How many will actually take advantage of this opportunity to go out and vote? The reality is that the largest number of votes in the EU is still going to no one at all.
To encourage voting and to ensure voters are better informed, CESI has produced a short summary of each of Europe’s main political party’s stance on social policies.
What is the best way out of the crisis? What does the EU need to do for young people? Do we need a minimum wage? These are the questions you might be asking and we have some of the answers.
European People’s Party (EPP)
The EPP see a way out of the crisis led by budgetary consolidation complemented by policies for growth and employment. In this strategy, there is also room for structural reform through private investment. The EPP envisage a flexible workforce and want to encourage mobility in the EU for workers. On pensions, the party wants to see effective retirement ages increase. While against early retirement, the EPP is in favour of a minimum wage in line with national laws.
Party of European Socialists (PES)
The PES wants to put social rights before economic freedoms. While coordinating economic and tax policies, the PES would take into account the social impact of these policies and would apply binding targets for employment. The PES sees a need for more money being injected into the Youth Guarantee to tackle youth unemployment. Equal pay for equal work is also featured on the PES campaign, as well as a minimum wage proportional to GDP in each Member State.
Alliance of Liberals Democrats for Europe (ALDE)
ALDE would take the EU out of crisis through incentives, not contractual agreements, with common targets for pensions and social policies more generally. To improve jobs and growth, the party sees the need to focus on the digital economy and to complete and expand the single market. For ALDE, labour mobility can be enhanced through a European system with aid for the people in the first 6 months, as well as through recognition of diplomas throughout the EU.
The Greens want to put in place minimum social standards in the EU which can be adapted to the varying situations and national realities to exit the crisis. Labour taxation is too high for the Greens, with a reduction of this burden included a social policy priority. To promote the portability of social rights, the Greens want to see a European social security card introduced. Other concrete proposals include equal pay and a Directive on violence against women.
European Left (EUL)
The EUL are seeking dramatic change by abandoning what they call the EU’s ‘neoliberal dogma’. Public investment and an end to austerity are the only way out of the crisis. The EUL rejects any suggestion to raise the retirement age and promotes the development of public services and European minimum wages. The EUL also propose an optional legal framework for transnational collective bargaining.
Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR)
The ECR want to focus solely on competitiveness in the EU by reducing administrative charges for businesses. On labour mobility, the ECR want actions taken against benefit tourism. In the ECR campaign, there is nothing in the way of concrete policies which promote EU involvement in social policies.
Europe of Freedom & Democracy (EFD)
The future of the Eurosceptic group is unknown. Only after the results will the potential size, composition and name of the group become clear. The Eurosceptics have not put forward any social policy proposals ahead of the elections, with the group’s focus rather being on blocking legislation in the European Parliament.
Photos from the Eurovision debate held at the European Parliament