Former Minister of Labor, Solidarity and Social Security, José António Vieira da Silva, was chosen as special advisor to the European Commission to prepare work in the area of social rights during the Portuguese presidency of the European Union (EU).
The news was advanced today by the European commissioner for Labor and Social Rights, Luxembourgish Nicolas Schmit, in his official Twitter account.
“I am pleased to announce that José António Vieira da Silva, former Minister of Labor of Portugal, has become my special advisor to prepare the action plan for the implementation of the Social Rights pillar, to be presented at the social summit in May 2021 under the Portuguese presidency ”of the EU, wrote Nicolas Schmit.
The European social pillar should be one of the milestones of the Portuguese presidency of the Council of the European Union, which will take place during the first half of 2021, with a social summit scheduled for May in Porto, during which the action plan will then be adopted.
The objective of this action plan is, from the outset, to create greater equality of opportunity and access to the labor market, particularly in the face of the severe recession created by the pandemic of covid-19.
Delighted to announce that José António Vieira da Silva, former Labor Minister in Portugal, has become my special advisor to prepare the Action plan implementing the Pillar of #socialrights to be presented at the Social Summit in May 2021 under Portuguese Presidency.
- Nicolas SCHMIT (@NicolasSchmitEU) October 30, 2020
In a written interview with the Lusa agency at the end of September, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said she believed that working together with the Portuguese presidency of the Council of the EU in the first half of 2021 will produce “good results” because feel Portugal on your side in several matters, such as the “social dimension”.
Anticipating the fourth Portuguese presidency of the Union, Ursula von der Leyen stressed that this "appears at a crucial moment", since the pandemic, which caused the biggest crisis in Europe since World War II, "is not over yet and the recovery is still in a phase initial ”.
In the context of recovery, the Commission president stressed, it is essential to take into account "the social dimension", a matter in which she says she has no doubts about having Portugal on her side, "as in other matters".
The leader of the community executive guaranteed, therefore, to wait “with anticipation the first semester of 2021”, not least because Portugal has always been “a reliable partner”.
“The Portuguese people have always shown their support for the European idea. Portugal is a key player in our European team: a reliable partner, a committed people and representatives, from across the political spectrum. It will be the fourth time that Portugal takes over the Presidency of the Union. I look forward to the first half of 2021. Together, we will achieve good results ”, concluded Ursula von der Leyen.
More recently, in mid-October, the European Commission has decided that the presentation of a new “ambitious action plan” should take place in the first quarter of 2021.
In the work program presented at that time, the institution explained that the new strategy aims to "prevent the economic and health crisis from becoming a social crisis", guaranteeing "that no one is left behind during the European recovery".