Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

The European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan

The European Pillar of Social Rights sets out 20 key principles and rights essential for fair and well-functioning labour markets and social protection systems.

The European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan turns the Principles into concrete actions to benefit citizens. It also proposes headline targets for the EU to reach by 2030.

Delivering the Pillar of Social Rights is a shared responsibility for the EU institutions, national, regional and local authorities, social partners and civil society.

Three ambitious EU 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
15 million
Reducing poverty
a reduction of at least 15 million in the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion


Turning principles into reality

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.
  • Eurostat figures show that in 2021, over one in five people in the EU was at risk of poverty or social exclusion (21.7% of the population or 95.4 million people). Child poverty stood at 24.4%.

National targets

EU employment and social affairs ministers presented their national targets on 16 June 2022. Combined, Member States’ commitments set the EU firmly on the path to achieving or even exceeding the EU headline targets.

What Europeans think about Social Europe

"Small, practical things such as diploma validation, getting a social security number, salary administration and everything involved with moving from one EU country to another should be easy."

Pascal, Netherlands


"I work in a company that has diversity and inclusion at its heart and makes a lot of effort to avoid biases based on gender or any other diversity. I think the EU could look at these examples as we have great ideas to offer which could be replicated in other companies"

Alexandra, Romania


"It should be easy and attractive to be self-employed in Europe, parallel to a job, training or a pension. On the one hand this can lead to better income and on the other it engages people of all ages and connects them across national borders."

Wolfgang, Austria

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.

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.

More on the 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

Charles Michel
“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.”
David Maria Sassoli
“The Porto European Summit must not be a point of arrival, but a starting point towards a social recovery.”
Mario Draghi
“We have to enshrine the Pillar’s targets and milestones in the European Semester.”
Emmanuel Macron
“As Europeans, we are shaping the answer to the crisis we are facing: a social response, in line with our values.”


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.

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

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

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.

    Already achieved in Q3 2021

    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 the 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

    First evaluation of the European Labour Authority
    Review of the Action Plan on the European Pillar of Social Rights


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