Porto Social Forum

The Portuguese Government will hold, with the support of the European Commission, the Porto Social Forum on the 26th and 27th of May 2023 and every two years thereafter.

The 26th will be dedicated to side events and the 27th will be the main political event.

The event is generating great expectation in the EPSCO filière and beyond, considering the recent discussions on the social dimension of EU governance and after Ukraine and Moldova were granted candidate status.

The Prime Minister of Portugal, António Costa, the Director General of the ILO, Gilbert F. Houngbo, Commissioner Nicolas Schmit, Commissioner Elisa Ferreira, the Minister of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security, Ana Mendes Godinho, the Ukrainian Minister of Social Policy, Oksana Zholnovych, most EPSCO Ministers including Karien van Gennip, Minister of Social Affairs and Employment of the Netherlands, Olivier Dussopt, Minister of Labour, Employment and Economic Inclusion of France, Pierre-Yves Dermagne, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for the Economy and Employment, Yolanda Diaz Perez, Vice-President of the Government of Spain, Frank Vandenbroucke, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Social Affairs and Public Health of Belgium, José Luis Escrivá, Minister for Inclusion, Social Security and Migration of Spain, Ministers from candidate countries, including Moldova, the vice-president of the EP, Pedro Silva Pereira, the EMPL Chair, Dragoş Pîslaru, coordinators, MEPs, including Agnes Jongerius, Dennis Radtke and Margarida Marques, the President of the European Economic and Social Committee, Oliver Röpke, and the Committee of the Regions, Vasco Cordeiro, the Secretary General of ETUC, Esther Lync,  Piotr Sadowski, President of Social Platform, Valeria Ronzitti Secretary General of SGI Europe, Maxime Cerutti, Social Affairs Director of Business Europe Véronique Willems, Secretary General of SME United.

This meeting follows a key moment for Social Europe: the Porto Social Summit in 2021 confirmed the role of the European Pillar of Social Rights and highlighted the importance of the EPSR Action Plan, including its EU targets to be achieved by 2030 and endorsed by the European Council.

The Porto Social Summit also paved the way for a joint position (the Social Commitment) signed by the Presidents of the European Parliament and the European Commission, social partners (trade unions and employers) and the Social Platform.

The Commitment reiterated the importance of the EPSR action plan and identified priorities to respond to the economic recovery in the post-Covid period. These achievements constitute the basis for the Biennial Porto Social Forum.

The biennial gatherings allow for follow-up on the commitments made and introduce new concerns and priorities arising from a changing economic, social, and political context, always based on a strong dialogue between European Institutions, Member States, social partners and civil society.

The 2023 Forum will be structured around two main themes:

  1. The European Year of Skills as a key driver of the twin transitions

The Forum will provide a platform to assess the progress made and to reflect on how the Year of Skills can boost further efforts. It will also serve as an opportunity to reflect on the broader EU skills agenda in the context of ongoing economic and social transformations.

Particular attention will be given to bringing down youth unemployment and decreasing the number of NEETs.

The Green Deal Industrial Plan and the EU Long term Competitiveness Strategy give new urgency to the full implementation of the European Skills Agenda and provide new opportunities for all in our societies. 

  1. The European Social Model as a geopolitical lever

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia underlines the importance of centring today’s geopolitical debate on the EU’s influence in the world and on the EU enlargement.

In this context, the values of Social Europe should be used as a geopolitical lever and not made invisible or irrelevant. By contributing to cohesion, a strong labour market and inclusive social protection policies, the EU ensures an essential element of its strategic autonomy. 

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