One year on, we need action on the Pillar of Social Rights

15/11/2018

Social pillar

The proclamation of the European Pillar of Social Rights last year signalled a clear change in the EU’s political course and placed social rights in the spotlight.

Our political family drove this important success, but also insisted from the outset that it must lead to concrete changes. One year on the Party of European Socialists (PES) say action is needed, not only warm words, for social rights to become a reality for all Europeans.

The Pillar was created to strengthen workers’ rights and social protection in Europe, but a growing number of organisations, including the European Trade Union Confederation, are concerned that major elements of the Pillar have still not been implemented. A year ago, ahead of the Goteborg Summit, the PES stressed the need for an action plan on the implementation of the Social Pillar. Now we can sadly conclude that not enough has been done.

Commenting on the anniversary, PES President Sergei Stanishev said:

“At a time when many Europeans question the European project and its achievements, the best way for the EU to show its relevance is to protect and provide for its citizens. The Pillar of Social Rights must be a milestone on the way to a real Social Europe. The Pillar of Social Rights needs to be fully implemented. This means that we need to see progress on emblematic files such as work-life balance, working conditions, the European Labour Authority and access to social security. Yet these will not suffice to make the 20 principles of the Pillar a reality.

“Better wages, decent working conditions and strong social protection are desperately needed in Europe. We need a reliable social safety net to provide real support in hard times for workers, self-employed people, those in atypical work and those out of work. We need to address poverty, and child poverty in particular. We want a Europe where no one is left behind, where everyone has access to social protection when they fall sick, lose their job, or retire.

“To strengthen our social model, reduce inequalities, guarantee high social standards and strong collective bargaining, it is crucial to translate the Pillar’s principles in concrete steps. We have proposed a European Social Action Plan, outlining clear measures and tools for the realisation of the Pillar’s twenty principles. Our Social Action Plan will deliver on the promises made.”