Social Platform is the largest network of European rights- and value-based civil society organisations working in the social sector. Our 48 member organisations represent more than 2,800 national organisations, associations and other voluntary groups at local, regional and national level in every EU member state - covering a large spectrum of the EU social civil society sector. Our mission is to advocate for policies that bring social progress to all in the European Union. We apply a human-rights approach to all of our work to fight for a socially just and cohesive Europe that promotes equality, diversity, solidarity, democracy and human dignity.
Social Platform strongly welcomes the initiative of the European Commission to move towards more efficient decision-making in social policy by increasing as much as possible the use of qualified majority voting in certain social policy areas, where foreseen in articles 153 TFEU and 48 TEU. We fully agree that this is crucial to enable the EU to keep up with increasingly quickly changing economic, social and societal realities. This would support the EU in remedying the ongoing negative effects of the crisis and subsequent austerity measures on the levels of social cohesion, social protection and standards of living.
In recent years, the EU has slowly increased its social dimension, working towards becoming a Social Union. While the interdependence of economic and social objectives is increasingly recognised, a significant imbalance between fiscal, economic and social priorities in the EU remains. With the proclamation of the European Pillar of Social Rights in 2017, the EU committed itself to anchoring a strong social dimension in the future of the European Union. To fully deliver on this promise, more ambitious and efficient decision-making in the social field is essential. More regular use of the ordinary legislative procedure would significantly strengthen the role of the European Parliament, enabling it to act as a co-legislator in these policy areas, which has the potential to lead to more ambitious EU legislation in the social field. As highlighted by the roadmap, reduced use of unanimity voting would also limit the risk of a single Member State vetoing the adoption of a proposal welcomed by many. It would indeed also limit the risk of a single Member State slowing down negotiation processes or reducing the content of a proposal to absolute minimum standards, leading to stagnating or even worsening social realities on the ground across the EU.
As the Special Eurobarometer 467 on the Future of Europe - Social issues highlights, unemployment and social inequalities continue to be perceived as the main challenges facing the EU. Indeed, high levels of inequality, poverty and social exclusion, coupled with narrowing definitions and applications of rights, are fuelling social tension, growing disillusionment of European citizens with democracy and reduced trust in our governing institutions. To safeguard its future - especially with the European elections taking place in just a few months - the EU needs to demonstrate that it is part of the solution, and not part of the problem. The increased use of qualified majority voting in the social field would enable the EU to more efficiently turn the commitments of the European Pillar of Social Rights into action, making a truly Social Europe a reality for its citizens.
The views and opinions expressed here are entirely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the official opinion of the European Commission. The Commission cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information contained in them. Neither the Commission, nor any person acting on the Commission’s behalf, may be held responsible for the content or the information posted here. Views and opinions that violate the Commission’s feedback rules will be removed from the site.