Three ambitious EU targets

Targets by 2030

  • at least 78%of the population aged 20 to 64 should be in employment by 2030
  • at least 60%of all adults should be participating in training every year by 2030
  • a reduction of at least15 millionin the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion

Where we stand

The coronavirus crisis has put a halt on a six-year positive employment progress, with an employment rate of 72.4% by the third quarter of 2020. By 2016, only 37% of adults were participating in learning activities every year. In 2019, around 91 million persons (out of which 17.9 million were children aged 0-17) were at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU.

Turning principles into reality

What Europeans think about Social Europe

Public consultation

These testimonials are part of a large-scale public consultation with over 1000 written contributions from Member States, regions, cities, social partners, civil society organisations, international organisations, businesses, think tanks and citizens. In addition, the Commission consulted over 1500 key stakeholders – including the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – with dedicated webinars. The Action Plan draws on its results.

Results of the public consultation

Eurobarometer survey

9 in 10 Europeans (88%) consider social Europe to be important to them personally, according to a 2021 Eurobarometer survey on social issues.

Results of the 2021 Eurobarometer survey on social issues

Eurobarometer survey

Porto Social Summit and Porto Social Commitment

The Social Summit in Porto on 7-8 May 2021, organised by the Portuguese Council Presidency, provided the opportunity to reaffirm the commitment and ambition to put people first in Europe’s recovery and beyond. The Porto Social Summit was also an occasion to rally forces to renew, at the highest political level, the commitment to implement the Social Pillar.

On 7 May, partners signed up to the three 2030 headline targets set in the Commission’s European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan in a joint Porto Social Commitment.

On 8 May, the members of the European Council adopted the Porto Declaration on social affairs.

On 25 June, the European Council welcomed the EU headline targets of the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan, in line with the Porto Declaration.

Voices from around Europe at the Porto Social Summit

  • Quote card by Charles Michel, President of the European Council: "To those who say that social Europe is invisible, I would say – invisible as the air that we breathe. That air is invisible but essential to human life."

  • Quote card by Mario Draghi, Prime Minister of Italy: "We have to enshrine the Pillar’s targets and milestones in the European Semester."

  • Quote card by David Sassoli, President of the European Parliament: "The Porto European Summit must not be a point of arrival, but a starting point towards a social recovery."

  • Quote card by Emmanuel Macron, President of France: "As Europeans, we are shaping the answer to the crisis we are facing: a social response, in line with our values."

Timeline and key actions

The Action Plan sets out a number of EU actions that the Commission is committed to take during the current mandate (until the end of 2024), building on the many actions already undertaken since the proclamation of the European Pillar of Social Rights in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 2017. This Action Plan is the Commission’s contribution to turn the principles of the Social Pillar into reality.

  • Fourth quarter of 2021

    Initiative on Sustainable Corporate Governance
    Communication on Decent Work Worldwide
    Action Plan for the Social Economy
    Individual Learning Accounts and Micro-Credentials Framework
    Council Recommendation on education for environmental sustainability
    Skills and Talent Package
    Extension and Adaption of the Joint Employment Report
    European Health Data Space
    Initiative on Collective Bargaining for the Self-employed
    Legislative initiative on Platform Work

  • 2022

    Implementation Report of the Working Time Directive
    Revision of the Barcelona targets
    Initiative on Pathways to School Success
    Review of the Quality Framework for Traineeships
    Initiative on Long-Term Care
    Initiative on Collective Bargaining for the Self-employed
    Report of new High-Level Expert Group on Access 
    to Adequate and Sustainable Social Protection
    New Tools and Indicators on Access to Healthcare
    Legal proposals to reduce workers’ exposure
    to hazardous chemicals, including asbestos
    Council Recommendation on Minimum Income
    Initiative on Social Dialogue
    Guidance on Ex-Ante Distributional Impact Assessments
    First EU Report on Access to Essential Services

  • 2023

    First EU Report on Access to Essential Services
    European Social Security Pass (ESSPASS)

  • 2024

    First evaluation of the European Labour Authority

  • 2025

    Review of the Action Plan on the European Pillar of Social Rights

  • Already achieved in 2020

    European Gender Equality Strategy
    Industrial Strategy and SME Strategy
    Temporary Support to Mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE)
    Revised Multi-Annual Financial Framework 2021-2027
    Recovery and Resilience Facility and REACT-EU
    European Skills Agenda for Sustainable Competitiveness, Social Fairness and Resilience
    Council Recommendation for Vocational Education and Training
    Youth Employment Support, accompanied by Reinforced Youth Guarantee
    European Education Area
    Digital Education Action Plan (2021-2027)
    Anti-Racism Action Plan
    EU Roma Strategic Framework on Equality, Inclusion and Participation, accompanied by a Council Recommendation on Roma Equality, Inclusion and Participation
    Renovation Wave
    Pact for Skills
    Action Plan on Integration and Inclusion
    LGBTIQ Equality Strategy
    Proposal for a Directive on Adequate Minimum Wages
    Pharmaceuticals Strategy

  • Already achieved in first quarter of 2021

    Green Paper on Ageing
    Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan
    European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan
    Proposal for a Revision of the Social Scoreboard
    New Disability Rights Strategy
    Binding Pay Transparency Measures
    Effective Active Support to Employment
    Europe’s Digital Decade
    Strategy on the Rights of the Child, accompanied by European Child Guarantee
    Joint Report on the Application of the Employment Equality Directive and the Race Equality Directive

  • Already achieved in second quarter of 2021

    Follow-up to the White Paper on Artificial Intelligence
    A Trusted and Secure European E-ID
    Updating the new Industrial Strategy for Europe
    Revision of the non-financial reporting Directive
    Guidance Notices on Public Procurement of Innovation and on Socially Responsible Public Procurement
    New Occupational Safety and Health Strategy
    European Platform on Combating Homelessness

  • Already achieved in third quarter of 2021

    Renewed Sustainable Finance Strategy

Joining forces to deliver a more social Europe

Delivering on the European Pillar of Social Rights is a shared political commitment and responsibility of the EU institutions, national, regional and local authorities, social partners and civil society, all having a role to play in line with their competences.

  • Chart showing growth

    Member States should make full use of the unprecedented EU funds available to support reforms and investments: the EU budget, NextGenerationEU, the European Social Fund Plus, and more.

  • Cog moving.

    Member States should make the best use of the European Semester to coordinate economic, employment and social reforms and investments, putting people and their wellbeing at the centre.

  • Classical building

    The engagement of national, regional and local authorities, social partners and civil society is essential to the implementation of the Pillar.

  • Hands shaking in front of globe.

    Guiding and international EU action in the social area helps affirm the EU’s role as a responsible global leader, promoting decent work and social inclusion worldwide.