Much ado about the Social Summit?

by Graça Enes (Faculty of Law of the University of Porto and CIJE)

The Porto Social Summit was the high point of the Portuguese Presidency, a two-day event (May 7-8th) intended to achieve a strong commitment from Member States, European institutions, social partners, and civil society towards the implementation of the Action Plan for the European Pillar of Social Rights[1]. Several side events occurred along the weeks before the Summit, in Portugal and elsewhere[2], anticipating the debate.

In the days before, important members of the Portuguese Government made public statements stressing the ambition of the event. Ana Paula Zacarias, the Secretary of State for European Affairs, stated that the Porto Social Summit could “move principles to action”.

On May 7th, the Summit webpage announced: “Porto Social Summit starts today, defining EU policies for the next decade”. The stakes were high.

During the afternoon of the first day, a High-Level Conference was held for an extended debate, involving members of the Commission, the President of the European Parliament, the President of the European Council, Heads of Government, and social partners. In addition to the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, issue that was addressed by the Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmitt, the discussion focused around three major subjects: work and employment; skills and innovation; welfare state and social protection. The participation in the debate went beyond the European Union, with the presence of the Director-General of the International Labour Organization and the Secretary-General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The works of the conference were live streamed, and everyone could follow the debates taking place at the Alfândega building. At the opening session, António Costa declared: “We are here today to renew the European social contract, making a commitment, each one at their own level, to develop innovative and inclusive responses”. At the end of the day, Ursula von der Leyen stated: “The Porto Social Summit is our joint commitment to build a social Europe that is fit for our day and age and that works for everyone”. The tangible outcome of this debate was the “Porto Social Commitment”[3], an encompassing compromise of the EU institutions, Member States and European social partners that was being prepared for weeks and was solemnly presented by the three Presidents on the evening of May 7th.

Continue reading “Much ado about the Social Summit?”

Summary of Vassen Göbells – C-61/65

by José Ricardo Sousa, student of the Master's degree in EU Law of UMinho

Keywords: Pension, Sickness, Enforceable provisions, Survivors

Court: CJEU| DateDecember 10th 1965 | Case: C-61/65 | Applicants: Mrs Vassen vs Management of the Beambtendfonds voor het Mijnbedrif, Heerlen

Summary: Mrs Vassen was a widow of a mining employer. She was receiving a pension from a pension fund of the social secutrity (BFM), who placed her as a member of a sickness fund. On 31st August 1963 she went to live in Germany. She asked to remove her name from the list, and so the BFM replied saying that her name wasn’t on the list since she went to live in Germany. When Mrs Vassen asked to re-enter on the list, BFM rejected. The Court suspended the works and referred the following question to CJEU:

Is the scheme laid … to be regarded as legislation, as defined in Article 1 (b) of Regulation No 3 and mentioned in Article 4 thereof? Furthermore can the said scheme governing sickness expenses be classified as ‘sickness insurance for mine workers (benefits in cash and in kind in the event of sickness and maternity)’ listed at (i) under the heading ‘Netherlands’ in Annex B to Regulation No 3, to which Article 3 of the said Regulation refers? Thus does Regulation No 3 (and also Regulation No 4) apply to non-manual workers employed in the Netherlands mining industry to whomthe said scheme governing sickness expenses is applicable?
Continue reading “Summary of Vassen Göbells – C-61/65”

National Parliaments’ yellow card to posted workers reform

Social rights are at the core of current debates on the EU, from budgetary deficit limits to mechanisms fighting unemployment, passing by the “Brexit/Bremain” referendum.

Recently, some national parliaments have expressed their opinions about one relevant aspect to the social model of the EU, the posted workers’ rights which may undergo a revision after the Commission issued a proposal.

Here is a sample of how the parliaments consider the matter.

Eleven EU member states have shown a yellow card to the European Commission over its recent proposal to warrant equal pay to posted workers“, via euobserver.

 

According to several European diplomats, the national parliaments of 11 countries, including Poland, Denmark, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, have enough votes under EU rules to trigger the “yellow card” procedure against the Commission’s revised new text on so-called “posted workers. It would be only the third time the yellow card procedure has been used since it was set up under the Treaty of Lisbon“, via politico.eu.

 

An attempt by the European Commission to revise the contentious Posted Workers directive is likely to fail, as the national parliaments of at least ten member states from Central and Eastern Europe are reported have used a yellow card to stop the legislation“, via euractiv.