Answers from S&D

About S&D:

The abbreviation S&D stands for “Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats”. It considers itself as centre-left oriented political group.
For more information, visit the website of S&D where you can also find the political parties from your country that are part of their group.

Social inclusion

  • How do you imagine an inclusive Europe? And what do you want to do to realize this vision?

Inclusive Europe means for us a more inclusive future European society. We want to actively shape the design of such a Europe by investing in people. People have always been our priority. Education is a pre-condition for poverty eradication, human development and social inclusiveness, and investing in people first means investing in their education, skills and competences, with a specific focus on youth.
Therefore, we call for an acceleration of the construction of a European Education Area in order to guarantee universal access to inclusive quality education and training for all. We call also for tripling the financial envelope dedicated to Erasmus+ in the future Multiannual financial framework 2021-2027 and for a programme to be more inclusive and accessible than ever, with a stronger focus on young people with fewer opportunities, school and youth exchanges and vocational training, ambitious cooperation with third countries, and further support to small-scale partnerships.
For us, inclusive Europe means also inclusive European citizenship, social participation in the democratic life of the Union, and citizens’ engagement in our society. Therefore, we call for doubling the financing of the ‘Citizens’ engagement and participation’ strand of the new “Citizens, Rights and Values” programme, the strand which accounts for €500 million – a figure equivalent to barely €1 per EU citizen.
A stronger role for culture in social and regional development is also key to creating more cohesive and inclusive local communities, as we stressed in light of the new European Social Fund + (ESF+), the European Regional Development Funds (ERDF), and the European Territorial Cooperation Goal (ETC or INTERREG Programme).
We are committed to put forward all our proposals for a European Union that puts in place a strong social agenda, which gives priority to quality inclusive education systems from an early age, with a simultaneous lifelong learning approach, employment prospects, and a greater access to culture.

  • Do you think Europe does enough to help the children and young people who were forced to flee from war, persecution and hunger? How do you want to help them?

In 2017, over 30,000 migrant children arrived in Greece, Italy, Spain, and Bulgaria, almost half of these were not accompanied by an adult. EU governments have a moral and legal obligation to protect these children. We S-D are calling over years already ago, for member states to take action to ensure these children had the support and care they needed. However, many member states have still not implemented their obligations.
The S&D Group has been in the vanguard of political groups in the Parliament calling Member States to ensure that every child is given adequate shelter that a guardian is appointed on arrival, and that access to health care, psychological support and education are guaranteed. We must also speed up the process of family reunification, reconnecting children with their family members as quickly as possible.
These children are in an incredibly vulnerable position. Over the last few years, thousands have gone missing from official records.
The S-D position has been very clear on the need of European Union to do all in its power to ensure their safety. The S-D is of the opinion that infringement procedures against member states that continue with the protracted and systemic detention of migrant children should be launched. The fear of being detained is a key reason why children are disappearing from the system – avoiding the authorities that should be there to help them.
Last but not least, the S-D is strongly against the use of coercion to take children’s biometric data – which is a clear violation the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Despite attempts from the EPP to undermine these efforts we managed to introduce in the resolution adopted on the 3rd of May 2018 http://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-8-2018-0201_EN.html?redirect, calling Member States not use coercion for the purposes of taking children’s biometric data.

  • Do you think Europe does enough to help the children and young people in Europe who are forced to live in poverty? How do you want to help them?

