“After four years we are again focusing on social rights, workers’ protection, social inclusion and dialogue, equal opportunities, the possibility to help our workers across the EU through the principle of European solidarity and to save jobs through cooperation,” Plenković told reporters upon arrival in Porto, Portugal, where the summit is taking place.
Portugal, which has been chairing the EU since January, is hosting the summit at which the leaders of the EU’s 27 member states will try to put into practice a document called “The European Pillar of Social Rights”, agreed to four years ago.
Among the 20 principles stated in the document, are training and lifelong learning, gender equality, fair pay and workers’ participation in talks on forms and conditions of work.
“In that regard, Croatia has done quite a lot in the past 15 months,” said Plenković.
“We have saved jobs, supported workers, as well as employers. Numbers speak for themselves, today we have more insurees than we had last year, and what is more important, we have more than we did in 2019,” he said.
“We have invested more than €10 billion in workers’ wages, secured funds for those who had to work shorter hours, as well as for fixed costs, making it possible for more than 120,000 employers to keep their workers and pay wages,” he said.
Croatians, just like citizens of other EU countries, have felt the health and economic consequences of the coronavirus crisis. Thousands of workers have lost jobs and many fear poverty.
According to figures form the Croatian Employment Service, the unemployment rate in Croatia is 9.3%.
“The state has exempted many from paying both taxes and contributions. We will continue with an active employment policy,” Plenković said.
Portugal’s Socialist government in January set strengthening social rights in Europe as on of its priorities during its EU presidency, which ends in June.
The European Commission in March presented a plan under which the number of poor people in the EU would be reduced by 15 million by the end of 2030.
The forum in Porto focuses on that plan and PM Plenković is expected to participate in a panel discussion on that topic later in the day.
The Porto summit is taking place one week after International Workers’ Day, when workers across Europe once again pointed out their difficult situation.
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