The Juncker Commission has made a social Europe one of its priorities from the start. In September 2015, Junker said: “We have to step up the work for a fair and truly pan-European labour market. (…) As part of these efforts, I will want to develop a European Pillar of Social Rights, which takes account of the changing realities of Europe’s societies and the world of work.”
Since this announcement, the Commission has engaged actively with Member States, EU institutions, social partners, civil society and citizens on the content and role of the Pillar. In March 2016, the Commission presented a preliminary outline of the European Pillar of Social Rights, and launched a broad public consultation to gather feedback, which concluded in January 2017 with a high-level conference.
Building on the input received during the consultation, the Commission now puts forward its proposal for a European Pillar of Social Rights, which is about delivering new and more effective rights for citizens. The Pillar takes direct inspiration from the richness of the practices across Europe, and builds on the strong body of law which exists at EU and international level. The Pillar will serve as a compass for a renewed process of convergence towards better working and living conditions across Europe. It is primarily conceived for the euro area but applicable to all EU Member States wishing to be part of it. It is about delivering new and more effective rights for citizens. It enshrines principles and rights in the field of;equal opportunities and fair working conditions, social protection and access to the labour inclusion market.
The ‘Pillar of Social Rights’ offers an opportunity to address the aforementioned challenges by ensuring better working and living conditions across the Union. It puts forward 20 key principles and rights which intend to address gaps in existing EU social and employment acquis, with the most prominent being a proposal for a work-life balance, flexible work regimes and fair wages.