This Spring Social Summit theme was "Delivering on the European Pillar of Social Rights".
Three sub-themes fed into this discussion: Reinforcing innovation, job creation and social fairness in the Multiannual Financial Framework; New forms of work: challenges and opportunities for employment and social dialogue, and Economic and social convergence to strengthen growth and resilience.
"Since the start of the mandate of this Commission, we have put social priorities where they belong: at the heart of the European agenda. In Gothenburg, last November, EU Institutions jointly proclaimed the European Pillar of Social Rights I had been calling for. Delivering on the Pillar is a joint responsibility and I count on member states and social partners at all levels to play a key role in this endeavour. You can count on the Commission to play its full part", stressed the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.
In his statement, the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, said: "Let me thank the social partners for a good and constructive summit. We discussed the economic and social situation in the EU. Our economy continues to grow above expectations, employment is up and investments are recovering. However, economic growth has little point if it does not result in a better quality of life for our citizens. I discussed with the social partners how to combine social justice and economic efficiency so that our quality of life, which is at the heart of EU policies, continues to improve."
From the side of the rotating presidency, Bulgaria's Prime Minister, Boyko Borissov, said: "It is key that we all share the need to strengthen the social dimension of the European Union in order to continue building social cohesion. At the same time, we should strengthen the opportunities for economic growth— growth that is already observable in Europe. The results of this economic growth shall be tangible for all. As the Treaties say: let's work for a highly competitive social market economy, full employment and social progress."
The General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), Luca Visentini, said: "The European Pillar of Social Rights contains many important commitments but is only of any value in rebuilding people's trust if it is the beginning of better rights and working conditions, implemented by the EU, member states, employers and trade unions. Delivery of the rights contained in the Pillar needs to be reflected in EU economic policy recommendations, in the EU budget, in the laws and actions of member states, in renewed negotiations and collective agreements between employers and unions in every EU country.
A level playing field must be secured through upward wage, social and tax convergence. Nothing is more certain to anger citizens than broken promises. All leaders have a responsibility to ensure the Pillar of Social Rights brings real improvements in the lives of working people in the EU."
BusinessEurope's President, Emma Marcegaglia, representing employers (BusinessEurope, CEEP, UEAPME) said: "2017 has been a good year for the economy but implementation of national reforms continues to lag behind. Delivering reform commitments is essential to ensure that our social market economy continues to thrive, supported by high-performing public services. Despite the relatively recent recovery, skills shortages are already at their highest level in over 20 years, undermining the falls in unemployment and SMEs growth prospects. Labour market reforms and skills adaptation remain key priorities. The next European Multi-annual Financial Framework should focus on measures supporting long-term growth and enhancing employment. We also need to deepen our Economic and Monetary Union, develop our Single Market and put in place a real industrial strategy based on innovation. In view of the US intentions regarding steel and aluminium which can lead to damaging trade wars, defending the rules-based multilateral system and fighting protectionism is more important than ever."