On 25 September 2019, the European Economic and Social Committee voted on the opinion SOC/614 – The European Pillar of Social Rights – evaluation of the initial implementation and recommendations for the future. The document was adopted with 117 votes for, 44 votes against and 3 abstentions. The majority of the Employers' Group members voted against the opinion as the document does not present the variety of views within the EESC in a balanced manner. That is also why the members of the Employers' Group tabled over 40 amendments to the opinion.
As it is clear from the preamble of the EPRS, its aim is to serve as a guide towards efficient employment and social outcomes when responding to current and future challenges. The implementation of the EPRS should result in upward convergence of employment and social outcomes. It is the outcomes that determine whether policy choices have been successful.
With this goal in mind, the employers are committed to the European Pillar of Social Rights and its implementation. For us the Pillar could be a good opportunity to demonstrate that the EU and Member States are still capable of delivering a proper response to the challenges that labour markets are facing. This has to be done with full respect to the division of competences and the principle of subsidiarity.
The synergy between EU and national social policy and actions is essential. Because the EU social model is based on different national models. This diversity of Member States' social systems reflecting deeply rooted political choices and societal models must be preserved.
The main task of the EU should therefore be to provide the best possible conditions for its Member States and social partners and to support them in their efforts to put in place growth enhancing reforms.
For the employers, the European Semester should be used as the reference framework for supporting Member States' and social partners' efforts to improve – through reforms - the performance of national employment and social policies
The monitoring of labour market outcomes on the basis of indicators should contribute to coordinated policy exchanges at EU level, which satisfactorily balance economic and social considerations. This should lead to the preparation of relevant and adequate country-specific recommendations in the context of the European semester process. As part of this, well-designed benchmarks can act as a compass for the necessary national reforms.
We believe that a social Europe must be an internationally competitive Europe with policies that create jobs and encourage increased participation in labour markets. This means there should be a clear prioritisation of the issues covered, focusing on those that will have a positive impact on competitiveness and employment and on the sustainability, effectiveness and efficiency of social systems.
This exercise should be a joint endeavour on the part of the Council, Commission, Member States and social partners.