On the Eve of the Social Pillar Action Plan

Friends, welcome to the February edition of the Social Compass! As the temperature begins to rise and as Spring comes knocking at the door, there’s a quiet and welcomed optimism in the air.

I want to begin with a resounding thank you. As I scrolled through social media last week on the International Day of Social Justice, I was reminded once again that, despite one of the most challenging times for all of our organisations, we have continued to show up, to campaign, to collaborate and work towards a more socially just and fair EU for all. Thank you!

Now more than ever, as the Commission prepares to launch its Action Plan on the European Pillar of Social Rights next week, our work is vital.

On Monday, I had the pleasure of being invited by the Portuguese Council Presidency to speak at the informal EPSCO meeting – using this opportunity to highlight once again the urgency of implementing an Action Plan that is as ambitious as it is comprehensive.

Having worked with many of you over the past year on the lead up to this Action Plan, it felt like an important milestone for all of us to present our collaborative work and recommendations to EU Ministers. Indeed, throughout all of our work – it’s people that lie at the core, especially those in vulnerable and marginalised situations. Therefore, highlighting that an ambitious implementation of the Social Pillar cannot be achieved without the interaction of these groups was one of the most important messages I was able to convey.

Social Platform was able to make positive contributions to a session focussed on tackling poverty and social exclusion to promote inclusive societies and a session on gender equality as a driver for recovery. I talked about Social Platform and our members calling for an EU Framework Directive on Adequate Minimum Income, which would lay the foundation for a basic social safety net. A safety net, which allows everyone to live a life in dignity and contributes to reducing poverty and social exclusion by fostering upward social convergence within and across Member States, while at the same time, mitigating the immediate and long-term socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I also raised a point on the importance of social services being an integral part of the Action Plan, as social services are an indisputable element of our social protection systems for all people across the life cycle and support people in differing situations, not only those facing poverty and social exclusion or with long-term health needs.

I look forward to collaborating with you as we begin to react to the Commission’s action plan in the coming weeks.

For now, I hope the warmer temperatures and lighter evenings bring you some much needed reprieve from harder days. Keep going, we’re almost there!