On the 16th of November I flew to Gothenburg, Sweden to attend the EU Social Summit as part of the European Youth Forum Delegation. On the Thursday, the Youth Forum met to discuss our aims and the topics for the next day, and I attended a fringe event hosted by the Social Platform at the Museum of Culture.
The next day, I woke up early and after having breakfast, we all got on coaches to take us to the event (they were police escorted and they closed parts of the motorway!). We went through security and through to the conference room where the event was being held. Firstly, we listened to speeches from the Swedish Prime Minister, Stefan Löfven, and the President of the European Commission, Jean Claude Junker. They opened the conference and outlined the last Social Summit, held 20 years ago, discussing the need for a continued emphasis on ‘Fair Jobs and Growth’ in the EU.
We then listened to a panel discussion, involving the President of the European Youth Forum, and the Prime Minister of Estonia, Jüri Ratas, amongst others.
After a coffee break, the conference then went into three different working sessions, on how to promote fair jobs and growth in the future. I attended a session titled ‘In between jobs: supporting transition’ along with Prime Ministers and Presidents from France, Norway, Luxembourg, Portugal, Greece, Belgium, Hungary and Estonia. I spoke about how improving the labour market starts with education and young people: ‘Young people need to be educated on their rights within the workplace, to ensure a safer, fairer and more productive labour market. Young people also need to be equipped with the adaptable and transferable skills that are required for the new digital jobs and careers, as they develop. This will not only improve the current labour market, but also the future.’
To finish the day, the President of the European Commission, and the Swedish Prime Minister, made their closing remarks, and then, along with the Estonian Prime Minister, as Estonia is the current Presidency of the Council of Europe, they signed the European Pillar of Social Rights. This is about ‘delivering new and more effective rights for citizens’. It builds on 20 key principles structured around equal opportunities and access to the labour market, fair working conditions, and social protection and inclusion.
I was very honoured to attend this conference and represent BYC, and I had a phenomenal time. It was an incredible experience flying to Gothenburg and attending an EU Summit. I had the opportunity to listen to Heads of Government from all across the EU, and it was amazing being able to have photos with and talk to the president of France, Emmanuel Macron, the Swedish Prime Minister, and the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May.
If you would like to watch my speech in the working session, it is available below: