On the 8th March 2016 the European Commission presented its first preliminary outline of the European Pillar of Social Rights announced by President Juncker in September last year and launched a broad online public consultation.
The initiative is targeted at the euro area, while allowing other EU Member States to join if they want to do so. The online consultation will run until the end of 2016.
The European Pillar of Social Rights will set out a number of essential principles to support well-functioning and fair labour markets and welfare systems within the euro area.
The experience of the past decade and a half has shown that persisting imbalances in one or more Member States may put at risk the stability of the euro area as a whole. As called for by the Five Presidents Report on “Completing Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union”, a stronger focus on employment and social performance is needed as part of a broader process of upward convergence towards more resilient economic structures within the euro area.
The aim of the online consultation is:
- to make an assessment of the present EU social “acquis”,
- to reflect on new trends in work patterns and societies
- to gather views and feedback on the principles identified in a preliminary outline of the Pillar.
The results of the consultation will contribute to its final outline and help to identify the scope of future action where necessary. The consultation will run until 31 December 2016 and a consolidated version of the European Pillar of Social Rights should be presented early in 2017.
Allan Larson, Special Adviser to the Commission on the European Pillar of Social Rights made the following remarks at the Annual Convention for Inclusive Growth 2016 on the 21st March 2016:
- There is no unified social system in Europe, we have several clusters within Europe
- There is new commitment to social progress
- Poverty and social inclusion remain very high, we are currently far away from the Europe 2020 targets
- The purpose of the Pillar of Social Rights is to take a holistic approach that builds on new knowledge
- The aim of the consultation is; knowledge building (to better understand the new ageing society and the consequences of that) and policy development
- We are currently looking at the present aquis on social rights – what works and what does not work
- Draft social pillar will advise what to do at EU level, national level and what the local partners can do
- There will be a conference in December
- The purpose is to find a new balance between financial Europe and social Europe, balance which has been lost in the last years
- The link between poverty and economic development is education which starts with children
Michel Servoz, Director General of Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion advised that:
- The Social Pillar will have binding force as a legal instrument
European Commission Factsheet on economic and social trends and development.
Keep up to date via the Twitter hashtag #SocialRights