Establishment of a European Pillar of Social Rights

Pursuant to Article 3 of the Treaty on European Union, the aims of the Union are inter alia to promote the well-being of its peoples and to work for the sustainable development of Europe based on balanced economic growth and price stability, a highly competitive social market economy, aiming at full employment and social progress, and a high level of protection and improvement of the quality of the environment. The intention of the European Union is to combat social exclusion and discrimination, promote social justice and protection, equality between women and men, solidarity between generations and protection of the rights of the child. Having a union of people it is also important to know who you want to include in that group of people or who you want to accept to be partakers of that community.

Schlüter Bernd EESC 2019 March

The EESC rapporteurs Bernd Schlüter and Ms Cincia Del Rio opened the Public hearing on the European Pillar of Social Rights – Evaluation of the initial implementation and recommendations for the future (EPSR), on Thursday March the 28th, by looking at how people fit security and how expectations can be fulfilled wherever people live in the union, so to see the pillar in effect and motivating people. Mr. Schlüter hoped that we also could help to motivate people by getting them to have solidarity with others and access to labour, making progress  on that basis and by provision of the tools from member states, providing public public relations, secure basis for data and structured funds, harmonising the standards with social and economic conversion.

Pursuant to Article 9 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the Union, in defining and implementing its policies and activities, shall take into account requirements linked to the promotion of a high level of employment, the guarantee of adequate social protection, the fight against social exclusion and a high level of education, training and protection of human health.

After the 2nd world war Western Europe could develop nicely and we can be proud several countries were not confronted with wars taking place in their region. It also can be said that Europe has shown its resolve to overcome the financial and economic crisis, and as a result of determined action, the Union economy can be called fairly stable, with employment levels at an unprecedented high and a steady fall in unemployment. However, the social consequences of the crisis have been far-reaching – from youth and long-term unemployment to the risk of poverty – and addressing those consequences remains an urgent priority.

Raquel Lucas DG Employement EU Commission 2019 March 28

Raquel Lucas, member of the Cabinet of the President Barroso, as head of Unit “Coordination” at the “Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (EMPL)” knows that challenges vary significantly across countries and call for appropriate and determined policy action. She mentioned the economic crisis has provided rapid changes in society and that the pillars should be delivering rights for the citizens.
For her the SocialPillar is not about restoring old policies, but about delivering effective rights for citizens. Implementing the principles of the pillar and ensuring upward convergence is our joint responsibility, with a key role for Social Partners.

For the seventh consecutive year in 2019 we may look forward to the European economy to grow. She finds that at a time of more pronounced global uncertainty, it is crucial that EU Member States step up their action to boost productivity, improve the resilience of their economies and ensure that economic growth benefits all citizens. Though the Pillar should be their reference and serve as a compass to get a better living. The Pillar encourages a race to the top whereby is needed an economic argument for upward comfort and a social arrangement for what citizens may expect to shape developments in the right direction.

To a large extent, the employment and social challenges facing Europe are a result of relatively modest growth, which is rooted in untapped potential in terms of participation in employment and productivity. Economic and social progress are intertwined, and the establishment of a European Pillar of Social Rights should be part of wider efforts to build a more inclusive and sustainable growth model by improving Europe’s competitiveness and making it a better place to invest, create jobs and foster social cohesion.

About the subsidiary matter there was the 2017 initiative of work, rental, transparent wok-conditions with a social fair package covered by mandatory social protection. EU Cohesion Policy funds, can help in the forthcoming programming period 2021-2027. this all can be monitored via EU semester and its key instruments, having a social fund plus for supporting workers when they lost their job and providing learning possibilities.

This reminds us of Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, who said:

“Demographic change and new technologies are reshaping the labour market, while skills shortages are on the rise in many Member States. We need to shift up a gear. Investing in people’s skills, especially lifting the skill levels of the low-skilled, must be our top priority if we are to maintain our living standards.”

