Good afternoon to my old friends and my new friends, ladies and gentlemen
The European Union has long prided itself for its social model. A model where we were to make sure that no one would be left behind, but even before the pandemic our societies and labor markets were broken across multiple lines. Generational inequalities, gender inequalities and regional inequalities.
Just a reminder: in the European Union, one in seven young people are not in education, employment or training. In Italy we are close to one in four.
The gap in the employment rate between men and women in EU stands at 11.3 percentage points. In Italy, it’s nearly twice as high.
A third of the Italian population lives in the South but its share of total employment is merely a fourth.
This is not Italy as it should be nor is Europe as it should be.
As it was said just before, Covid-19 has deepened these divides. And who paid for this were mostly women and youth. Of course, this has historical and cultural roots and the Covid only exposed institutional legal flaws which pre-existed.
But if there is one thing that many countries share in this respect is to have a dual labor market and that’s something we have to overcome, because it is a source of profound inequity.
Let me say now what is Italy doing in this direction through the Recovery and Resilience plan.
We’re trying to change this condition. We will invest 6 billion to reform active labor market policies. We propose an Employability and Skills Program to train and retrain who should need to change jobs or are in search of their first occupation. In this sense, we base our action on the European Youth Guarantee program.
4.6 billion euros will increase nurseries and kindergartens, and that of course will relieve working mothers of some pressure. But we also include measures against child poverty and we support the European Commission draft proposal on the European Child Guarantee, as well as long-term care and gender equality principles.
We are going to invest more than 14 billion euros in transport infrastructure in the South.
But most importantly – and not about money – the whole Recovery Plan has a conditionality clause across all these investments, encouraging companies to hire more women and youth. And it’s going to be taken seriously: that’s why it’s called conditionality clause.
We’ve got to be more inclusive because, as President Costa said before, inclusive societies are resilient, not inclusive societies are fragile. But we also know that national policies are not enough.
We welcome the Commission Action Plan on the European pillar and social rights and they combine the single market with a more sustainable and equitable growth strategy.
Let me be specific on this. All this is very good, I think we all share that, but we have to make one step further. We have to enshrine the pillars, targets and milestones in the European Semester, so there is going to be continuous monitoring on this.
I haven’t touched on macroeconomic policies. Two points here: let’s make sure we don’t withdraw fiscal support too early and let’s make sure that the SURE program of the European Commission stays in place.