Porto Social Summit: PM Draghi’s speech at the ‘Employment and Jobs’ round table
Saturday, 8 May 2021
Good Afternoon to my old friends, to my new friends, to Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me just comment on what has just been said, let me start from the beginning.
The European Union has long prided itself for its social model.
A model where we were to make sure that no one would be left behind.
But, even before the pandemic, our societies and labour markets were broken across multiple lines.
Generational inequalities, gender inequalities and regional inequalities.
Just to remind ourselves that in the EU, one in seven young people are not in education, employment or training. In Italy, we are close to one in four.
The gap in the employment rate between men and women in the EU stands at 11.3 percentage points. In Italy, it is nearly twice as high.
A third of the Italian population lives in the South, but its share of total employment is merely a fourth.
This is not Italy as it should be, nor is Europe as it should be.
As was said just before, Covid-19 has deepened these divides.
And who paid for this were mostly women and youth.
Of course, this has historical and cultural roots and Covid only exposed institutional and legal flaws, which pre-existed.
But, if there is one thing that many countries share in this respect it is to have a dual labour market, and that’s something that we have to overcome, because it’s a source of profound inequity.
Let me say what Italy is doing in this direction. Through the Recovery and Resilience Plan, we are trying to change this condition.
We’ll invest 6 billion to reform active labour market policies. We proposed an Employment and Skills Programme to train and retrain those who need to change jobs or are in search of their first occupation. In this sense we based our action on the European Youth Guarantee programme.
4.6 billion will increase nurseries and kindergartens, and that will of course relieve working mothers of some pressure. But we will also include measures against child poverty and support the European Commission draft proposal of the European Child Guarantee, as well as long-term care and gender equality principles.
We are going to invest more than EUR 14 billion in transport infrastructure in the South.
But most importantly, and not about money, the whole Recovery Plan has a conditionality clause, all across all these investments encouraging companies to hire more women and youth. And it’s going to be taken very seriously, that’s why it’s called conditionality clause.
We have got to be more inclusive because, as President Costa said befor,e inclusive societies are resilient, non inclusive societies are fragile.
But we also know that national policies alone are not enough.
We welcome the Commission Action Plan on the European Pillar of Social Rights, and they combine the Single Market with a more sustainable and equitable growth strategy.
Let me be specific on this. All this is very good, I think we all share that, but we have to make one step further. We have to enshrine the pillars, targets and milestones in the European Semester. So, there is going to be monitoring, continuous monitoring on this.
I haven’t touched on macro-economic policies. Two points here: let‘s make sure we don’t withdraw fiscal support too early and let’s make sure that the SURE programme stays in place.