The S&D is committed to the promotion of equal opportunities for all, and wants to make sure that all EU citizens have access to the means and services necessary to flourish and become successful, responsible members of society. Hugely important to achieve this, is reducing poverty and child poverty in particular.
Since according to Eurostat, more than a quarter of children in the EU-28 are at risk of poverty or social exclusion (2016 figures) – that is to say, since there are more than 24.8 million children that suffer from a lack of income and basic services such as adequate food, education, housing or healthcare, with 11 million of them severely affected by material deprivation, it is crystal clear to the S&D that more needs to be done to help children and young people out of poverty. Failing to take decisive political action would mean excluding a great part of the next generation. Moreover, such a failure would go against the principle of equal opportunities as enshrined in the Treaties (in particular, Article 2 of the Lisbon Treaty on promoting children’s rights; Article 3.1 of the Treaty on European Union on combating social exclusion) and as reiterated in the European Pillar of Social Rights (in particular, principle 11 on childcare and support to children).
The S&D is therefore campaigning for the introduction of a European Child Guarantee, a policy paper on which we have attached to this questionnaire.
The Child Guarantee would seek to tackle child poverty in all its aspects, and ensure that every European child at risk of poverty has access to free quality healthcare, free quality education, free quality childcare, decent housing and adequate nutrition. These five areas of action would be covered through European and national action plans.
In terms of implementation, we would want the European Commission, in cooperation with the Member States, to agree on binding common goals. This would include a Europe 2020 sub-target on reducing child poverty and social exclusion. Given that the Child Guarantee should be considered as an investment in the stability and prosperity of the European Union, necessary for preserving the EU’s growth potential, the S&D would want precise indicators of child poverty included in the Annual
Growth Survey, which would serve as benchmarking for Member States in their annual National Reform Programmes and National Social Reports.
In terms of funding, the S&D calls for an earmarked part of the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) of 5.9 billion euros to finance the Child Guarantee, possibly as a part of a wider grouping of funds (e.g. ERDF) at a later stage. The S&D would also want Member States to direct at least 5% of their ESFresources towards the implementation of the Child Guarantee.
The S&D would want to ensure the Child Guarantee is developed through strong cooperation between all stakeholders, and built with the full participation of children and adolescents at every step of the way – making them agents for positive change and active European citizens’ in the process.

Sustainability

  • Young people in Europe demand more climate action. What do you want to do to meet their demands?

We in the S&D believe that Europe must lead the way to climate neutrality by investing into sustainable and innovative technological solutions, empowering citizens, and aligning action in key areas such as energy, industrial policy and research, while preventing energy poverty, ensuring social fairness for a just transition including re-skilling and up-skilling programmes, which is key to the success of the transition to a net-zero GHG economy by 2050 at the latest. If we are to achieve our long-term GHG net-zero objective, GHG emissions have to be reduced close to zero in all sectors of the economy. We will call on the Commission to develop pathways to climate neutrality for all sectors, while continuing to push to increase the ambition of the existing EU climate legislation. At the same time we believe that Europe’s climate transition must be ecologically, economically and socially sustainable. In order to ensure political acceptance by all citizens, it is important to take into account the distributional effects of climate-related and decarbonisation policies, specifically on people with low income; therefore possible social impacts should be fully taken into consideration in all EU and national climate policies with a view to ensuring a social and ecological transformation in Europe. Finally we strongly believe that young people have increasingly strong social and environmental awareness, which has the power to transform our societies towards a climate resilient future, and that youth education represents one of the most effective tools to combat climate change. We need to actively involve younger generations in building international, intercultural and intergenerational relationships, which underpin cultural change that will support the global efforts for a more sustainable future.

  • How do you want to make travelling in Europe more sustainable?

Through decarbonisation of all transport modes and increased use of low-emission technologies:

  • Overall, S&D has been asking for a more ambitious approach for renewables in transport and for specific incentives to be put in place for the deployment of sustainable alternative fuels for those transport modes that currently have no alternative to liquid fuel.

