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A socially sustainable concept for the digital era

EESC opinion: A socially sustainable concept for the digital era

Social sustainability is achieved through the reaffirmation of the role and value of the European social model, which represents the identity and specificity of our continent and which guarantees high social protection and citizenship rights for all. There is a clear connection between competitiveness, productivity and social sustainability: all stakeholders must commit themselves to promoting inclusive growth and at the same time foster conditions that are favourable for the world of enterprise, with the aim of creating more and better jobs.


Key points

All policies put in place by European, national and local institutions should take account of the social sustainability factor in the same way that they do for economic and environmental sustainability.

The EESC:

  • recommends that the proposals contained in the Commission's current work programme be designed to promote the sustainability of the European social model;
  • believes that the impact assessment of measures introduced in the social domain should be made increasingly accurate in terms of their social sustainability and should be based on the monitoring systems and indicators already in place;
  • supports the European Parliament's recommendation that the Commission and social partners should work together to present a proposal for a framework directive on decent working conditions in all forms of employment, extending existing minimum standards to new forms of employment relationships;
  • sees a clear connection between competitiveness productivity and social sustainability: all stakeholders must commit themselves to promoting inclusive growth and at the same time foster conditions that are favourable for the world of enterprise, with the aim of creating more and better jobs;
  • advocates stepping up efforts to iron out regional disparities in terms of living and working conditions within the European Union;
  • calls on European and national institutions to secure the appropriate resources to facilitate and speed up transitions and to guarantee continuity of income in an adequate manner, particularly for the most disadvantaged;
  • recommends creating the right conditions to guarantee competitiveness, job creation and smooth transitions between jobs by means of a system of social safety nets and other accompanying measures that take account of the needs of workers and businesses;
  • recommends that the social partners develop inclusive collective bargaining at all levels and encourages them to consider new measures aimed at increasing women's access to digital jobs, for the purpose of eliminating gender-based wage differences, resolutely protecting motherhood by means of appropriate instruments and creating the conditions for effective gender equality in the world of work;
  • believes that social sustainability is based on fair and effective opportunities for life-long learning, starting from early childhood, particularly considering the potential exclusion of broad segments of the population as a result of digital exclusion;
  • recommends that decision makers consider measures aimed at reducing the skills deficit in key areas of the digital economy as they are essential for excellence and to increase European competitiveness;
  • considers essential to provide digital literacy training for anyone at risk of being excluded, as a result of digitalisation, from exercising their rights and accessing the social services.