The European Commission falls short of a truly ambitious and comprehensive Action Plan to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights
Today, the European Commission published the highly anticipated Action Plan implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights (Social Pillar).
Social Platform has been one of the leading and vocal advocates behind the Social Pillar and its ambitious and comprehensive Action Plan. While we welcome the fact that the Action Plan contains many positive initiatives in a variety of policy fields, we feel that it does not achieve its potential to be the comprehensive implementation plan for an effective European Pillar of Social Rights we advocated and hoped for.
We strongly regret that the Action Plan does not give equal importance and weight to all the 20 principles of the Social Pillar and does not provide specific and ambitious actions for each of its 20 principles. Additionally, the Action Plan overall does not sufficiently focus on measures targeting groups in vulnerable situations.
We are concerned that the suggested EU targets only focus on the three topic areas of employment, education and skills as well as poverty reduction, failing to set targets for all 20 principles. Moreover, several of the suggested targets are insufficiently ambitious. Especially the target to reduce the number of people at risk of poverty and social exclusion by 15 million, 5 million of which should be children, stays significantly below the ambition of the Agenda 2030 that the EU has committed to. Both the insufficient number and ambition of targets is particularly worrying, as the EU does not have an over-arching post-2020 strategy which builds on the Europe 2020 strategy and its targets and related indicators to measure progress made. Nevertheless, we welcome the call to EU countries to define their own national targets, as a contribution to this common endeavour.
On a positive side, Social Platform welcomes that the European Commission encourages Member States to organise a coordination mechanism to ensure engagement of all relevant stakeholders at national level in the implementation of the Social Pillar. It is crucial that civil society organisations at all levels of governance are fully involved in all steps of the policy-making process as well as implementation, evaluation and monitoring of efforts made to implement the Social Pillar.
Piotr Sadowski, President of Social Platform, said:
“We are living through the biggest health, social, economic and environmental crisis of our generation. Incomplete or half-measures are no longer an option. The most recent Eurobarometer poll clearly shows people in Europe want the fight against poverty and social inequalities at the top of the agenda.
We call on EU and national leaders to ensure a truly ambitious, comprehensive, targeted, and effective implementation of the Social Pillar despite identified shortcomings of the Action Plan. The time is now to take bold and decisive actions and to build a truly equal and just society where each person can live in dignity and respect and no one is left behind.”