As regards aviation, the EU should actively push the ICAO in order to secure ambitious international C02 standards and ensure that the aviation sector adequately, fairly and effectively contribute to the achievement of the 2030 climate targets and the Paris Agreement objectives.
As regards maritime, IMO should adopt clear GHG emission reductions targets and measures, in their absence, the emissions from the shipping sector should fall under the EU ETS from 2023– renewable technologies should be promoted strongly in the maritime sector.
In the road sector specifically, S&D has been calling for ambitious C02 reduction targets for cars, vans and heavy duty vehicles (which adequately reflect Paris Agreement), as well as consistent economic and industrial development strategies to boost production and use of low-emission vehicles and the deployment of resources for achieving them (development of renewable energy and / or sustainable alternative fuels infrastructure and usage-related components such as batteries). The Group has been pushing for an ambitious action plan for the market uptake of electric vehicles and for fiscal incentives for zero and low emission vehicles. In this context, second-use applications for vehicle batteries (smart grid or storage) and circular economy development have also been promoted.
Through a shift from the road to more sustainable modes of transport such as rail:

  • S&D has been calling for prioritising investments in rail infrastructure, in particular regarding missing links and cross-border connection and has been asking the Commission to increase interoperability of the various transport modes.

Through making urban mobility more sustainable and developing new mobility services:

  • Transport is the main cause of air pollution in urban area; the Group has been pushing for the development of innovative, sustainable, environmentally friendly urban logistics strategies as well as ambitious targets in the context of the public procurement for clean vehicles.
  • New mobility services aim to significantly improve urban transport and have the potential to do so by reducing congestion and emissions and providing an alternative to private car ownership, as the private car is still the principal means of transport in terms of journeys made.

Through applying the user and polluter pays principle in all modes of transport and increasing information to consumers:

  • This could also be done through efficient eTolling and eTicketing based on environmental performance of vehicles as well as harmonised guidelines for urban vehicles access regulations (UVARs).
  • Behaviour change and switching towards more sustainable modes of transport is crucial in this context the S&D is calling for more information to consumers on passenger vehicles to accelerate decarbonisation in transport, and calls, therefore, for improved, reliable and more accessible information on emissions and fuel consumption of vehicles, including standardised, visible and clear vehicle labelling, in order to allow consumers to make informed choices and to promote changes in the behaviour of businesses and private individuals, and cleaner mobility.
  • What do you want to do to make sure that the European Union and its member states meet the climate goals they have agreed upon in the Paris Agreement?

Socialists & Democrats in the European Parliament have already endorsed the objective of net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 and urged the Member States to do the same as part of the future Europe debate, at the special EU summit in Sibiu in May 2019. At the same time we have stressed that reaching net-zero GHG emissions in 2050 in the most cost-efficient manner requires raising and aligning the 2030 ambition level with net-zero 2050 scenarios and that is why we support an update of the Union’s NDC with an economy-wide target of 55% domestic GHG emission reductions by 2030 compared with 1990 levels. The Union needs to send a clear message, at the latest during the UN Climate Summit in New York in September 2019, that it stands ready to review its contribution to the Paris Agreement. In the next 5 years we will also have the opportunity during the 2022-2024 reviews of the 2030 climate package and other relevant legislation, to work on legislative proposals raising the ambition level in line with the updated NDC and the net-zero emissions target. It is clear that insufficient 2030 ambition would limit future options, possibly limiting the availability of some options for cost-efficient decarbonisation.

  • Which concrete actions do you propose in progressing the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in the next term?

S&D wants the work of the European Union completely reshaped in order to address the Sustainable Development Goals. We have to make sure that we help other countries around the world with sustainable development, but we also have to reach those goals here in the EU. This means refocusing our funding under the MFF, and adapting the European semester, so that all our actions and policies ultimately contribute towards attaining the SDGs. We also need to see that reflected in the structure of the European Commission and Parliament, with an ambitious, overarching strategy for achieving the 2030 Agenda in place by the end of this year, and a dedicated team at the top of the Commission working on this. We need the EU to take a leading role in the UN High-Level Political Forums each year to push the SDG agenda forward. In order to measure our progress we need to establish a wide range of indicators which are not purely economic and capture the transformative nature of the SDGs.

Youth exchanges, youth work & youth mobility

  • How do you want to support the work of (international) youth organizations?

