The CoR supports the establishment of a social pillar, which will enable the delivery of a sustainable and inclusive Europe and the creation of an active society. The European Pillar of Social Rights should strive to be the cornerstone of a strong European social agenda, in which competitiveness and social justice complement each other. This is a key element for the debate on the future of Europe and it is necessary to evaluate how the local and regional dimension can be incorporated. Specifically, the opinion calls for local and regional authorities to be supported in their efforts to implement appropriate employment and social policies, including support for the development of work-life balance and labour market access policies, in line with the Commission’s recent proposal. The long-term objectives of establishing a pillar of social rights must serve to make Europe more cohesive and more responsive to the social dimension of citizens’ needs. Within this context, it is necessary to take greater account of the need to reduce poverty, foster social inclusion and tackle youth unemployment. Fair wages should also be linked to productivity. The opinion focuses mainly on the necessary policies for tackling unemployment and social exclusion, outlining the regional and local dimension with an amendment to the original text underlining that economic, social and territorial cohesion shall play a key role in supporting the establishment of the social pillar. Finally, the rapporteur would like to see a reference to legal refugees and regular migrants in order to show that they integrate effectively and economically. The CoR opinion on the European Pillar of Social Rights and Reflection paper on the social dimension of Europe serves as input for the Commission’s Social Summit in Gothenburg on 17 November.

All Europeans should have equal access to the job market, be entitled to fair working conditions and enjoy adequate and sustainable social protection – these are fundamental goals of the EU. The European Union already has substantial social legislation - the so-called ‘social acquis’ - but this is fragmented and not well-adapted to today’s ever-changing job market. The new pillar must consolidate and update these basic social rights.

Tom Vandenkendelaere
MEP and shadow rapporteur on the European Pillar of Social Rights

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