Navigation path

Left navigation

Additional tools

European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 27 September 2013

Citizens, stakeholders, and policy-makers debate the future of social rights in the EU

Monday 30 September will mark the opening of a second round of live, interactive online debates – this time on social rights - between citizens, businesses, organisations, and policy makers in the framework of Single Market Month (see IP/13/847). This is an opportunity for citizens and stakeholders to make proposals for the future of the EU, and to debate these proposals online, in real time, with other citizens, stakeholders, officials and leaders, and experts from all over Europe. The Commission is again taking to the web in order to involve citizens and civil society groups in its policy agenda. The online forum offers stakeholders a unique and immediate line of communication to Brussels policymakers. Throughout Single Market Month, the forum is hosting successive debates on four themes: Jobs, Social Rights, Banks, and e-Commerce- in all 24 EU languages.

Commissioner for Internal Market and Services Michel Barnier said: "We had a fascinating first online debate earlier this week on job opportunities in the Single Market. I heard clearly the message from many young people that they are worried about being dragged into a succession of unpaid traineeships with no prospects of a permanent and paid job after. It is a problem that we must tackle. We need to protect workers in the Single Market, and that is also the topic for discussion in the second week of Single Market Month. Many such protections exist, such as minimum standards for health and safety but I know people are worried that existing rules are being abused, leading for example to perceived welfare tourism or social dumping. I take these concerns very seriously indeed and look forward to debating them with citizens next week."

The debates will run from Monday to Wednesday (30 September-2 October) on 35 ideas across 17 EU countries ranging from the freedom to receive healthcare in any Member State, to an initiative that would ease information flows between the social security institutions of Member States. This debate on social rights takes place at a time when boundaries between the private and public sectors are getting increasingly blurred in terms of providing essential social services, while a more mobile workforce means that some may experience confusion regarding their pensions, healthcare and benefits as they move across borders in the EU. During the coming days of debate, people, organisations and businesses on the ground will have the opportunity to highlight what obstacles remain, and put forward their suggestions for actions at European level.


Single Market Month is taking place online on the over the course of 4 successive weeks, with a different policy theme explored each week:

  • 23-25 September, on jobs: How to find work, set up a business, or get qualifications recognised in Europe?

  • 30 September-2 October, on social rights: What social protection rights exist in the EU Single Market, in terms of pensions, healthcare, public services…?

  • 7-9 October, on banks: What more could be done to protect deposits, prevent another financial crisis, and make sure that banks invest in the real economy to foster growth?

  • 14-16 October, on e-commerce: How easy is it to sell products online, or buy them and get them delivered across borders as a customer? How protected are the data people share on social networking sites?

Single Market Month provides a unique opportunity for Europe's "netizens" to comment on, challenge, and refine new policy ideas put forward online from the ground. It offers participants a number of ways to interact with policy makers. They can:

  • vote and comment on the policy submissions of individuals, organisations and businesses,

  • question and debate with Commissioners, MEPs, EU experts and national personalities through live video chats,

  • Five participants will be invited to a final debate with Commissioner Michel Barnier on Euronews on 23 October at the European Parliament in Strasburg.

Ideas can still be submitted as of now on the online platform. Almost 400 ideas have already been submitted by stakeholders and individuals. These ideas were opened for debate on 23 September for the ideas on jobs, and will open on 30 September for the ideas on social rights, 7 October for the ideas on banks, and 14 October for the ideas on e-commerce.

Independent moderators will summarise the results of these debates – the ideas that participants think can change Europe. They will also be written into a final report that will be published and may feed into the EU’s work of tomorrow.

More information

Contacts :

Chantal Hughes (+32 2 296 44 50)

Audrey Augier (+32 2 297 16 07)

Carmel Dunne (+32 2 299 88 94)

Side Bar