One year ago, EU leaders gathered in Gothenburg to proclaim the European Pillar of Social Rights. The EESC Workers' Group welcomed the proclamation as a sign of their political commitment to putting the social agenda back at the centre of European policy-making, following years of austerity and their negative impact on workers and other citizens. The Workers' Group stressed that this was just the first step and that a concrete follow up was needed to ensure that the principles of the Pillar would be implemented and have a positive impact for citizens.
One year on, the Workers' Group recognises that the European Commission done important work by proposing important initiatives seeking to improve the work-life balance of parents and carers, to ensure that all workers can have greater transparency and predictability about their working conditions, and for a European Labour Authority which would contribute to fair labour mobility and help to address social dumping.
However, the Workers' Group remains concerned that these proposals – which would bring concrete benefits to working people across the EU – could be seriously watered down during the current negotiations between the European Parliament and the Member States' governments. Effective implementation of the Social Pillar also means that social measures must be properly financed in the EU's future budget for 2021-2027.
So, while wishing the Social Pillar a happy first birthday, the Workers' Group believes the best birthday present for the Pillar would be for the EU institutions to deliver on their commitments: we call on them to adopt strong proposals to improve working people's lives, before the European elections in May 2019.