Delivering Social Europe – promising signs in the European Pillar of Social Rights

The European Commission’s first concrete proposals for a European Pillar of Social Rights are welcomed as a promising step towards a strong social Europe by Social Platform.

The European Union’s largest network of rights- and value-based civil society organisations now calls on decision-makers to clarify how the Pillar will be implemented.

The Pillar brings to the table a number of changes and recommendations that social civil society has been advocating for. It encompasses issues including work-life balance, quality employment with adequate wages, and minimum income and social protection that ensure dignity across the life-cycle. Particularly important is the emphasis of social concerns on a par with economic priorities. Too often business interests take precedence over people and this proposal clearly sets out to redress the balance, ensuring that the economy works to the benefit of everybody in society.

The Commission’s proposal on work-life balance should progress gender equality and ensure better balance of care responsibilities between men and women. Children and others with care needs will also benefit.

On adequate minimum income and social protection the Commission stops short of issuing binding proposals, and Social Platform remains concerned that the proposals lack teeth. While the consulation on access to social protection is welcome, civil society must be involved alongside social partners to ensure the interests of those outside the labour market are also represented.

Social Platform President, Jana Hainsworth said:

“The EU’s economic and monetary coordination mechanisms have watched over, and sometimes blatantly encouraged, massive cuts in social spending and the dismantling of social safety nets in many Member States. That’s why this latest initiative of the Juncker Commission has generated so much interest from social civil society. The Commission proposals offer an opportunity to drive up standards, but we need strong mechanisms to support implementation.”

Social Platform calls on the European Parliament and the European Council to strengthen the Pillar in the following ways:

  1. Jobs alone are not enough. Too little attention is paid to promoting social policies and investment that address those who are furthest from the labour market or are not of working age.
  2. Promoting social progress on minimum income schemes and improving social investment is an important development, but it is still unclear how the EU will secure implementation across Member States without more clarity on the incentives and potential sanctions.
  3. Civil society are referenced as important stakeholders in policy-making. They play a key role in strengthening the direct involvement of those people receiving benefits and social care so they are empowered to be involved in decisions affecting them.


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Helen Joseph
Communications & Media Officer, Social Platform
Tel. +32 (0) 489 77 26 94