przedstawicieli pracowników w zarządach, ale też przez spółdzielczość socjalną czy działanie kooperatyw. Najważniejsze jednak – i to już ostatnie zdanie – to żebyśmy uniknęli takiej pułapki pójścia w kierunku rozwijania państwa opiekuńczego. Wierzę, że należy iść w kierunku podmiotowości, zwiększenia podmiotowości obywateli i zwiększania partycypacji społecznej, bo tylko stawianie na podmiotowość spowoduje, że będziemy stale kreatywni i konkurencyjni na globalnym rynku.


  Iratxe García Pérez (S&D). – Señora presidenta, crecimiento económico no es sinónimo ni garantía de igualdad. Quien saca pecho por los datos macroeconómicos y a la vez se pone una venda en los ojos y no es capaz de ver cómo eso está repercutiendo en la vida de las personas le hace un flaco favor al modelo social europeo. Porque el crecimiento debería convertirse y traducirse en salarios dignos, en derechos de los trabajadores, en pensiones justas. Y a día de hoy eso no está ocurriendo.

Y, además, están aquí los representantes del Consejo y de la Comisión y quiero recordar una cosa. Hace poco más de un mes se establecían las prioridades para el próximo año y no se tenía en cuenta una cuestión: hoy, en Europa, la desigualdad tiene rostro de mujer. Somos la mitad de la población europea y en las prioridades que establecen las instituciones europeas no se habla de conciliación de la vida familiar y laboral, no se habla de la brecha salarial que tanto estamos sufriendo, no se habla de la violencia de género.

Si ustedes no lo recuerdan, dentro de un mes, el 8 de marzo, cientos de miles de hombres y mujeres saldrán, saldremos a las calles a recordárselo.


  Michaela Šojdrová (PPE). – Paní předsedající, nerovnost není ničím novým. Ale nás musí zneklidňovat to, že v době ekonomického růstu se nerovnost nesnižuje. Například digitalizace sice vytváří nové příležitosti, ale jejich využití se neobejde bez investic a nových dovedností. Pak se také prohlubuje propast mezi těmi, kteří nových možností se chopí, využijí je, a těmi, kteří to prostě bez pomoci nezvládnou. Proto musíme hovořit o inkluzi, o kvalitním vzdělání pro všechny.

Pro mladé lidi je složitější najít uplatnění na trhu práce, pokud nemají praxi. Nové, nestandardní formy práce jako crowdworking díky flexibilitě sice umožňují práci těm, kteří by jinak pracovat nemohli, ale zároveň vytváří kategorii druhořadých pracovníků bez sociální ochrany. Řešením nerovností není zavedení tak zvaného zaručeného příjmu. Ten totiž mimo jiné postrádá prvek motivace.

Na úrovni Evropské unie pomáhají programy, které řeší právě dostupnost vzdělání. Snížení nerovnosti znamená především zvýšení příležitostí. A my máme možnost posílení programu Erasmus+, ten stále je exkluzivní, stále málo mladých lidí dosáhne na zapojení v tomto programu. Pokud tedy chceme snížit nerovnost, pak musíme také zvýšit rozpočet na program Erasmus+, který umožňuje financovat projekty k modernizaci vzdělávání, klade důraz na učňovské obory a na praxi a podnikatelské dovednosti.


  Marianne Thyssen, Member of the Commission. – Madam President, our economies, the world of work and our societies are changing. Some changes, such as automation and digitalisation, may increase the skills premium for high—skilled workers and inequalities may increase, but the answer to these challenges is not to reject the benefits that technology can bring. Instead we must strengthen the European workforce and step forward with more effective employment and social policy, with education, with skilling, with upskilling and with training systems. We must shape the future, and let us indeed continue to foster equal opportunities for under-represented groups, including in our own institutions.

I have said it before and I’ll say it again: there is no trade—off between having more equality on one hand and having more growth on the other. Well—designed reforms can – and should – achieve both. We too have said in our Annual Growth Survey, in the euro area Council recommendation and in some country—specific recommendations that promoting wage growth under certain conditions would be a good thing. As the economic recovery continues in Europe, it is essential to make sure no one is left behind.

