Member States set themselves social targets

IF – 07/2022

The European Ministers of Employment and Social Affairs have set out their national targets for the implementation of the Action Plan on the European Pillar of Social Rights by 2030. Whether the promising plans can be adhered to by all Member States in the long term remains questionable.

Acting as an ally behind the Member States, the European Commission expressed positive and strong support for the Member States. Simply talking about a common and inclusive Europe is no longer enough.

The EU-27 must live up to their national commitments more than ever. Social policy is a holistic issue and must be perceived and taken into account in all areas of life. The situation is now also complicated by the Ukraine war and the many people fleeing to the EU.

Achieving the core social targets by 2030

With the Action Plan on the European Pillar of Social Rights, the European Commission wanted to build up additional pressure on the Member States to do their European policy "homework" satisfactorily. These include labour market reforms, strengthening education and training, and more investment in social inclusion. At the EU level, the action plan includes three social targets to be achieved by 2030:

  1. At least 78 per cent of 20 to 64-year-olds should be employed.
  2. At least 60 per cent of all adults should participate in continuing education each year.
  3. The number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion should be reduced by at least 15 million compared to 2019.

Latest figures are encouraging

Member States also commit to national targets in the social sector. All Member States have now submitted proposals of their national targets to the EU and presented them at the last Council of Ministers of Social Affairs. The national targets will contribute to the achievement of the core employment, skills and poverty reduction targets by 2030.

In terms of the employment rate for all Member States, the national targets (78.5 per cent) are already above the EU core target (78 per cent). For education and training adults, it is 57.6 per cent, thus almost attaining the target of 60 per cent. Combating poverty and social exclusion is an essential part of contributing to a social Europe. The goal is to reduce the number of people at risk of poverty by 15 million.

Next review in 2023

In addition, Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine and the social and economic consequences must be taken into account. The results, which were obtained in surveys with Member States since autumn 2021, are therefore particularly positive before the start of the war.

The European Commission will monitor implementation and progress during the European Semester in the next cycle in 2023.