EU leaders pledge to reduce inequalities

Porto, Portugal, May 8 (EFE).- European Union leaders on Saturday vowed to tackle inequality in the region and develop the European Pillar of Social Rights, which they considered a “fundamental” element of the bloc’s post-pandemic recovery.

“We are committed to reducing inequalities, defending fair wages, fighting social exclusion and tackling poverty,” read the Porto Declaration, which was adopted by the leaders of the EU members during the Social Summit held in the Portuguese city.

“We will step up efforts to fight discrimination and work actively to close gender gaps in employment, pay and pensions, and to promote equality and fairness for every individual in our society,” the declaration added.

Young people “very negatively affected by the COVID-19 crisis” will be prioritized as the pandemic that had an impact on their employment chances and education plans, the statement added.

The European Pillar of Social Rights is a “fundamental element of the recovery” the statement said.

“Its implementation will strengthen the Union’s drive towards a digital, green and fair transition and contribute to achieving upward social and economic convergence and addressing the demographic challenges,” it added.

The European Pillar of Social Rights comprises 20 principles on equal opportunities and access to the labor market, fair working conditions and social protection.

No concrete progress has been made toward the development of the plan since approved during the 2017 social summit in the Sweden city of Gothenburg.

With the aim of implementing these principles, the European Commission presented in March an action plan with three objectives and several measures are to be revealed over the coming years.

They aim to reduce the people at risk of poverty in the EU countries by at least 15 million over the upcoming decade.

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