S&D pays very much attention to youth interests and is eager to get to know to their points of views, their feedback and experience., S&D has organised every year since 2014 the “Youth Forum on Gender Equality in a Progressive Society”. During these interactive 4-days-events more than 50 young people aged between 18 -25 from all EU member states, often engaged in youth organisations, come together
in Brussels to discuss, exchange experience, learn and network on topics such as Gender equality, antidiscrimination, women’s rights and sustainable equality. This year – with view to the European Elections ahead – the Youth Forum focussed on how to boost young women’s participation in political decision making and how to fight sexism in politics. Our young guests met with politicians, experts, NGO representatives and presented their recommendations to the S&D Members of the European Parliament during the official group meeting.

  • The sources of structural funding for youth organizations (especially on the international level) are limited. Application writing consumes a lot of volunteering time. What do you want to do to make the funding for youth organizations more sustainable?Where do you see chances to clear time for active volunteering rather than administrative overload?

We fully understand the concern that administrative procedures should not take too much time and be too cumbersome. However, the European Parliament has limited competence on this issue which should be dealt at the technical level with the Commission. In this regard, we are open to listen to practical solutions suggested by civil organisations and NGOs and to facilitate a dialogue.
On our side, we urge to simplify the application procedures. Indeed the Guide for applications should be clear and user-friendly. Furthermore, we want to promote the digitalisation of the application process and the project management that has to be accessible to all, stable, timesaving and userfriendly.

  • As FIMCAP we invest a lot of energy to make a fruitful exchange and a productive cooperation across continents possible. Unfortunately, often delegates and participants of youth exchanges supported by European funds are denied a visa. How do you want to make it easier for young people from other parts of the world to get visas for attending at international youth exchanges?

After more than 4 years of negotiations under very difficult conditions and despite all EPP efforts to undermine the agreement, we S-D Group have managed to adopt a compromise package on the VISA CODE during last April plenary session.
The compromise package agreed in March is the result of a thorough preparatory process, led by S-D Group.
We S-D, recognize that most of the content of the proposal are technical elements such as the practical modalities for lodging an application, the Member State competent for examining and deciding on an application, visa and service fees, application form, supporting documents, etc.
However, we observe that it is necessary to take a wide perspective and recognize the importance for the EU as a whole to facilitate legitimate travel towards it. For the S-D, the procedures set up in the Visa Code play a critical role for many and important economic sectors, such as the young people, researchers and students, which is of particular importance for many regions in Europe. Therefore, we fought for supporting and including procedural facilitations proposed, for example, the possibility of;
The most important agreed points are the following:
A reduction of the visa fee for people under 18 year-old-, and children under 6.
Students and researchers will continue to be exempted of visa fee; deadlines lodging application: In the spirit of compromise 6 months were agreed.

  • What are your plans for the future of the Erasmus+ programme, especially concerning the support of youth exchanges and international youth work?

The culture committee of the European Parliament backed in February 2019 new rules on the financing for the new Erasmus+ Programme. We believe that his flagship initiative to unite Europeans deserves proper funding, therefore the S&Ds proposes to triple its financing from €15 billion of the period 20142020 to €45 billion in the 2021-2027 period. S&Ds also call for more financial support in particular for adult education and vocational training.
We also demand Europe-wide strategy to foster inclusiveness. So far, the Erasmus programme has benefitted only a few, but everyone should have the same opportunities. The new Erasmus+ must be truly open for everyone and encourage the participation of everyone in the society.
At the forefront of S&Ds goals is non-discriminatory and barrier-free access to Erasmus+, including more participation of people with few opportunities, people with disabilities and special needs.

  • In (international) youth organizations young people gain various valuable skills and competences. What do you want to do to improve the recognition of youth work and the work of youth organizations?

Working and volunteering for youth organisations is an asset and the first battle is cultural: the job market must give proper symbolic recognition to volunteering which should be considered ad a pivotal experience for individual careers.
The current lack of recognition of non-formal and informal learning needs to be addressed urgently. Despite the progress made in the last few years in the contact of the implementation of Council recommendation on validation of non-formal and informal learning by 2018, the provision of real access, recognition and financial support remains a challenge. We advocate for the creation of a European strategy with a view to establishing a common framework for recognition of informal and non-formal learning in order to facilitate the creation of relevant national procedures.

