Social Platform members’ recommendations – a handbook and a guide to the decision-makers on recovery plan

Welcome to the third special COVID-19 edition of our Social Compass, in which we focus on the policy recommendations from our membership towards EU and national decision-makers, in the context of the COVID-19 crisis.

The timing for this could not be more urgent, as just a few days ago, EU leaders agreed on an ambitions rescue package. An unprecedented crisis requires unprecedented measures, and so the EU has pledged to allocate record amounts of money towards the recovery process.

Without a doubt, we welcome this move by EU leaders. But what we need now is to ensure that such unprecedented amounts of money are spent wisely and that the money is used not just to patch up the bruises, but to ensure that they are invested in a long term recovery. And there needs to be much stronger conditionality linked between the allocation of funding and respect for the rule of law by Member States. The EU cannot sit idly and close their eyes to continuous violations of freedom of speech and media freedom, as is happening in Hungary, or a politically dogmatic push to withdraw from important international treaties such as the Istanbul Convention, coming from the Polish government. In both cases, citizens are on the street, protesting. Will the EU institutions and other Member States just sit it out, as has repeatedly happened before?

We as Social Platform, will not stay quiet. We have been calling for a rights-based approach to the recovery, focusing on ensuring full access to rights in the long-term, rather than addressing short-term needs. Furthermore, we have been calling on EU leaders to duly take into account the urgency of supporting the civil society sector, and not just the for-profit economic sector, and to ensure that relevant funding programmes within the future MFF, and in particular within sub-heading 7 of Cohesion and Values, are allocated an adequate budget envelope. And finally, we have been asking to establish a regular and inclusive dialogue with civil society organisations in the context of the implementation of the Recovery Plan and the negotiations of the future MFF.

Now that negotiations are over, we hope EU leaders will maintain their level of ambitions not only regarding the amount of money, but also in regard to how the money is spent. We have long been saying that the COVID-19 crisis is an opportunity to seriously re-think and change the way we live and govern. The crisis brought to the surface, loud and clear, the deficiencies and shortcomings of our economic and governance model. As we work to recover from this crisis, we should make the best out of what options we have to ensure better socio-economic and environmental justice, achieving a much more resilient, inclusive Europe for all, with all.

The recommendations by our diverse membership highlighted in this edition should be a handbook and a guide to the decision-makers. Our members have first-hand knowledge of the experience, needs and the impact of the crisis on the people they are working with. Therefore, their recommendations and advice should be listened to and fully taken on board.

While the crisis has changed a lot in our lives, it did not change our need and desire for holidays, and therefore I wish you all a peaceful and restful summer break!

Piotr Sadowski 
President of the Social Platform