EU Parliament calls for binding targets for the Social Policy Agenda 2021.

WN – 11/2020

On 28 September the European Parliament's Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) published its initiative report "A strong social Europe for Just Transitions".

The aim of the strategic initiative is to identify the main challenges facing the European labour market, regions, sectors and workers over the next ten years and to describe the main policy instruments and initiatives in this context. The authors of the report also call for a fundamental social policy agenda to be adopted at the Social Summit under the Portuguese Council Presidency next year.

Regulatory framework for social progress

The first part of the report focuses on the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, for which the European Commission has already announced an action plan for early 2021, and the adoption of a pact for sustainable development and social progress.

Financial resources for a strong social and sustainable Europe

In the second part, the Parliament sets out financial instruments with which a fair transition can be achieved. These include, in particular the European Social Fund, the Youth Guarantee, the Guarantee against Child Poverty, the SURE instrument (Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency) for the protection of jobs and workers and the Fair Transition Fund.

"Porto Agenda"

In addition, the authors of the report call for a "Porto Agenda", which should include binding targets and proposals on the following areas:
- Adequate work as well as sustainable and inclusive labour markets
- Social justice and equal opportunities
- Stable social systems
- Mobility under fair conditions

For each of these areas, targets are set with a time frame extending up to 2030, such as the demands for a broader coverage of collective agreements in the labour market, halving youth unemployment, eliminating gender pay gaps or affordable housing.

Against the background of the COVID-19 pandemic and, in particular its impact on all healthcare professionals, an appropriate holistic strategy will be assigned to them.


Finally, the rights of workers in cross-border or seasonal employment relationships should be further strengthened. In this context, the unsolicited report emphasises the significance of the European Labour Authority (ELA) and calls for extension of its scope.

Background and further steps

The report is a response to the relevant Commission Notice of 14 January 2020, in which the Commission already set out its own initiatives and initial reflections on the creation of a social Europe and asked the EU partners for further contributions, in particular to achieve the objectives of the pillar of social rights.

Parliamentary votes on the initiative report are scheduled for 16 November in the EMPL Committee and 14 December in plenary. You can find further information here.