Member States have achieved some or more progress with the implementation of more than two-thirds of the recommendations issued since the introduction of the European Semester in 2011.

Sound progress has also been achieved with regard to reforms facilitating job creation on permanent contracts and addressing labour market segmentation.

Primarily conceived for the euro area 20 key principles, structured around three categories:

    • Equal opportunities and access to the labour market
    • Fair working conditions
    • Social protection and inclusion

could or better should be applicable to all EU Member States wishing to be part of it.

We as members of the European Union should make all the best we can to get everybody behind those principals presented  in April 2017 with the European Pillar of Social Rights to create a safe haven where everybody receives respect and can be sure of rights to support fair and well-functioning labour markets and welfare systems. EU leaders proclaimed the Pillar at the Social Summit in Gothenburg in November 2017.

The implementation has to come through legislation and social dialogue, EU funding and the European Semester. As a successful point it can be registered that since 2014 the European Union has become more social having an evolution from 2017-18 going upwards. we may also notice a constrained socialisation of the semester and a need of policy coherence (economically, fiscal and social messages)

What I find strange is that some may find the very high Danish standards, not opposing the 20 pillars. Ms Christiane Misslbeck-Winberg wishes even other states to reach a same stage. this not by law making but by collective agreement between workers and employers, made to measure and by directives.

As said in my two previous articles we should be aware of the danger of such aim to gain more money by using immigrants as cheap workforce, and by getting rid of those cheap workers, or better said “slaves” after a few months.

Therefore we should keep to the Charter of rights and principles (Lörcher). The accession by the European Union to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) has opened up new possibilities in terms of the constitutional recognition of fundamental rights in the EU. In the field of employment law it heralds a new procedure for workers and trade unions to challenge EU law against the background of the ECHR. In theoretical terms this means that EU law now goes beyond recognition of fundamental rights as mere general principles of EU law, making the ECHR the ‘gold standard’ for fundamental (social) rights.

Though in the whole Union we can see that populist politicians and extreme right parties and groups do not want to know about such equal right policies and find the implementation measures (Garben) restricting them. There is no follow-up yet with discrimination prohibition, transfer of social political entitlements, right to social protection for self employed, right for adapted work for environment for people with disabilities, access for housing.

At the moment there is still a lack of connection with national level and lack of explicit connection with EPSR at national level.

Regardless of gender, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation, everyone should have the right to equal treatment and opportunities regarding employment, social protection, education, and access to goods and services available to the public. When looking around we are still far away from that goal. Certain countries even make every effort to create more differences between working possibilities and earnings. Equal opportunities of under-represented groups have still to be fostered more.

Andres Edholm, of the confederation of Swedish enterprises, showed that he is very proud of the Scandinavian model where economy  and good life for the own citizens is the priority.

Before 1960 all of Sweden was production-oriented. What is usually referred to as the Swedish Model was really the treaty between the social partners (the Svenska Arbetsgivareföreningen or  Swedish Employers Association and Landsorganisationen i Sverige, the Swedish Trade Union Confederation) of 1938 referred to as the Salt-sjöbaden Agreement. The model dealt with fair piece wages and independent time measurement, which would lay the foundations for sharing the gains of rationalizing the industry. This had worked well during the prosperous years when the export industry had been extremely successful. The pay gap between Swedish blue collar and white collar workers had been significantly reduced – one of the reasons why the Swedish market for major appliances was so strong.

But the large leftward shift of the 1960s in both politics and academia meant that “Taylorism” as well as the industrial measurement of time were being increasingly questioned. Soon, the autonomous work group became the example of what the Swedish model should stand for. Streamlining became increasingly difficult. In the 1970s Sweden could find itself in the great era of the trade unions, where it was a matter of “workers’ participation,” but it also reflected organizational insecurity and a company culture gone awry.

