The European Pillar on Social Rights is an initiative that is a part of the work undertaken by the Commission to create a fairer and deeper Economic and Monetary Union. It is targeted at the Eurozone but other Member States have the option to opt in. The Pillar does not replace existing rights but rather creates a way to assess the performance of national employment and social policies.
In the proposal from the Commission three key areas were identified: Equal opportunities and access to the labour market, fair working conditions and adequate and sustainable social protection. In EASPD position paper we highlighted the need for the Pillar to go beyond a mere statement of rights and include substantial mechanisms for funding and implementation. To mainstream the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities throughout the Pillar, pointing out that the EU has a legal obligation to do so.
EASPD also called for the Pillar to recognise the role of services as a key instrument in implementing social rights on the ground. The European Parliament passed a resolution on the European Pillar on Social Rights on the 19th of January 2017. Several of our suggested amendments to the draft report have been incorporated into the resolution as is demonstrated in our impact report. As per EASPD recommendations the resolution calls for the Skills Guarantee to be accessible and the important role of in work support is recognised. Crucially, the role of services in enabling the EU to reach its goals of inclusion and labour market participation is given a much stronger place in the Pillar. As well as the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which are incorporated throughout the Pillar.
The resolution appears to echo EASPDs concerns that the Pillar will fail to have a real impact if it does not include real mechanisms for implementation and funding. The resolution from the parliament calls for the Pillar to be taken into account in EU economic policies. As well as calling for the European welfares states to be reformed and strengthened to tackle new challenges. Our latest videoflash includes an interview about the European Pillar on Social Rights with MEP Maria Joao Rodrigues.