Communication: Establishing a European Pillar of Social Rights

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Series Details (2017) 250 final (26.4.17)
Publication Date 26/04/2017
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Building a more inclusive and fairer Union is a key priority for this European Commission. Since the announcement by President Juncker of the establishment of a European Pillar of Social Rights, the Commission has been engaging actively with all relevant stakeholders at all levels. In March 2016, it presented a preliminary outline of the European Pillar of Social Rights and launched a broad public consultation to gather feedback. In January 2017, building on stakeholders' events and input from across Europe, a high-level conference was organised to conclude the consultation.

The Commission is now presenting the results of this public consultation together with its final proposal for the European Pillar of Social Rights. The Pillar sets out a number of key principles and rights to support fair and well-functioning labour markets and welfare systems. As highlighted in the Five Presidents’ Report on completing Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union, this is also essential for building more resilient economic structures. This is why the Pillar is designed as a compass for a renewed process of convergence towards better working and living conditions among participating Member States. It is primarily conceived for the euro area but open to all EU Member States.

Delivering on these principles and rights is a joint responsibility. Most of the tools required to deliver on the Pillar are in the hands of local, regional and national authorities, as well as the social partners, and civil society at large. The European Union – and the European Commission in particular – can help by setting the framework, giving the direction and establishing a level-playing field, in full respect of the specificies of national circumstances and institutional set-ups. While this is essential, action at EU level will need to be supported and followed up at all levels of responsibility.

The discussion on the social dimension of Europe is part of the broader debate initiated on the future of the EU27. The Commission’s White Paper on the future of Europe has begun a wide-ranging discussion on what future we want for ourselves, for our children and for Europe. The reflection paper on the social dimension of Europe, published alongside the package on the European Pillar of Social Rights, focuses on the profound transformations European societies and the world of work will undergo in the coming decade, and it sets out a number of options on how we can collectively respond, by building a Europe that protects, empowers and defends. The Rome Declaration adopted by EU leaders on 25 March 2017 outlined the importance of a social Europe. The Social Summit for Fair Jobs and Growth, to be held in Gothenburg on 17 November 2017, will be a further opportunity to take these ideas forward.

This Communication presents the European Pillar of Social Rights and outlines a way forward for its implementation. The Communication is accompanied by a number of legislative and non-legislative initiatives related to work-life balance, information for workers, access to social protection and working time. In the logic of the Pillar, these proposals, once adopted, will update and complement the EU acquis. The text of the Pillar itself is supported by a staff working document which provides more detailed explanations on each of the principles and rights. Moreover, a social scoreboard has been established to monitor progress on the ground. This will serve to track trends and performances across countries and to inform policy guidance in the context of the European Semester of economic policy coordination. For the EU as a whole, the scoreboard will also serve to assess progress towards its ̔social triple Aʼ.

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Related Links
ESO: Background information: Launch of the European Pillar of Social Rights
EUR-Lex: SWD(2017)200: Social Scoreboard
EUR-Lex: SWD(2017)201: Commission Staff Working Document accompanying the communication
EUR-Lex: SWD(2017)206: Report of the public consultation
EUR-Lex: COM(2017)251: Proposal for a Interinstitutional Proclamation on the European Pillar of Social Rights
EESC: European Pillar of Social Rights: EESC Members to lead debates across Europe - Consultation phase
ESO: Find further information in ESO on the European Pillar of Social Rights

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