“Economy should serve humanity and promote the dignity of every person”, says COMECE at EP conference on Social Market Economy

“The purpose of the economy is to serve humanity, not the other way around. It should promote the dignity of every person,” stated Fr. Manuel Barrios Prieto, General Secretary of COMECE, during the conference ‘A Social Market Economy that Cares’, hosted by the EPP Group at the European Parliament on Wednesday, 21 February 2024. Full video recording | Photo Gallery

The conference focused on addressing the challenges posed by modern work modalities and sought to offer solutions to the ongoing cost of living crisis in the European Union.

In his address, Fr. Manuel Barrios Prieto underscored the need to forge an economic system that puts the dignity of every person at its centre. “The world of work is experiencing challenging and uncertain times, characterised, among others, by globalisation, new forms of employment, artificial intelligence technologies, online work, and much more,” Fr. Barrios Prieto elaborated.

COMECE General Secretary Fr. Manuel Barrios Prieto during the EPP Group “A Social Market Economy that cares”. (Photo: EPP Group)

He appealed to the institutions of the EU and national governments to ensure that policy responses to these challenges are grounded in principles such as fair wages, protection of workers, work-life balance, stable and secure jobs, security at work, and the right to affiliation with workers’ unions.

“The purpose of the economy is to serve humanity, not the other way around. It should promote the dignity of every individual, allow a dignified life and building a family,” Fr. Barrios Prieto emphasised further.

Additionally, Fr. Barrios Prieto highlighted two significant initiatives by COMECE aligning with these values: the European Sunday Alliance, which advocates for a work-free Sunday for all, and a recent event that showcased the contribution of Churches and faith-based organisations in combating human trafficking and forced labor.

The conference also featured the participation of the Vice-President of the European Commission and EC Responsible for Article 17 TFEU, Margaritis Schinas, and the President of the EPP, Manfred Weber.

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