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EU election line-up: The Social Democrats

Jeppe Kofod and the social democrats want the European Union to have a strong focus on creating jobs

Jobs, jobs, jobs, seems to be the motto of the social democrats. Jeppe Kofod, the party’s top candidate met with the University Post to give us his view on the parties goals at European Union.

”Our main goal would be to increase employment in Europe, create sustainable growth and labour markets that are more efficient at protecting labour rights”, says Jeppe in the beginning of the interview.

The Social Democrats are one of the eight Danish parties standing for election to the European Parliament this Sunday, and are expected to obtain three out of 13 seats. In Danish national politics, they make up the majority of the Social Democrat and Social Liberal minority government.

Hope to become the biggest group

The social democrats run on a traditional platform, focused on job creation and worker’s rights. Other current issues are also part of their program.

”The fight against salary dumping is very important to us, as is speeding up the green transition and reducing imports of gas and oil from outside Europe. Also we want to fight against tax evasion, tax avoidance, which we see as a huge problem”, Jeppe explains.

The Social Democrats are a member of the Party of European Socialists, and consequently the Socialists and Democrats group, currently the second largest alliance in the Parliament.

”We are satisfied with the cooperation. It’s a big group so we can have a lot of influence on the legislative process. We fight very hard to come out ahead of the EPP. If we do that, we really could change things in Europe,” he says.

Research and education rather than agriculture

In regards to budgeting, Jeppe supports redirecting funds away from agricultural support and structural funds.

”I would fight for redirecting the money into research and education, not only on higher level, but all levels, actually. We need to support education reform in member states, so they can give young people an education that is useful and makes a transition to the job market easier,” he explicates.

In research, Jeppe wants to continue with the direction taken in ”Horizon 2020”, the EU’s research and innovation program.

”Research within sustainability, climate, environment, energy, are prioritized, and I think that’s a very wise way to go. Overall we should have a broad approach. There are a lot of cross-national issues and we can use European programs to move faster than we could nationally.”

More strict with national benefit systems

For Jeppe, the Erasmus+ program is important for Europe’s competitiveness and the opportunities of young people to participate in education cross-nationally. However, there’s room for improvement.

”We have to get better at recognizing grades and educations. First of all making sure that the transcripts are real, but also that you can compare, and easily change to another country or institution”, he explains.

The Social Democrats want to safeguard the right for free movement and the national support systems, like the Danish state grant SU, should be open for qualified students. However, the party is concerned about access being too easy.

”Today, you can have around ten hours weekly work, and you can qualify as worker and access various social benefits – these hours should be higher. We need to find a balanced fairness between students and taxpayers,” says Jeppe.

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