  • Working together with young people at all levels, youth organizations are experts about the needs of young people. How do you want to make sure that the expertise of youth organization will be included in your work?
  1. We will continue to invite youth organisations to our conferences and seminars in order to give them the opportunity to take the floor and share their ideas and comments with decision makers, other stakeholders and European citizens. Furthermore, we will continue to defend their right to participate in European meetings on the evaluation of the implementation of the European programmes such as Erasmus+.
  2. As Socialists and Democrats, we value the work of youth organisations and therefore we want to simplify the application procedures. Indeed the Guide should be clear and user-friendly. Furthermore, we promote the digitalisation of the application process and the project management that has to be accessible to all, stable, timesaving and user-friendly. In parallel youth organisations should be supported notably by strengthening youth work and non-formal education development practices within the Erasmus+ programme.
  3. As Socialists and Democrats, we are aware that legal and administrative obstacles such as difficulties in obtaining visas and residence permits can impede access to international youth exchanges. Therefore, we will continue to encourage Member States to adopt all necessary measures to remove such obstacles and to establish fast-track admission procedures.
  4. Erasmus+ is the most successful European programme and it must keep growing. We call for tripling the financial envelope dedicated to Erasmus+ in the future Multiannual financial framework 20212027 and for keeping the “plus” in the name so as to strengthen all its components: formal, non-formal and informal education, training and professional development, youth activities, arts and sports. We will continue to work for a programme that must be more inclusive, and accessible than ever, with a stronger focus on young people with fewer opportunities, school and youth exchanges and vocational training, ambitious cooperation with third countries. Regarding the new DiscoverEU initiative – the traveling experience for European people aged 18-20 – inside the Erasmus+ programme, we propose to fill with content so that it has a strong learning component, building on current projects such as European Capitals of Culture and European Youth Capitals. In parallel, we will continue to fight for a real accessible European Solidarity Corps which gives the chance to young people aged 18-30 to enjoy non-formal and informal learning opportunities through volunteering, traineeship or job activities in solidarity and non-profit related areas, including humanitarian aid. It is an invaluable opportunity for them to promote an active, European and solidarity-based citizenship. Therefore, in order to make it a successful experience for all, it is necessary to recognise and financially support non-profit associations and service centres so that they can provide the necessary conditions for a quality volunteering experience: organisation, mentoring, training and international partnerships.
  5. As Socialists and Democrats, we will continue to cooperate closely with youth organisations by inviting them to our conferences and seminars and giving them the opportunity to take the floor and share their ideas and comments. Furthermore, we will continue to promote the importance of the European Structured Dialogue on youth, a participatory process that gives young people and youth organisations the opportunity to be involved in and influence European youth policy making. We encourage the European Commission to strengthen its efforts towards an open and transparent way of working and to improve its cooperation with the social partners and civil society including youth organisations at all levels of implementation of the programmes.

Youth goals & children’s rights

  • 10,000s of young people have developed within the Structured Dialogue of the European the EU Youth Goals. How are you going to integrate the framework of the youth goals in your work in the European parliament?

Youth has always been in the heart of our action. Through our political initiatives and our political stance, we have already worked on integrating in our parliamentary work the views of young people of Europe as defined in framework of the Youth Goals. We will continue to stand for the same goals through our work in the European parliamentary committees and interparliamentary meetings, through our political initiatives and actions, through our international relations as well as seminars and conferences organised by our political group. We believe also that we can support the implementation of the EU Youth Goals through our cooperation with the European Commission and monitoring of its work, namely in the fields of education, youth, social, and civic engagement policies.

  • Youth Goal 9 calls for providing youth-led physical facilities and infrastructures called youth spaces defined by being autonomous, open and safe, accessible to all, offering professional support for development and ensuring opportunities for youth participation. What do you want to do to create such spaces?

