18.02.22-23 joint EPSU-ETUI course_Intruduction by Penny Clarke (EPSU)
(28 february 2018) On 22-23 February EPSU/ETUI organized a workshop on the European Pillar of Social Rights to assess how the Pillar can contribute to fairer, more cohesive and equal societies, including through supporting the universal provision of quality public services and strong social dialogue.
The recently adopted Pillar touches on policy areas where competences of the EU and Member States are shared and/or contested. However as stressed in the workshop, the choice between ‘Economic or Social’ Europe is in reality a non-choice: the EU Single Market’s four freedoms (free movement of capital, goods, services and workers) as well as EU economic and fiscal policy have many social impacts, e.g., on employment, social dialogue, pay and working conditions, social protection and taxation. Speedy implementation of the Pillar is needed to rebalance the EU and to reinforce the EU’s and Member States’ commitments to respect and strengthen social rights at alll levels. The EU’s public funds should contribute to this aim, as should the proposed ‘social scoreboard’ to support and track upwards progress.
However, as also discussed in the workshop, taking concrete steps forward remains difficult, as illustrated by the stalemate in the Council on the work-life balance package. Actions are needed now to build support for the EC’s proposals in order that Europe can do more – and be seen to be doing more - to tackle gender-based discrimination, to support carers and those being cared for, and to encourage investment in public childcare and eldercare services.
The adoption of the package would be a welcome signal that the EU takes social rights seriously, and that it is capable of working together at all levels to move in the right direction.
A full report of the workshop discussion and the presentations made are available here.