Implementing the required principles

IF – 03/2021

Vice-President of the EC, Valdis Dombrovskis, who is responsible for economic affairs, together with Nicolas Schmit, Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs, presented the long-awaited European Pillar of Social Rights action plan on March 4, 2021. The close link between the economic and social policies becomes apparent here. The European Pillar of Social Rights action plan presented by the EC aims to implement the principles through concrete action.

It is now up to member states

The notification announced the initiatives that the Commission will introduce to implement the 20 principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights. The measures needed to successfully implement all of the defined principles should, as far as possible, be accomplished by 2030. Whether or not this can succeed remains to be seen.

However, the most important role lies with the member states as they are primarily responsible for employment and social policies as well as their implementation. The action plan is also the EC's contribution to the social summit planned for May 7, 2021, to be held in Porto under the Portuguese Council Presidency.

Specific targets have already been defined

The defined core objectives in the action plan cover the three main areas of employment, skills and social protection. Initially to create jobs and combat unemployment among young people and secondly, to guarantee training and qualifications for all EU citizens.

The following successes are targeted:


Employment sector: at least 78% of people aged between 20 - 64 should be in employment.


Skills sector: at least 60% of all adults should participate in further training courses every year.


Social protection sector: The number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion should be reduced by at least 15 million.

A Commission recommendation about Effective Active Support for Employment (EASE) following the COVID-19 crisis was published together with the action plan and a proposal for a Council recommendation on minimum income in 2022

A high-level expert group will also look at the future of the welfare state, its financing and its links with a changing working world and they will produce a report by the end of 2022.

Of particular interest in terms of social security is the pilot project planned for 2021 to explore a digital solution to improve the portability of social security rights by 2023. The European Social Security Passport will be created as a result of this, building on the European eID initiative and planned for the second quarter of 2021.

The action plan also includes an initiative for long-term care and the definition for a framework for policy reform and new tools for measuring gaps in access to health care in the coming years.

The German Social Insurance system will closely monitor further developments and their effects.

Other published documents about the EC's action plan can be found here.