CEEP Opinion on the European Pillar of Social Rights – PDF.

The Public Services’ Employers’ Forum also signed a joint statement on the proposed EU Pillar of Social Rights. You can read it here.

Executive summary

  • CEEP welcomes the new initiative of the European Commission to streamline the Social dimension of the EMU. The future instruments should address the urgent need to level the playing field all around Europe with the objective of fostering a society that is both economically performant and inclusive.
  • We welcome the clear recognition of key services of general interest (SGIs) as essential elements to overcome the crisis and to move towards a deeper and fairer Economic and Monetary Union.
  • The Pillar should be a general strategic document which is not legally binding but states different objectives that the member states, regional and local authorities, social partners and citizens should/will be committed to. A proper way forward would be for the Principles of the Pillar to be implemented via the European Semester and to serve as guidance during the drafting of the country reports and Country Specific Recommendations.
  • The way forward is not necessarily for the Pillar to produce new EU Social legislation but to make sure that the existing one is still fit for purpose. The EU Social Acquis already encompasses 70 directives providing workers with protection and rights including: information and consultation of workers, awareness of conditions of employment, equal treatment, health and safety. Hence the problem is not quantity but quality.
  • The way forward will be for the Pillar to provide an opportunity to foster a better understanding of the differences between the national industrial relations systems and to define possible common reference principles to foster convergence. CEEP calls for the definition of common benchmarks which would promote and develop quality, accessible and affordable public services in the context of national structural reforms.
  • Respecting the principle of subsidiarity will be key for the success and widespread acceptance of the European Pillar of Social Rights. As a unique model that would work for every country does not exist, only member states can anticipate the implications of policy initiatives at national, regional and local level.
  • The competences in the social area lie mainly with the member states e.g. wage formation is the exclusive competence of the member states and/or social partners, which is why they should always be the entity deciding upon which policy measures to implement to achieve the goals in the pillar.
  • The role of the social partners will be equally critical and should therefore be integrated in the pillar in a transversal way, making it clear that social policies cannot achieve their goals and deliver sustainable effects if social partners are not fully involved in their shaping and implementation.
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