Delivering on balanced economic growth and social progress should be the guiding principle for the debate on the social dimension of Europe. A clear road map for the implementation of European Pillar of Social Rights is advisable with clear assignment of tasks coupled with accountability. The social dimension debate is connected to the debate on deepening the EMU. Social policy has to be embedded in a different EU economic policy. A strong EU can shape globalisation and digitalisation to the benefit of all.
- Faced with challenges such as the future of work, rising inequalities and poverty, globalisation and migration, the debate on the social dimension of Europe and the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR) could be instrumental to reaching a new consensus. Which scenario or pathway is chosen will fundamentally impact on people's lives. Delivering on balanced economic growth and social progress leading to improved living and working conditions should be the guiding principle.
- The Council should support the Proclamation of the EPSR. A clear road map for its implementation is advisable. Deepening the social dimension is better done with all Member States, focusing on key projects, but should not prevent some countries going ahead and inviting all others to follow. More clarity is needed on which measures should apply to the EU-27 or the Eurozone.
- Growing inequality, poverty and social exclusion call for further efforts aimed at defining common principles, standards, policies and strategies on better convergence of wages, establishing or increasing minimum wages, minimum income for all, and the increase of social cohesion and social investment.
- It will be important to reach a consensus on who should do what in the area of social policy, coupled with more transparency and accountability including for the failure to act. Reforms and political initiatives have to make societies and economies fit for the future.
- All relevant representative civil society organisations have to be duly involved, while recognising the specific role of social partners. Promoting collective bargaining and social dialogue at all levels will be important in providing well-functioning labour markets, fair working conditions, increased productivity and sustainable social security.
- The lack of enforcement of existing social rights is concerning and the Commission and Member States must improve compliance with EU rules.
- The discussion on the social dimension of Europe is connected to the debates on deepening EMU, how to harness globalisation while addressing its challenges and how these objectives will be adequately and effectively resourced.
- Action is especially needed in two main areas –EMU and the single market. Social policy has to be embedded in a different EU economic policy with a good macroeconomic policy mix and progress towards deepening EMU. The European Semester will play a key role in rebalancing economic and social policy as well as facilitating well-designed reforms. The Pillar is also intended to impact on European economic governance. The Social Scoreboard for the EPSR needs to be improved with more adequate and suitable indicators.
- A stronger EU can help to better shape globalisation and digitalisation to the benefit of all while aware of the possibilities and risks.