EDF’s initial response to the European Pillar of Social Rights

18 July 2016

FOR A FAIR SOCIAL EUROPE

In March 2016, the European Commission published the first outline of the European Pillar of Social Rights (the Social Pillar). This is a reference framework to screen the employment and social performance of participating Member States. The text was accompanied by the opening of the consultation for inputs from stakeholders, including citizens, organisations and public authorities. EDF has prepared an initial response as a basis to have an open dialogue with its members and partners.

The stated aim of the Social Pillar is to strengthen the social dimension of the European Economic and Monetary Union. The current draft of the Social Pillar is addressed to all countries part of the Euro zone and aims at coordinating their social and employment policies. All the countries outside the Euro zone could adopt the Social Pillar on a voluntary basis.

The outline covers 3 main themes:

  1. Equal opportunities and access to the labour market , including skills development and life-long learning and active support for employment, to increase employment opportunities, facilitate transitions between different statuses and improve the employability of individuals.
  2. Fair working conditions to set an adequate and reliable balance of rights and obligations between workers and employers, as well as between flexibility and security elements, to facilitate job creation, job take-up and the adaptability of firms, and promoting social dialogue.
  3. Adequate and sustainable social protection , as well as access to high quality essential services, including childcare, healthcare and long-term care, to ensure dignified living and protection against risks, and to enable individuals to participate fully in employment and more generally in society.

EDF welcomes any action from the European Union (EU) which seeks to strengthen commitment to, and implementation of social rights within the EU. Ahead of submitting its response, EDF has issued an initial response to the first outline of the Social Pillar. This initial response is based on a preliminary consultation of EDF’s members and draws from EDF’s past work on employment and social policy, including EDF’s Alternative Report to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In the coming months, EDF will undertake detailed discussions with its members and partners in order to submit a comprehensive input to the consultation by December 2016.

In its initial response, among others EDF recommends the European Commission to:

  • Mainstream the rights of people with disabilities throughout the Social Pillar with a human rights-based approach in line with the EU and its Member States obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD);
  • Enlarge the scope of the Social Pillar beyond Eurozone countries, EU citizens and legally residing third country nationals, to also include other individuals, i.e. undocumented migrants and refugees;
  • Include provisions on the direct involvement and consultation of persons with disabilities and their representative organisations in the implementation of the Social Pillar at the European and national level;
  • Include specific provisions on the protection from exploitation and forced labour of persons with disabilities, particularly among persons with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities or persons deprived of their legal capacity;
  • Mainstream the rights of women and young people throughout the Social Pillar, including specific actions on women and young people with disabilities;
  • Ensure a social protection floor and a minimum income scheme thought the Social Pillar in order to protect persons with disabilities from poverty and exclusion, as recommended by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities;
  • Ensure the free movement of people, particularly persons with disabilities, and the transferability of services across EU Member States;
  • Include provisions on deinstitutionalisation and the provision of community-based services;
  • Prevent adverse and retrogressive effects of the austerity measures on the adequate standard of living of persons with disabilities through the Social Pillar.

WHAT’S NEXT & WHAT CAN YOU DO?

To provide your contribution to the final outline of the Social Pillar you can answer the European Commission’s public consultation by 31 December. The public consultation is open to citizens, organisations and public authorities, and is available in 23 EU languages.

In the coming months, the European Commission is having national consultation events organised by its representations in the Member States. Ahead of submitting your contribution to the public consultation, you can get in contact with the European Commission Representation in your country to take part in the discussions at the national level.

The European Commission is also organising a conference with various stakeholders to further discuss the content of the Social Pillar. The conference will be held on 28 November in Brussels. At the beginning of 2017, the European Commission will issue a white paper on the Social Pillar drawing from the inputs received through the public consultation.

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