Combating inequalities is – and will remain – a priority for the Commission, and we address it through a mix of policy levers: good jobs, fair taxation and adequate social protection. The Commission cannot – and will not – do this alone. This requires a collective effort, first of all at European level, but also at national level and at local level. Indeed, let us cherish and support grassroots social projects as we do with the European Social Fund. We have also to work together with social partners and other stakeholders.

Let us not forget that reducing inequality does not happen just like that. But I am confident that we can move further in the right direction. What we have to do everywhere – all of us – is to roll up our sleeves and get to work. Thank you for this debate.


  Monika Panayotova, President-in-Office of the Council. – Madam President, inequality is a cross—cutting issue so the Council has already taken steps on the various aspects of this issue. This year, the Council will continue to work on the implementation of the Social Pillar and together with the Commission we will monitor the social situation in individual Member States. As Commissioner Thyssen just said, the Council, Parliament and the Commission all have a role to play.

Thank you once again for the opportunity to discuss this far—reaching topic. It has shown the wide—ranging nature of the challenges ahead of us. It also outlined possible ways towards building a Union which is based on sustainable growth and which promotes economic prosperity, social development and equal opportunities for all.


  La Présidente. – Le débat est clos.

Déclarations écrites (article 162)


  Clara Eugenia Aguilera García (S&D), por escrito. – En el Grupo S&D tenemos una larga y sólida trayectoria en la lucha contra las desigualdades, el ejemplo más reciente lo tenemos con el informe aprobado por el Parlamento Europeo sobre «Combatir las desigualdades para impulsar la creación de empleo y el crecimiento», del cual fue ponente Javi López. Las desigualdades no solo nos interpelan en términos éticos o sociales, sino que hoy también socavan nuestras democracias y la propia integración europea, dañando nuestro potencial crecimiento. Tenemos claro que los recortes de salarios, de pensiones y servicios públicos contribuyen al aumento de la desigualdad y de la brecha salarial y al deterioro del bienestar ciudadano. Por eso reclamamos a la UE medidas legislativas y financieras para asegurar la calidad del empleo y del Estado del bienestar, y la redistribución de los beneficios generados por el comercio internacional, y la coordinación de políticas fiscales. Lo que hizo único a este continente en el siglo pasado fue su economía social de mercado, es decir, reconciliar progreso, democracia y crecimiento sostenible. En este sentido, estamos convencidos que el pilar europeo de derechos sociales debe ser nuestra herramienta para volver a dar cuerpo al alma de Europa.


  Dominique Bilde (ENF), par écrit. – Merci Monsieur le Président, Selon l’ONG Oxfam (22/01/2018), 82 % des richesses générées en 2017 ont bénéficié au 1 % plus riche de la population. 3,7 milliards de personnes n’en ont, quant à elles, retiré aucune amélioration. Ce constat doit tempérer tout triomphalisme quant au retour de la croissance en Europe, puisque ce creusement des inégalités porte les ferments d’une crise économique future. Pire, celles-ci hypothèquent nos perspectives de long terme en frappant au premier chef les jeunes actifs, dont le risque d’exclusion sociale s’est accru entre 2008 et 2016, comme le Fonds monétaire international l’a souligné le 24 janvier 2018.

Cette situation, fruit d’un modèle économique prônant une mobilité du capital et du travail ne profitant qu’à une minorité, est causée notamment par renchérissement du logement, dont la part dans les budgets des ménages est passée de 20,3 % à 24,4 % entre 2000 et 2016 (OCDE), qui, conjugué à la stagnation des revenus du travail, n’est pas sans lien avec l’immigration de masse subie par l’Europe. Les déclarations de bonnes intentions de la Commission seront sans effet sans remise en cause des fondements de son modèle économique dont la conséquence ultime sera la disparition définitive des classes moyennes.


  Caterina Chinnici (S&D), per iscritto. – Come emerge anche dai dati più recenti, povertà ed esclusione sociale colpiscono ancora oggi quasi un quarto della popolazione europea, seppure in misura diversa nelle diverse aree dei paesi membri, e determinano crescenti diseguaglianze che penalizzano soprattutto i giovani che provengono da famiglie prive di una educazione avanzata e le donne che continuano ad essere svantaggiate nell'educazione, nel lavoro e nelle attività imprenditoriali.

