La Hulpe Declaration – Pushing for Social Europe

Source: EC - Audiovisual Service, Dati Bendo, 2024

High-Level Conference on the European Pillar of Social Rights, La Hulpe - Source: EC, Audiovisual Service, Dati Bendo, 2024

(16 April 2024) The European institutions and the European social partners including ETUC signed the La Hulpe declaration on the Future of the European Pillar of Social Rights. It sets out the key issues facing workers and people for the next years. The institutions and signing social partners commit to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights including through the revision of the action plan in 2025.

This Declaration is a contribution to the Council’s Strategic Agenda 2024-2029. It adds context to and is to be read together with the discussion on a new European Competitiveness Deal.

Not all governments agreed. Most notably the Swedish minority government supported by the far-right declined to sign. It reflects the voting pattern of the EU conservative and extreme-right wing parties in the European parliament. They have consistently voted against legislation that improves the rights of workers and people.

BusinessEurope, representing Europe’s corporations, did not sign either. It aligns itself with the far-right critique that there is no need to improve rights of workers through EU legislation. The businesses want to see more deregulation and more competition. This is not good news for the negotiations between ETUC and the employers such as BusinessEurope for a meaningful Pact for Social Dialogue following the Val Duchesse declaration of 31 January 2024.

The declaration is a so-called Interinstitutional Declaration. It is signed by the European Parliament, the European Commission, the European Economic and Social Committee, European Social Partners (including ETUC) and the Social Platform. Employers, trade unions, Ministers and representatives of the European Parliament, the Commission and civil society met in the Belgian town and castle of La Hulpe.  

The declaration was signed 16 April 2024

For La Hulpe declaration

ETUC position

For the reaction of the European Commission

For more background on the European Pillar of Social Rights

The Social Dialogue Val Duchesse declaration

For the 2021 Porto social commitment