January 2020, the European Commission released the Communication on a Strong Social
Europe for Just Transitions announced by Social Affairs Commissioner Nicolas Schmit as a roadmap
for a social Europe.
It sets out
how European social policy will help overcome the challenges facing today’s
world of work and make the most out of the opportunities. It puts forward a
number of initiatives in the coming months and seeks feedback at all levels of
employment and social rights. The aim is to enable further improvements in the
living and working conditions of citizens.
Strengthening the European Pillar of Social Rights
existing 20 principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights are to be combined into one Action
Plan. The European Commission is therefore calling on all Member States to
present their views on how to proceed and their plans for achieving the
objectives of the Pillar. These will be included in the preparation of an Action
Plan for 2021.
to be improved to address people’s needs include digitalisation in the world of
work, the fight against cancer and initiatives in employment policy and social
protection. Progress should not be an obstacle, and nobody should be left
Better social protection and well-being in old age
In her inaugural
speech, Ursula von der Leyens spoke of the importance of protecting all workers
and this is now to culminate in a Platform Work Summit, which is planned for
the 3rd quarter of 2020. Social justice should be the foundation for achieving
prosperity with a higher standard of living until retirement and beyond,
regardless of the form of employment.
addition, a Green Paper on ageing and a report on demographic change will be
prepared to identify measures to address these trends which are both positive,
but also a challenge to financial systems and health systems.
Key European election campaign promise on minimum wages takes shape
phase consultation on ensuring a European minimum wage has already been
launched with the social partners, businesses and trade unions with regard to
introducing a fair minimum wage for workers in the EU.
More gender equality
A European Gender
Equality Strategy is to be adopted and binding measures put in place to
increase wage transparency. Thanks to the appointment of Equality Commissioner
Helena Dalli, EU Member States can no longer hide behind national strategies
that have been put forward as reasons to reject such transparency in recent
Stealthy intervention into national competences?
European Pillar of Social Rights is a way to achieve these fundamental goals of
ensuring functioning labour markets and social systems in a sustainable manner.
However, it is still unclear if and to what extent national competences will
be shifted to European competences.