Funding the European Pillar of Social Rights (own-initiative opinion)

EESC opinion: Funding the European Pillar of Social Rights (own-initiative opinion)

Key points:

  • The principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights (the "Social Pillar") and the need for its implementation should constitute one of the guiding lines in the negotiations on the next EU multi-annual financial framework.
  • Making a reality of the Social Pillar will require improvements in Member States and a robust budgetary base, investment and current spending.
  • Spending needs are particularly large in lower-income countries and in countries that suffered income declines in recent years. All face some degree of constraint from EU rules on budgets and debt levels.
  • Scope for more spending can be created within Member States and with the help of various EU-level programmes.
  • Private sector investment can make a contribution in some areas but will not be enough and cannot ensure against exclusion of the socially weakest.
  • More public investment within Member States can be facilitated by reference to a Golden Rule for public investment with a social objective, which would allow more flexibility in budget rules with a view to achieving the aims of the European Pillar of Social Rights.
  • More public investment can also be supported by the use of existing EU instruments, especially the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIFs), and by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI).
  • Appropriate taxation policies, including effective fight against tax fraud, tax avoidance and aggressive tax planning, should allow Member States and the EU to raise additional means to contribute to the financing of the Social Pillar.
  • The implementation of the Social Pillar requires the active ownership, responsibility and participation of relevant stakeholders at all the different levels: the European institutions, the Member States and regional and local authorities, as well as the social partners and other civil society stakeholders.