Numerose sono le cause che determinano le troppe situazioni di disparità socioeconomiche fra i cittadini europei ed è pertanto necessario adottare misure idonee a rimuoverle. Penso, per esempio, ad interventi mirati a migliorare il sistema educativo, che deve essere rivolto a tutti i cittadini e soprattutto ai bambini e ai giovani che appartengono a famiglie a rischio di marginalizzazione, e ancora a iniziative mirate a migliorare il sistema formativo, che deve essere maggiormente incentrato sulle reali esigenze del mercato del lavoro e finalizzato all'inserimento lavorativo delle diverse professionalità nelle specifiche aree produttive. Al tempo stesso, però, occorre adottare misure adeguate a sostenere e incentivare gli investimenti da parte delle aziende, soprattutto nelle aree più deprivate, anche al fine di limitarne la delocalizzazione delle attività verso paesi terzi.


  Sergio Gutiérrez Prieto (S&D), por escrito. – Los socialistas europeos tenemos una larga y sólida trayectoria en la lucha contra las desigualdades, el ejemplo más reciente lo tenemos con el informe aprobado por el Parlamento Europe sobre “Combatir las desigualdades para impulsar la creación de empleo y el crecimiento", del cual fue ponente Javi López. las desigualdades no solo nos interpelan en términos éticos o sociales, sino que hoy también socavan nuestras democracias y la propia integración europea, dañando nuestro potencial crecimiento. Tenemos claro que los recortes de salarios, de pensiones y servicios públicos contribuyen al aumento de la desigualdad y la brecha salarial y al deterioro del bienestar ciudadano. Por eso reclamamos a la UE medidas legislativas y financieras para asegurar la calidad del empleo y del estado del bienestar, y la redistribución de los beneficios generados por el comercio internacional, y la coordinación de políticas fiscales. Lo que hizo único a este continente en el siglo pasado fue su economía social de mercado, es decir, reconciliar progreso, democracia y crecimiento sostenible. En este sentido, estamos convencidos que el Pilar Europeo de derechos sociales debe ser nuestra herramienta para volver a dar cuerpo al alma de Europa.


  Danuta Jazłowiecka (PPE), na piśmie. – Chyba nikt z nas nie ma wątpliwości, że należy walczyć z narastającymi nierównościami ekonomiczno-społecznymi w Unii Europejskiej. Oczywiście różnice w dochodach czy poziomie zamożności poszczególnych grup społecznych zawsze będą występowały. Jest to naturalna konsekwencja gospodarki rynkowej. Są jednak zjawiska, które taki stan rzeczy pogłębiają, i ten proces należy zatrzymać.

W debacie publicznej funkcjonują oczywiście zróżnicowane opinie na temat tego, jak walczyć z nadmiernym rozwarstwieniem ekonomiczno-społecznym. Z mojego punktu widzenia szczególnie niebezpieczne są 2 zjawiska i to im należy poświęcić szczególną uwagę. Pierwszą konsekwencją nierówności jest „przenoszenieˮ ubóstwa i wykluczenia z pokolenia na pokolenie. Istnieje grupa młodych ludzi, która nie wierzy w lepsze jutro dla siebie i swoich dzieci. Tworzy się zamknięte koło, które trudno przerwać. Kolejną niezmiernie ważną konsekwencją jest wzrost poparcia dla ruchów populistycznych oraz narastający strach przed „obcymiˮ.

Jak walczyć z tymi zjawiskami? Oczywiście potrzebna jest strategia oparta na wielu działaniach. Jednak w mojej opinii podstawowa odpowiedź to edukacja. Jeśli chcemy zatrzymać niekorzystny trend, musimy zapewnić równy dostęp do wysokiej jakości edukacji wszystkim obywatelom UE. To jest podstawowy warunek.


  Ádám Kósa (PPE), írásban. – A megszorítások és a GDP-alapú növekedés hajszolása helyett ideje egy új megközelítést alkalmazni. Ezért a svájci alapítású, független Világgazdasági Fórum legújabb kutatásában azt vizsgálták, hogy mennyire inkluzív (bevonó) egy adott ország gazdasági növekedése, és egy egészen újfajta rangsor került nyilvánosságra, az un. bevonó gazdasági fejlődés index (Inclusive Development Index, IDI) alkalmazásával.

