Arriving for the Social Summit for Fair Jobs and Growth taking place here on Friday, Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras highlighted the significance of the summit as a chance to discuss necessary changes to the economic and social protection model in Europe.
«It is, perhaps, an opportunity to talk about and open the path to some necessary changes and reforms that will protect social entitlements and labour rights,» the prime minister said.
Tsipras said he was arriving at «a difficult time for Greece and the Greek people» and thanked all of Greece’s partners for the «wave of solidarity they have shown throught their statements and their efforts to demonstrate solidarity and assist Greece, however they can.»
He noted that the summit will discuss the need for a social protection framework and a social pillar in Europe, which in recent years «has been led to an absolutely neoliberal direction that has created huge inequalities, both within member-states and between member-states.»
EU leaders had to discuss a change in the economic model, Tsipras said and added: «For us Greeks, who have suffered the consequences of the economic crisis, it is an opportunity to once again highlight the need for protection and to restore collective bargaining and entitlements with regard to labour legislation in Greece. At the same time, we must find ways so that these social rights will also help the younger generation of workers, a younger generation that does not even know what rights are.»
Called by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan L?fven, the Social Summit for Fair Jobs and Growth on Friday will gather heads of state or government, the social partners and other key players to work together on a more social Europe and to promote fair jobs and growth. Well-functioning and fair European labour markets, effective and sustainable social protection systems and the promotion of social dialogue at all levels will be at the heart of the summit agenda.