The European Union “must remember its most vulnerable, those with no prospects” when it plans for recovery after the coronavirus pandemic, Klára Dobrev, MEP of the opposition Democratic Coalition (DK), told a plenary of the European Parliament, adding that “Europe must learn from the mistakes it made during the 2008-2009 economic crisis”. Dobrev commented on the euro zone’s 2020 employment and social policy report, and urged introduction of a European minimum wage as well as uniform rules across the community. DK seeks to ensure “much more” money for education, welfare developments and health care, she said. DK supports the idea of a European health union, as well as ensuring “fair and sufficient” pensions to the elderly living below the poverty line, she added. Dobrev also urged tax changes in member states aimed at reducing the social gap. She said that member states’ access to community funding needed to be linked to the rule of law because “it is the rule of law that can protect the most vulnerable against those powerful”. István Ujhelyi, MEP of the Socialist Party, said that “certain challenges cannot be resolved without coordination between member states” and added that the coronavirus pandemic had “clearly demonstrated” the gap between the level of services in member states. He said he hoped MEPs of ruling Fidesz “who attacked the European health union earlier” would now support that initiative.
Enikő Győri, MEP of Hungary’s ruling Fidesz, said that the uniform minimum wage proposal was not backed by funds. She said that a debate on the subject was under way but insisted that resolving issues regarding the minimum wage was a national competency.