Ez lényegében azt mutatja meg, hogy a társadalom túlnyomó többsége tudott-e egy lépést tenni előre, vagy csak egy szűk elit járt-e jól a gazdasági növekedéssel. Ez alapján a felemelkedő országok között Magyarország a második helyen áll, így az egy főre jutó GDP, a munkatermelékenység és a várható egészségben eltöltött élettartam szempontjából is 74 ország között a legfelső húsz százalékba tartozik. Sőt, a nettó jövedelmek egyenlőtlenségében, a szegénységi rátában, a vagyoni egyenlőtlenségekben és a mediánjövedelemben is a legjobb ötödbe tartozik a 74 ország között.

Ha pedig a szegénységgel kapcsolatos értékeket nézzük, akkor a magyar Gini-együttható 2016-ban 28,2 százalék volt. Ez európai szinten Magyarországot az egyenlőbb társadalmak közé helyezi, messze kiemelkedve a térség országai közül. A súlyos anyagi nélkülözésben élők aránya tekintetében több mint 40 százalékos javulást láthatunk 2012 és 2016 között, a 2010 előtti válság szintje alá süllyedve. A 2018-tól érvénybe lépő magasabb minimálbér tovább javíthatja ezt a tendenciát.


  Νότης Μαριάς (ECR), γραπτώς. – Οι κοινωνικές ανισότητες εντείνονται στη Γηραιά Ήπειρο. Αυτό οφείλεται τόσο στην ίδια τη δομή της Ευρωζώνης όσο και στην ασκούμενη πολιτική, η οποία στηρίζεται στη μερκελική λιτότητα και στη βίαιη δημοσιονομική προσαρμογή, που είχαν ως αποτέλεσμα να δημιουργηθούν στρατιές ανέργων και εκατομμύρια φτωχών. Οι κοινωνικές, λοιπόν, ανισότητες στην Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση αρθρώνονται τόσο εντός κάθε κράτους μέλους όσο και μεταξύ των κρατών μελών του σκληρού πυρήνα και της περιφέρειας της ΕΕ, με ιδιαίτερη έμφαση στον ευρωπαϊκό Νότο. Η συνεχιζόμενη απόκλιση μεταξύ σκληρού πυρήνα και περιφέρειας της ΕΕ γίνεται αντιληπτή εάν παρακολουθήσει κανείς τα ποσοστά ανεργίας και ιδίως τα ποσοστά ανεργίας των νέων. Έτσι, η Ελλάδα, η Ισπανία και η Ιταλία είναι πρωταθλήτριες στην ανεργία των νέων, ενώ τα αντίστοιχα ποσοστά είναι ιδιαίτερα χαμηλά στη Γερμανία, στην Αυστρία, στο Λουξεμβούργο, κλπ. Για τον λόγο αυτόν πρέπει να αλλάξει ριζικά η δομή της Ευρωζώνης, να εγκαταλειφθεί η πολιτική της λιτότητας και να οικοδομηθεί μια Ευρώπη με τριπλό κοινωνικό Α. Στο πλαίσιο αυτό, πρέπει να ληφθούν μέτρα για τη θεσμοθέτηση -σε πρώτη φάση- ευρωπαϊκού ελάχιστου κοινωνικού εισοδήματος, ευρωπαϊκού ελάχιστου μισθού και ευρωπαϊκού επιδόματος ανεργίας.


  Péter Niedermüller (S&D), írásban. – Az utóbbi évtizedekben az Európai Unió tagállamaiban is drámai módon nőtt a társadalmi egyenlőtlenség. Ma Európában közel 120 millióan, közöttük több millió gyermek, élnek szegénységben, a szegénység által veszélyeztetve. Egyre nő a dolgozó szegények, azaz azoknak a polgároknak a száma is, akik ugyan dolgoznak, de keresetükből nem tudnak megélni. A társadalmi egyenlőtlenség, a szegénység azonban nem egyszerűen anyagi kérdés, hanem egyet jelent a szabadság, a lehetőségek hiányával, a kirekesztettséggel, az emberi méltóság elvesztésével, a jövőtől való félelemmel. Egyet jelent a társadalom végletes és végzetes kettészakadásával.

