Is the European Pillar of Social Rights a sufficient step forward ?

Numéro 1

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Why this subject?
After several years with no major evolution in terms of social Europe, the European Commission presented on the 26th April 2017 the project of a European pillar of social rights. A text willing to revive social Europe, as wished by Jean-Claude Juncker.
What is the European Pillar of Social Rights?
The European Pillar of Social Rights defines a certain amount of principles and fundamental rights with an ambition to guarantee proper functioning of labour markets and systems of welfare protection. Designed in particular for the Eurozone, it therefore applies to all the Members States willing to take part in it.
And what are those principles?
The European Commission developed 20 key principles around 3 main themes:
– Equal opportunities and access to the labour market
– Fair working conditions
– Social protection and insertion
Numéro 2

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Together on a path towards a more social Europe

The European Pillar of Social Rights is not an optional step forward. It is a necessary proposal to make Europe more social and to preserve our social model in the future. Despite its success, this social model is under pressure because of globalisation, digitisation and aging society. We need to adapt to the present reality to face these challenges and to transform them into opportunities for all.

We have turned the page of the economic and financial crisis. Despite the growth we observe for the first time in all Member States, social inequalities are still too pronounced – inside Member States, but also between them. Everyone should be able to benefit from economic growth, not only the happy few.

The Pillar concerns our firms, our economies and our citizens

The economic policy is the social policy. And the social policy is the economic policy. We must act on both fronts at the same time. As a consequence, the Pillar concerns our firms, our economies and our citizens.

Social Europe is in the hearts of our citizens. Many worry about the changes they are confronted with. Will my job still exist in the future? Will I have social care in the world of Uber and Airbnb? What citizens are waiting for us, politicians, to do, is to contribute to shaping the future.

A strong social Europe is a building site

How should we do it? The European Pillar of Social Rights defines 20 principles and fundamental values showing the way to fair labour markets and welfare systems, which would be effective and adapted to the 21st century. They reflect the most important directions taken by the labour market confronted with a digital revolution.

The Pillar is far from being empty words. We proposed 4 specific initiatives to show that we join acts with words, like for example the proposal to help all working parents and caretakers – women and men – finding a better balance between their family life and professional career.

But the European Union cannot build a social Europe on its own. We are ready to do our share, but the gravity center is placed among national and local authorities and social partners. The Pillar asks to join efforts at all levels of competence. A strong social Europe is a building site on which we all must, collectively, roll up our sleeves to build it into reality. Brick after brick.


A new progressive mobilisation is becoming necessary

The European Commission in more preoccupied by inspiring respect of an “all-against-all” competition than by social Europe.

The issues are great though: we need to come up with new orientations to progress towards a job security, formation for all, a fight against inequalities starting by reducing wage inequality between women and men, granting access to jobs for young people, reducing massive unemployment and growing job insecurity, increase of inequalities, difficulties in accessing labour market by young people and women.

We also need to evaluate the results of the negative impact of budgetary restriction choices on welfare care systems.

The European idea can only be saved if it’s rebuilt on a new project

The double talk consisting in claiming to defend the European social model on one hand and to trample on the Charter of Fundamental Rights on the other becomes more than unbearable.

The European idea can only be saved if it’s rebuilt on a new project of social, human and environmental progress.

This project needs to be based on a creation of new social rights granted to all Europeans through a progressive upward harmonisation.

Real reflective work needs to be conducted with trade unions

In this way, a minimum wage based on 60% of median income must be established. A guaranteed formation needs to accompany the “youth guarantee”, which must be extended and which must especially dispose of sufficient means to allow education and professional opportunity to all young people. A real reflective work needs to be conducted with trade unions on working time and improving working conditions.

Finally, now is the time to revive the project of a European maternity leave of 20 integrally paid weeks, as asked by the European Parliament.

A new progressive mobilisation becomes necessary to finally push the construction of a Social Europe forward.

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