As a response to the call from our citizens to enhance the social dimension of the Union, on 17 November 2017 during the Social Summit in Gothenburg Sweden, the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission jointly proclaimed the European Pillar of Social Rights. One year after the adoption of the proclamation, the CoR wishes to give new impetus to its implementation. While the EU has an important role to play, most of the competences and tools required to deliver on the European Pillar are in the hands of local, regional and national authorities. In its relevant opinion, the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) therefore highlights the need to fully involve local and regional authorities in the implementation of the European Pillar. This inter-institutional conference will assess the progress achieved towards making the aims of the Pillar a reality, and will discuss the way ahead focusing on the role of regions and the cities.
The keynote speech of the conference will be delivered by Marianne Thyssen, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion. The two sessions of the event – on Working together to create a strong Social Pillar in Europe and on Empowering European citizens through reskilling and upskilling - will feature Members of the European Parliament, representatives of the European Commission and the Council (including the EU Presidency), as well as CoR members and rapporteurs. Other participants will include representatives of Permanent Representations, of regional offices in Brussels and of territorial associations.
The Pillar sets out 20 key principles and rights to support fair and well-functioning labour markets and welfare systems, structured around three chapters: Equal opportunities and access to the labour market; Fair working conditions; and Social protection and inclusion. Delivering on them is a joint responsibility of Member States, EU institutions, local and regional authorities, social partners and other stakeholders.
In its proposals for the Multi-annual Financial Framework for Europe post 2020, the Commission calls for the EU budget to deliver on the commitments made by leaders at the Gothenburg Social summit in order to further develop the social dimension of the European Union, including through the full implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights.
The CoR considers the Social Pillar a necessary accompaniment to the political, economic and monetary union and a key factor in the successful implementation of the horizontal social clause, contributing to reducing poverty, social exclusion and unemployment. It stresses in this respect that economic, social and territorial cohesion policies must play a key role in supporting the implementation of the Pillar. The CoR highlights the importance of a strong European social agenda, in which competitiveness and social justice complement each other, in order to avoid all forms of social dumping.