De Jong: Bring in a ‘solidarity test’ for new EU legislation

9 September 2014

De Jong: Bring in a ‘solidarity test’ for new EU legislation

The SP is extremely concerned about the growing gap between rich and poor in the Netherlands and in Europe as a whole. In part this division is consequence, direct or indirect, of European Union legislation. SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong today responded to this in the European Parliament by calling for a ‘solidarity test’ to be introduced and applied to all new EU legislative proposals. 'The effects on the regulatory burden and the general economic and financial impact of a proposed new law are subject to a great deal of attention,’ De Jong says, ‘but what the implications might be of, for example, the marketization of public services for social cohesion is not included in this. A solidarity test could change that.’

De Jong was speaking this morning as the host of a meeting organized at the European Parliament by the European network of Christian social organisations, Eurodiaconia. During the gathering, in which MEPs from every major political group took part, measures to combat poverty and social exclusion in Europe were discussed.

Numerous representatives of the participating Christian organisations supported De Jong’s call, seeing the increasing social tensions as a result of the greater divide between rich and poor. In addition, criticism was primarily aimed at the effects of European Economic Governance (EEG), which lays a great deal of emphasis on spending cuts, but offers no solutions for unemployment, poverty and social division.

De Jong pledged to work out his proposal in more detail. ‘It’s a matter of us in Europe working towards a society in which it isn’t “every man for himself”, but one in which people feel themselves to be responsible for each other,’ he insisted. ‘That means, for instance, that you don’t exchange collective pensions systems for individual retirement insurance. And you also have to recognise that people have a right to adequate housing, good health care and good education. Proposals from the European Commission must be measured against these values. That could be achieved, for example, by the European Union acceding to the European Council’s European Social Charter that can in itself serve as a handle in all sorts of ways for a solidarity test.’

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