European Pillar of Social Rights as a framework for a sustainable economy
The Lab was organised by the city of Ghent, in cooperation with the city of Berlin, CEMR, EUROCITIES and DG Employment, as part of the implementation of the Urban Partnership Jobs & Skills Action 3. Other outputs of Action 3 are an analysis of urban practices regarding Principles 1 and 5 of the European Pillar Social Rights (EPSR) and a guide on the implementation of these Principles at the local level.
The Lab focused on how the EPSR contributes to fair and well-functioning labour markets and social security systems. The Lab started with a presentation of the Interreg project Skills Navigator by Vice Mayor Bram Van Braeckevelt (city of Ghent), a cooperation initiative between the cities of Ghent, Rotterdam, Antwerp and Terneuzen, knowledge institutions, employers in the port sector and employment services. Skills Navigator aims to tackle the skills mismatch in the harbour region of the Flemish-Dutch Delta. The project concentrates on 21st century skills such as digital and soft skills.
Vice Mayor Carina Nilsson (city of Malmö) presented several examples of the city of Malmö as employer of over 26,000 employees of whom about 80% are women. The jobs where most employees work part-time (14.5%), e.g. nursing, have a large % of female staff. To tackle this gender inequality, Malmö engages to provide everyone requesting full-time work with a full-time job within 6 months. Also with regard to parental leave, salaries and job titles Malmö takes the lead in striving towards gender equality.
Reflecting on the outcomes of the Lab, Ms Alison Crabb (DG Employment, Unit E.2) welcomed the work of the Urban Partnership on Jobs & Skills to translate shared European policy objectives on skills into actions at the local level, especially with regard to the European Pillar of Social Rights. As our economies and societies face transition, it is more important than ever to put social rights, protection and fairness at the heart of our modern economy. That is why the President elect of the Commission has asked Commissioner Schmit to take forward an action plan to implement the EPSR. The Pillar is a compass for implementing social Europe; making its principles reality depends on actions at all levels of governance and by a diverse range of stakeholders. The expertise and commitment which cities bring in the Urban Partnership Jobs & Skills can play a key role in making this happen.
Take away message
The European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR) is an appropriate framework for the reconversion towards sustainable local economies of the twenty-first century. To achieve this, more cooperation is needed between all tiers of government (vertical multi-level governance) and all stakeholders (horizontal multi-level governance) who are to be involved in the local economy. The lab's focus on "Education, training and life-long learning" (Principle 1, EPSR) and "Secure and adaptable employment" (Principle 5, EPSR) clearly demonstrated the success of multi-level governance organised by cities.
Vice-Mayor Van Braeckevelt (city Ghent): "through multi-level governance, we can find innovative and appropriate solutions for contemporary and future challenges in our cities. For example, with regard to the gap between demand for and supply of certain skills and labour we elaborated solutions through the Interreg project Skills Navigator."
Vice-Mayor Nilsson (city Malmö): "Malmö city is one of the largest employers in our region. This comes with great responsibility. We want to make sure that we are an employer who offers equal opportunities for all, e.g. relating to gender, and having good relations with different unions."
Ms Crabb (DG Employment-UnitE.2): "The European-Pillar-Social-Rights is a compass for implementing soical Europe; making its principles reality depends on action at all govenance levels and by all stakeholders. The expertise and commitment that cities bring in the UP Jobs & Skills play a key role in making this happen."