More than 600 participants from Member State authorities, EU institutions, social partners and civil society, including more than 20 national Ministers and several Members of the College of Commissioners, are discussing the results of the public consultation on this European Pillar of Social Rights. Since the initiative's announcement by President Juncker in September 2015, there has been a wide debate with EU authorities, Member States, social partners, civil society and citizens on the content and role of the Pillar and how to ensure fairness and social justice in Europe. Today's discussions bring this process to an end and will help the Commission prepare its proposal on the Pillar to be expected in March. At this occasion, President Jean-Claude Juncker announced today that he will host a “Social Summit for Fair Jobs and Growth” together with Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven in Gothenburg on 17 November 2017.
President Jean-Claude Juncker said: “Since the start of my mandate, I have made clear that I wanted a more social Europe. We have taken important first steps to achieve that. This year will be crucial. Following the broad public consultation, it is time to establish the European Pillar of Social Rights. The Social Summit in Sweden will help us to deliver the momentum and put social priorities where they belong: at the top of Europe's agenda.”
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said: “In these challenging times, we need to show that we can deliver results in peoples' everyday lives. A more social Europe, with fair working conditions, effective labour markets and a strong social dialogue, should be a priority for all of us. I trust we can take important steps towards this goal at the Social Summit in November.”
Today's conference is an opportunity to exchange with stakeholders. The Commission has organised a broad public consultation on the Pillar last year, with more than 16.000 contributions. The European Parliament has adopted a resolution last week (*). The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is set to adopt its opinion later this month. The Committee of the Regions contributed with an opinion and also European and national social partners with their reports (report of BusinessEurope, report of ETUC).
In spite of recent improvements in economic conditions the legacy of the worst economic and social crisis in recent times has been far-reaching. The world of work and our societies are changing fast, with new opportunities and new challenges arising from globalisation, the digital revolution, changing work patterns or demographic developments. We share a responsibility and an interest in working for a more prosperous and future-proof Europe, where economic and social developments go hand in hand.
Delivering on a more social and fair Europe is a key priority for this Commission. In his 2015 State of the Union address President Juncker announced that he wants to develop a European Pillar of Social Rights. On 8 March 2016, Vice President Dombrovskis and Commissioner Thyssen put forward a first, preliminary outline of this initiative. The Pillar will set out a number of essential principles to support well-functioning and fair labour markets and welfare systems. It has been conceived as a reference framework to screen the employment and social performance of participating Member States, to drive reforms at national level and, more specifically, to serve as a compass for the renewed process of convergence across Europe. A broad public consultation gave the opportunity to discuss the first ideas presented by the Commission during 2016. This public consultation was concluded at the end of December. The Commission proposal on the European Pillar of Social Rights can be expected in March.
The Social Summit in November will be an opportunity for key stakeholders to discuss the policy priorities and initiatives set at European level and to see how the European Union, the Member States and social partners at all levels can deliver on their shared economic and social priorities. It will seek to gather Heads of State or Government, social partners and other key players so they work together to promote fair jobs and growth.
For more information
Memo: Towards a European Pillar of Social Rights – Questions and Answers
(*) : Updated 23/01/2017 - 16.30