The protectionism that had become the practice around the breakout of World War I was slowly starting to give way, which was visible in the export statistics of the major companies.  Customers were gradually learning more about products and alternatives, especially as they were becoming more able to travel. New distribution companies were hitting their stride and found also their way to the “magic” of reaching the world by “internet”.

Having had a century of the “American dream” now Europe got its part of immigrating people by the “European dream”.
Badly enough it can be said that the European continent was flooded with too many lucky seekers from African countries. The instability and the many wars in the Middle East brought even more refugees to alluring Europe. Many citizens of Europe got fed up by those political but also many economical refugees.

Mr. Edholm seemed to be proud that his country with Denmark dared to have taken measures to stop such immigration. For him the best solution to reduce such influx is to have more power to trade unions or employer associations agreeing when in crisis to make use of those people who want to come to live in their country.

He opts for a flexible system in economic situations. To stay competitive he finds we need free movement and a diversity of EU positive.

Amana Ferro – Senior Policy Officer – European Anti Poverty Network (EAPN)

With the Policy Officer at the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) Amana Ferro, I could totally agree that there are 2 sides  of the same coin of which both have to be legislated. She urged to have social rights back to the agenda and at the meeting of Thursday March the 28th, proved not to be afraid to bring a very personal and enthusiastic approach to her advocacy work, showing that she is an excellent and passionate public speaker and a talented policy analyst.

When Mr. Edholm was speaking we could already see how her body-language spoke enough about her disagreement with the exploitation of immigrants.

We must be aware that the least unequal societies in Europe tend to have the lowest levels of poverty, and to have been less impacted by the crisis. This is primarily because these Governments choose to give priority to ensuring adequate minimum income levels and ensuring good access to services, through the social protection system and through guaranteeing minimum wage levels. They are usually the most effective at redistributing wealth through the tax and other systems. This means that the decisions over how to eradicate poverty in the end are political choices about the kind of society we want.

According Ms. Ferro combatting homelessly should be one of our priorities. 14 indicators for 20 principles should get our interest with the risk for lowest and poverty reduction. In case the pillars would not be binding what would be the impact she questions. We can not ignore the social exclusion and civil social legal basics.

Katja Reuter – Policy & Advocacy Officer ( 29 May 2018 Brussels, Belgium )

Ms. Katja Reuter, Policy & Advocacy Officer at the Social Platform, totally agreed with her.

Together they ask to focus on efficacy and legal convergence. There are still a number of disputes bodies facing the 17 principles set out.

“There should be consistency.”

she said.

Surprisingly the Rumanian representatives Ms. Diana Crumpana and MS. Aniela Aron of the Romanian Presidency Team “Employment, Social policy, Health and consumers Affairs”, EPSCO Unit, were willing to look at a Union that empowers and protects all its citizens.

They are for reintegration of the long-term unemployed in the labour-market and help for young people to develop the skills needed to become active on the labour-market, and increase female labour participation. They want to forward the work on the implementation of policies aimed at strengthening the social dimension, tackling skills mismatch, and promoting the social protection of citizens.

They see the Balkans also in a stronger global actor “Europe” with EU defence capabilities (PESCO, EDF, CARD) Consistency and effectiveness of EU action in Eastern Neighbourhood.

They would love to see the minitools of the Pillar providing for a stronger link, promoting gender equality and economic independence for women and men.


Preceding articles

Race to the bottom of refugee rights in European Union #1 Danish an Swedish view

Race to the bottom of refugee rights in European Union #2 Branded as a ghetto


Involvement and implementation of European Pillar of Social Rights

About Marcus Ampe

Retired dancer, choreographer, choreologist Founder of the Dance impresario office and archive: Danscontact-Dansarchief plus the Association for Bible scholars, the Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" and "From Guestwriters" and creator of the site "Messiah for all". - Gepensioneerd danser, choreograaf, choreoloog. Stichter van Danscontact-Dansarchief plus van de Vereniging voor Bijbelvorsers, de Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" en "From Guestwriters" en maker van de site "Messiah for all".
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