The question on infrastructure for the youth is important for the S&D Group and we led the two main reports in the committee on Regional development (REGI) in order to use the investments funds to support this political goal. Three main achievements we reached:

  1. First of all, on the overall Common Provisions Regulations (CPR), which sets the binding rules for seven EU funds, that fought and voted in favour of the Child guarantee.
  2. Secondly, on the European Regional and Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund (CF) we also have a special focus on children’s rights. In Recital 5 we got through the following political line: “The Funds should not support actions that contribute to any form of segregation. Investments under the ERDF, in synergy with ESF+, should contribute to promoting social inclusion and fighting poverty, and to raising citizens’ quality of life in line with the obligations of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) to contribute to children’s rights.” The first part (“not support actions that contribute to any form of segregation”) refers to the wish also of NGOs in the family sector as for example “Eurochild” to reduce intuitional care and focus on community-based and family-based investments.
  3. Thirdly, also on ERDF-CF, we ensure in the legally binding policy objective 4 (on social issues) a focus which supports youth-led physical facilities and infrastructures. The legal text reads in Article 2(d) the 1 http://www.youthgoals.eu/
    following: Investments in “improving equal access to inclusive and quality services in education, training and lifelong learning and sport through developing accessible infrastructure and services.” As well as “advancing the transition from institutional to family- and community-based care”.
  4. Finally, as the S&D in the European Parliament, we believe that the young should participate in decision-making and have fair access to quality jobs. We do wish to strengthen young people’s democratic participation and autonomy. Therefore, we fight to give young people a voice to shape EU policies and to guarantee equal opportunities in the labour market and quality long-term jobs.
  • What do you want to do for guaranteeing the implementation of the children’s rights in Europe?

We S-D were always of the view that how Europe treats its children will definitely determine its future.
We were at the vanguard ensuring that every child can exercise the rights set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the child (UNCRC). Treating every child as a child, irrespective of social or ethnic background, gender, ability or migration status was, is and will be of utmost importance for us.
Therefore, the S-D Group has a strong record on recognising the value of children’s own views and experience, and enabling them to participate meaningfully in all decisions affecting their right lives.
We have been very strong in addressing the root causes of child violations by tackling poverty, discrimination and social exclusion and protecting against violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect.
More concretely, we ensured that children who are suspected or accused of a crime get a fair trial: It was high time that all EU Member States recognise the right of anyone under 18 to be assisted by a lawyer and to be accompanied by the holder of parental responsibility. We also made sure that judges, prosecutors, and other professionals who deal with criminal proceedings involving children get special training. In criminal proceedings fundamental rights are particularly relevant, namely those of children.
Last but not least, being present at the highest political level representing the organisations defenders of the rights of the child the S-D Group is of the view that more has to be done in early childhood, health care, quality education as well as community – based care and rehabilitation services.

Diversity, peace & respect

  • Many young people suffer from the consequences of hate speech. What do you want to do to combat hate speech?

