A Social Compass for the Social Pillar

Welcome to this edition of Social Compass! What better than our compass for pointing out the right path towards the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights? From now on this will be its purpose, looking at four axes: policy, funding, governance and participation. As we reach April and say goodbye to the first quarter of 2018, it’s a good opportunity to take stock of progress.

There are some positive signs with regards to policy in the shape of the European Commission’s Social Fairness Package released in March. The package includes an initiative on improving access to social protection for the self-employed and people in non-standard employment, which takes into account many of our recommendations. However, the initiative is non-binding, which calls into question whether its implementation will be effective or not. Read more in our blog post ‘Social protection for all workers – signs of progress on the Social Pillar’.

On funding, the direction we are moving in is still unclear. While President Juncker himself has called for the EU’s social ambitions to receive adequate funding, the fact is that there is still no decision on how the next long-term EU budget will look. One thing is clear: adequate funding to the Social Pillar and initiatives with complementary objectives, such as Agenda 2030, is vital to achieve social, economic and environmental progress in the EU. Read more in our blog post ‘Making the next EU budget deliver for people’.

While progress on funding is still a grey area, there is hope to be found when we look at governance. Following our calls for the European Semester to better balance its social and economic priorities we are now seeing the needle swing in this direction, with access to services and social protection in particular receiving more emphasis in the latest set of country reports. Read more in our blog post ‘Building Social Europe 2/4 – Balancing the Social Pillar through good governance’.

Governance will be a central theme of many events that Social Platform will participate in over the course of April; the Commission’s civil society reflection on ‘The Social Pillar and European Semester as tools for delivering social Europe’ and ‘Annual Convention on Inclusive Growth’, and the informal EPSCO Council meeting of EU ministers for social affairs hosted by the Bulgarian EU Presidency in Sofia will all be prime opportunities to make the case for stronger social governance. Civil society organisations’ participation in such events is vital to ensure that the voices of people on the ground who feel the direct impact of EU policies are heard at the highest level, and we’re pleased that Social Platform and many of our members are being brought to the table for these important discussions. Will participation lead to concrete results? Tune in to next month’s Social Compass to find out!

Best wishes,

Kélig Puyet, Director of Social Platform