Road to EU 2024

How much room find social policies in European political groups manifestos?

June 2024
By Editorial Staff

Equal pay and quality jobs stand as the main two focal points of the European political parties manifestos for European elections. Although to differing degrees, work-life balance and parental leaves are getting an increasing attention on the political agenda across all political families lodging the European Parliament.

The European People’s Party (EPP) is calling for a Europe-wide minimum parental combined with further measures at European level aimed at foster accessible house ownership and child-care. This political orientation would not conflict with Member States’ full remit to implement their Family law as the EPP demands. The right-wing moderate party also suggests to create a European Workers’ Guarantee for the Digital Market and empower trade union in light of the digital evolution. The reference to the transformational power of AI does not seems to be implicit. The European Union shall “promote quality jobs to allow parents to find the right balance between their professional careers and family duties, through greater use of teleworking”, the manifesto reads.

An adequate minimum wages, pay transparency and a close of the gender pay gaps by 2030 should be one of the key priorities of the next European Commission, according to the S&D manifesto. The European executive is urged to make efforts also in regulating AI and reducing working time at EU level. The party also highlights the need for a ban of unpaid internships. More widely it stresses the demand to “create a Europe for young people”. Concretely, this has to be translated by allowing people aged more than 16 years old to vote in all Member States to empower young people’s vote as decision-makers. That includes also a bigger effort to strengthen the European Youth Guarantee as an instrument to better support youth employment. The EPP proposal in this field go through a “New Pact for intergenerational fairness” based also on a youth and elderly proof check of all EU.

The right to an affordable housing finds substantial room across political forces of the left-side parliamentary political spectrum. The S&D group asks for the implementation of a European Plan for Affordable Housing and an EU Strategy for Combatting Homelessness.

The Greens group hints at using rent controls “in cities and regions where rents have exploded to become out of reach” up to introduce limits on short-term tourist stays. The establishment of a European Fund for social housing, public services and employment needs, financed by the ECB’s money creation is a flagship initiative proposed by The Left group in its manifesto. Resources through this fund should be lent to municipalities, cooperatives and non-profit institutions at zero or very low interest rates, according to the far left-wing proposal.

The Greens manifesto also mentions the need of a permanent insurance program along the lines of SURE, the temporary mechanism against the unemployment crisis caused by the pandemic, “to protect livelihoods of workers affected by the green transition”. The proposed agenda for the next European Commission also fixes at a 60% of the median income level the minium income to support people between jobs.

The European Conservatives and Reformists group manifesto does not devote space to the social policy initiatives. The ALDE (Alliance for Liberals and Democrats) group stresses on the need for an adequate level of support to foster digital equality, with a specific focus on targeting vulnerable groups such as the elderly, those with low competencies (early school leavers), individuals with disabilities, and residents of underdeveloped regions.