The S&D Group has a strong record in the area of countering hate-speech, fighting against discrimination and promoting an inclusive society. The S&D Group is the only political group with a working group dedicated to Extremism, which we take very seriously. The Group has also a long tradition of respect for and promotion of diversity, including for faith and religions.
S&D has also appointed specific Group spokespersons for different topics, which practice the Group will continue in order to ensure that our Group remains vocal on these issues, including cases directly
affecting young people from different communities and groups. Many young people are exposed to hate speech on a regular basis, both on and offline, and it is important to be vigilant and the S&D aims to continue to be a leading voice in the public debate to denounce it firmly.
Additionally, the S&D Group secretariat is implementing a zero-tolerance policy towards discrimination and hate-speech by actively training its staff, which is currently more of an exception rather than a general practice amongst political group secretariats in the European Parliament.
The Group has been very strong in pushing for stronger sanctions and better definition of hate speech in the revised EP rules of procedure, which entered into force very recently and, with this new tool, S&D Members will continue to refer cases to the Parliament President to ensure a strict follow up, as well as ensuring a strict policy towards its own Members. The EP needs to lead by example if we want to fight hate speech outside.
The Group is also engaging in a continuous dialogue with civil society on these topics. We rely on a comprehensive network of organisations within the Party of European Socialists, including with the Young European Socialists. In addition, the S&D Group has a strong and continuous dialogue with civil society groups at the European and national levels. Our political family has established a dialogue with the European Youth Forum, to which you are a member, in different fields, including on the theme of hate speech and discrimination. Many of our MEP candidates have already signed pledges from civil society organisations fighting against discrimination and hate-speech.
Unquestionably, we are aware that legislative work needs to be accompanied by proper and full implementation and people need to be explained their rights. To this end, organising events at European/national/local level on these themes is important and the Group has been doing it for a long time.
A regular dialogue between the European Union and churches, religious associations and communities, as well as philosophical and non-confessional organisations is due to take place as stipulated by the EU treaties. The S&D Group believes this is a good forum to discuss this important topic at the EU level by involving MEPs and the representatives from all the different groups involved.
The S&D Group will continue its support for the continuation of different internal cross-party interest groups (Intergroups) and informal groups defending an inclusive society and promoting an intersectional approach. During this legislature, for example, the European Parliament Anti-Racism and Diversity intergroup and the Children intergroup, supported by many active S&D Members, coorganised many events dealing with this topic and with the support of the S&D Group.
We will keep on defending the swift adoption of the blocked horizontal anti-discrimination Directive, which would tackle discrimination at EU level, recognising age and religion as grounds of discrimination.
Some EU texts in the field of hate speech may need updating in order to include new grounds of discrimination. The S&D Group will use the opportunity of the hearings of Commissioner candidates in order to push these topics onto the agenda and use all the parliamentary tools available (INI reports, EP resolutions, debate at Committee and Plenary levels) to raise awareness of the issues.
Also as media, including social media develops, the S&D group continues to fight dangerous elements like disinformation and misinformation campaigns, as well ashate speech, especially on the internet,
as it is daily used by young people. The S&D believes that rules on hate speech should be applied with the same tenacity on the internet as outside. Victims of hate-speech deserve equal treatment online as off-line and perpetrators cannot get away with impunity. The Group welcomed the Code of conduct on countering illegal hate speech online, which was adopted by big internet players, but we believe it does not go far enough and does not cover all the necessary platforms and communication tools. In 2018, the S&D achieved to define new rules notably for video sharing platform services regarding the protection of children and minors (Audiovisual Media Services Directive) and will push for their proper implementation.
Along with this, we must remain vigilant that media ownership remains as pluralistic as possible.

  • Youth organizations like FIMCAP and its member organization strengthen the civil society. What do you want to support them to fulfill this important function?

The EU is a community of law and its values constitute the very basis of its existence. These values are enshrined in the EU Treaties, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. To promote common European values and rights, the S&D Group has been at the forefront of proposing a policy mix of legislation, policies and funding. In particular, we have supported programmes, which show a strong societal focus and are clearly related to European values: the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme, the Europe for Citizens Programme and the Justice Programme.
Defending the idea for the creation of such programmes which would support civil society organisations, such as youth organisations like FIMCAP, which promote fundamental values within the European Union at local and national level will continue to be a top priority for us. We have supported those programmes designed to provide financial support for civil society on a local and national level to counter the backlash against democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights occurring in some Member states in the EU. These instruments would be complementary to already existing programmes and have a funding level corresponding to the EU’s spending on value-promotion in third countries.
In addition to this, the S&D Group remains very concerned about developments in Europe on how the values enshrined in article 2 of the Treaty are continued to be threatened. In order to tackle this we have been calling repeatedly for a comprehensive legislative instrument on Democracy, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights which would tackle from a very early stage possible breaches of these values – including decisions/legislations which could have negative impact on youth organisations and/or attacking freedom of religion.

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