Azt is tudjuk, a mai világ egyenlőtlenségeit nem lehet egyszerűen béremelésekkel, vagy szociális juttatásokkal orvosolni. Az egyenlőtlenség legfőbb oka ugyanis a tudáshoz való hozzáférés, a tudás megszerzésének lehetőségeiben rejlő különbség. Aki nem tudja megszerezni azokat a kompetenciákat és készségeket, amelyeket a mai tudás alapú társadalom, a munka megváltozott világa megkövetel, az szükségszerűen a társadalom perifériájára kerül. Ha pedig a társadalmi egyenlőtlenségek egyre inkább újratermelődnek, az súlyosan veszélyezteti a demokráciát is. Éppen ezért nem lehet továbbra is a megszokott kategóriákban gondolkodni. Mindenekelőtt befogadó gazdaságra és társadalomra, digitális oktatásra, erős és hatékony szociális hálóra van szükség. Nem csupán szociális segélyt kell osztogatni, hanem olyan utakat kell építeni, amelyek megteremtik a szegénységben élő emberek számára a kitörés lehetőségét.


  Claudia Țapardel (S&D), in writing. – The consequences of socio-economic inequalities for European citizens are serious as they are diverse. They generate significant economic and social costs in terms of low demand, which in turn diminish growth, but they also stoke the fire of populist discourse. Figures show that almost one person in four experiences poverty or social exclusion, with an even more worrying percentage for young people, and inequalities are only getting bigger, even if we have theoretically put the economic crisis behind us. This situation is unacceptable for the 21st century Europe and requires immediate action, reasons for which I welcome the debate initiated by the S&D Group. We need a new approach for equitable and sustainable well-being - in all Member States - and the European Pillar for Social Rights or the Youth Guarantee are great examples of how we can bring real change. My view is that we need to put extra effort into helping young generations, particularly as regard training and acquiring skills. As lack of education is responsible for the passing of poverty between generations, I support creating more programmes focused on education and professional qualifications, including for the tourism sector, one of the engines of EU economic growth.


  Elena Valenciano (S&D), por escrito. – En el Grupo S&D tenemos una larga y sólida trayectoria en la lucha contra las desigualdades, el ejemplo más reciente lo tenemos con el informe aprobado por el Parlamento Europeo sobre «Combatir las desigualdades para impulsar la creación de empleo y el crecimiento», del cual fue ponente Javi López. Las desigualdades no solo nos interpelan en términos éticos o sociales, sino que hoy también socavan nuestras democracias y la propia integración europea, dañando nuestro potencial crecimiento. Tenemos claro que los recortes de salarios, de pensiones y servicios públicos contribuyen al aumento de la desigualdad y de la brecha salarial y al deterioro del bienestar ciudadano. Por eso reclamamos a la UE medidas legislativas y financieras para asegurar la calidad del empleo y del Estado del bienestar, y la redistribución de los beneficios generados por el comercio internacional, y la coordinación de políticas fiscales. Lo que hizo único a este continente en el siglo pasado fue su economía social de mercado, es decir, reconciliar progreso, democracia y crecimiento sostenible. En este sentido, estamos convencidos que el pilar europeo de derechos sociales debe ser nuestra herramienta para volver a dar cuerpo al alma de Europa.


  Gabriela Zoană (S&D), în scris. – Trăim într-o Uniune Europeana în care inegalitățile socio-economice între cetățeni se observă ușor. Nu trebuie să fii expert nici în economie, cultură sau politică pentru a percepe gradul de bunăstare al cetățenilor unei țări.

Știm că cetățenii danezi sunt cei mai fericiți sau că în Finlanda vom găsi cel mai performant sistem de educație. Gradul de fericire, educația, cultura și bunăstarea economică a cetățenilor unei țări constituie repere după care ne putem oricând ghida pentru a identifica condițiile socio-economice pe care le oferă o țară locuitorilor ei.

Trăim într-o Uniune Europeană și ar trebui să avem un țel comun: să fim cu toții la fel de fericiți, copiii noștri să aibă acces la sisteme educaționale performante și să cunoaștem cu toții nivelul de trai de care se bucura cetățenii celor mai dezvoltate țări europene. Atunci când vorbim despre consecințele inegalității socio-economice între cetățenii europeni, nu vorbim doar de existența în UE a unor categorii distincte, șomaj, migrația masivă a forței de muncă, nu vorbim doar despre depopularea sau îmbătrânirea populației anumitor zone și de aglomerarea altora, ci și de lipsa accesului la un sistem educativ performant și nesiguranța zilei de mâine pentru mulți cetățeni europeni.

Ultimo aggiornamento: 8 aprile 2019Note legali - Informativa sulla privacy