Social Summit in Porto

ILO Director-General addresses EU Social Summit in Porto

Europe must seize its opportunity to increase investment in training, social protection, social dialogue and the jobs of the future, ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, told EU leaders at their Social Summit in Porto, Portugal.

News | 13 May 2021
At a Social Summit hosted by the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU, the 27 EU Member States adopted the Porto Declaration on social issues. The Declaration underlines the importance of European unity and solidarity in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, and reaffirms the pledge the EU leaders have made to work towards a social Europe. It expresses the Member States’ determination to continue deepening the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights at EU and national level, using the guidance provided by the Action plan, including in the areas of employment, skills and social protection.

The Presidents of the European Commission and the European Parliament, the Portuguese Presidency and the European social partners also signed a Porto Social Commitment.

ILO Director-General Guy Ryder spoke at the working session dedicated to the theme “employment and jobs”, which also counted with the participation of several Heads of state or government of EU Member States and the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.

He stressed the enormous possibilities Europe has to prepare the future of work.

“We need to invest in training people, in social protection and gender equality. We need to invest in the institutions of work, collective bargaining and social dialogue. We need to regulate the new forms of work, and invest in the jobs of the future, above all green, digital jobs, and jobs in the care economy. It seems that we are on the right track,” he said.

In 2019, the International Labour Conference adopted the Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work. The priorities stated in the ILO Centenary Declaration correspond closely to the objectives of the European Pillar of Social Rights.

Underscoring the extraordinary impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on employment by destroying millions of jobs, increasing working poverty and decreasing labour income, Mr Ryder noted that the pandemic has worsened inequalities, including in European societies, with women, young people, informal and precarious workers becoming even more disadvantaged. He emphasised that to counter this trend, strong policy interventions are needed, including with respect to the way in which we organize work.

The crisis has revealed that states and governments can intervene in ways and on a scale that nobody could have imagined previously. This is unlikely to be just a temporary phenomenon. A crisis of this proportion requires new space and new perspectives, Mr Ryder concluded, stressing the importance of the European Social Pillar and the Action Plan.