Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

News 08/03/2016

Commission launches a public consultation on the European Pillar of Social Rights

Today, the European Commission presents a first concrete outline of the European Pillar of Social Rights announced by President Juncker in September last year and launches a broad public consultation to gather views and feedback from other European institutions, national authorities and parliaments, social partners, stakeholders, civil society, experts from academia and citizens.

This initiative is targeted at the euro area, while allowing other EU Member States to join if they want to do so. The online consultation will run until the end of 2016.

The European Pillar of Social Rights will set out a number of essential principles to support well-functioning and fair labour markets and welfare systems within the euro area.

The experience of the past decade and a half has shown that persisting imbalances in one or more Member States may put at risk the stability of the euro area as a whole. As called for by the Five Presidents Report on "Completing Europe's Economic and Monetary Union", a stronger focus on employment and social performance is needed as part of a broader process of upward convergence towards more resilient economic structures within the euro area.   

Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, said: “The biggest challenge of the 21st century is the changing world of work. Globalisation, the digital revolution and new business models have an unprecedented impact on how we work. We need to be ready to anticipate and influence these trends and developments. We have to ask ourselves the basic questions: are our European Union and our Member State's social policies in the broad sense of the word fit for purpose for the 21st century? How can we make the European social model future-proof? With the consultation that we are launching today, we are setting the first step towards a European Pillar of Social Rights."

What's next?

The aim of the consultation launched today is

  • to make an assessment of the present EU social "acquis",
  • to reflect on new trends in work patterns and societies
  • to gather views and feedback on the principles identified in a preliminary outline of the Pillar.

The results of the consultation will contribute to its final outline and help to identify the scope of future action where necessary. The consultation will run until 31 December 2016 and a consolidated version of the European Pillar of Social Rights should be presented early in 2017.

Once adopted, the Pillar should become a reference framework

  • to screen employment and social performance of participating Member States
  • to drive reforms at national level

More specifically, it also should serve as a compass for renewed convergence within the euro area.

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